Cinemagic Film Festival

Anne-Marie Marquess attends the Cinemagic launch and talks with marketing officer, Claire Baxter

The Coca-Cola Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People was launched last week in Belfast’s Movie House Cinema. The festival will run until December 5, with film screenings, masterclasses and workshops taking place in a variety of venues across Belfast.

The opening night preview was a charming and cheerful animation called Niko and the Way to the Stars. Set in snow capped Lapland, it tells the story of a cute little reindeer named Niko trying to find his way in the world. Directed by Michael Hegner and Kari Juusonen and with a 6+ certificate, it is one for all the family.

Niko thinks he can fly and experiences many failed attempts, despite the help of his friend, Julis, the flying squirrel. Niko's antics lead a pack of wolves to the reindeer's territory, forcing them to keep moving or else get eaten. The wolves are dark, straggly and scary, compared to the lovable reindeers. And they are very, very hungry… for reindeer meat.

While Niko is on the run he and his friends eventually find their way to Santa's village, after encountering many dangers. Here Niko thinks he will find his real father, one of Santa's flying reindeer. They are not to be messed with, 'We’re reindeers, we’re not horses. We’re santa’s flying forces.' 

Niko must prove he can fly before the reindeers will reveal who his father is, but he can’t seem to do it. Eventually he takes a leap of faith and soars into the sky. 'You weren’t made to fall Niko, you were made to fly.' And so our little reindeer finally finds his wings, so to speak.

The screening attracted a huge crowd, with plenty of children delighting in the antics of the animated animals.

Claire Baxter, told CultureNorthernIreland what audiences can look forward to during Cinemagic 2008.

'This year's festival is the biggest and best yet, with over 100 film screenings and 40 different masterclasses in film and television related disciplines. We're pleased to welcome a number of industry professionals to the festival such as director Mike Leigh, film critic Mark Kermode, director Annie Griffin and documentary filmmaker David Sington.” 

Baxter went on to mention some of this years higlights.

'I'd recommend some of the fantastic films in the international programme, such as the family films Summer of The Flying Saucer, which was made in Ireland, and the recently made Irish drama 32A, directed by Irish director Marian Quinn.

'Komaneko is another 'not to be missed' screening, which is a Japanese animation, and after it, local artist Frank Quinn will demonstrate the art of shadow play to the young audiences. Another highlight will be the special screening of the documentary Elvis, That's The Way It Is, which documents Elvis at his peak during the 1970 Las Vegas Concert series. It's taking place in the unique venue that is the Tudor Cinema in Comber on Nov 24.'

Check out Culture Live! events listings for more information on the Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People.