INTERNATIONAL INTEREST AT VENICE CONFERENCE
By a Staff Reporter
OST of the countries this side of the Iron Curtain are now seriously concerned with the matter of children's films—what they should be allowed to see and what not.
This interest was much in evidence at the recent International Conference on Children's Films held in Venice under the auspices of the Biermale and organised at their request by Fr. Lindors, 0,P., of the International Catholic Cinema Office in Brussels.
Britain's contribution to the Conference, presented by the Hon. Mrs. Bower, aroused con
siderable interest. It showed infra-red photographs, with accompanying stills, taken in the cinema and showing the actual films which the children were watching.
This method, at present only in use in England, was thoroughly approved by the Council and recommended to be studied and taken up in all countries.
It was also decided that the greatest need was to produce films for the age group 7 to 12. The influence of the cinema was at its peak in age group 12 to 16.
One of the most interesting expositions was of the laws in Switzerland where every canton decided its own measures and the result is that almost all bar children from the ordinary cinema up to the age of 12, 16, and in eight cantons, up to 18 years.
The censor then assumes a positive role concerning youth and certitles certain films throughout the year as of positive value and good influence for specific age groups of children who may then see them.
In 1940 they could see nine, in 1947 18. In this way the film producers are given an incentive to meet the needs of this larger audience of children.
The most important resolution urged that the countries establish an international list of children's films and that an international body should be established and a further conference held to achieve this. In the meantime Mgr. Paulus of Belgium will centralise general information from all countries.
The delegates were received by Cardinal Agostini, who welcomed and addressed them on the importance of the work of the Congress and stressed that respect for the child and what it sees must be of first importance.
A final resolution drew the attention of all governments and parliaments to assist and support all efforts to meet children's needs by legislation and assistance to producers.
The Italian Deputy attending the Congress, Madame Tichaldi Chiesa, is at present concerned with promoting fresh legislation through the Italian Parliament.
Another delegate who has devoted 20 years to providing children's entertainment in France was Mlle. Sonika Bo, and she now has a library of several hundred films suitable for French children.
On the closing of the Conference a report was presented to UNESCO and it was decided that all the Conference resolutions should be sent to both UNO and UNESCO.