5th July 2024  New Delhi, Delhi, India  The 11th edition of the Smile International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFFCY) was officially unveiled at the ongoing 77th Cannes Film Festival in the presence of dignitaries, industry leaders, filmmakers, cinema and media personalities from across the globe.

Smile Foundation has been organizing SIFFCY in partnership with the European Union. The annual unique film festival for children is organized across 100 locations of India in a hybrid mode, which makes SIFFCY the largest film festival for children and youth in India.

The active participation of the European Union in SIFFCY is aimed at facilitating cultural exchange between the citizens of India and the European Union countries, due to which a sense of understanding, respect, and global brotherhood will be strengthened. The sense of belonging that arises between people through the exchange of culture, art, and ideas is beneficial for children and youth, who will shape the future course of humanity.

SIFFCY is an initiative of Smile Foundation to entertain, engage, educate, and empower young minds. Smile Foundation believes that meaningful work of art, especially good cinema, not only entertains but also leave an indelible impression on young minds. As a result, children and youth catalyze a positive change thanks to their way of thinking and their sense of duty towards society. Good cinema is a powerful medium to depict reality and inculcate values. A meaningful film becomes an interesting and engaging tool to encourage discussion among the youth about important personal, social, moral and global issues too.

The 11th edition of SIFFCY, scheduled for later this year, aims at bringing 150 curated films from 50 countries to the young Indian audience. Path-breaking films, filmmakers, and creative talents from across the globe are awarded too under various categories during SIFFCY.

Unbridled access to a plethora of content online can hurt young minds, which is a universal phenomenon. Such exposure can result in behavioral and emotional problems, safety concerns, reduced quality of sleep, and even weakened social skills. Instances of loneliness, a sense of insecurity, violence, and aggression have become common traits of a teenager too. Left unattended, these can hamper them even when they grow up. One of the primary missions behind SIFFCY has been to make good content and creative work available to children, which in turn can help them build their emotional intelligence, empathy, opinion-making ability, creative cultivation of mind and develop an overall positive outlook towards life ahead.

Smile Foundation has been representing good cinema for children and youth at Cannes, especially for the young audience, for 15 years now. Incidentally, ‘I am Kalam’, a film produced by Santanu Mishra, Co-founder of Smile Foundation, made waves at the Cannes Festival in the past too. I am Kalam heralded making of films especially for the young Indian audience of the 21st century.

Santanu Mishra, SIFFCY Chairman and Producer of the much-acclaimed film ‘I am Kalam’, states that childhood is the decisive age of human life – the lessons we learn, the habits we make as children, it stays with us forever. Therefore, we must sensitise our youngsters with a positive value system from the very beginning which will help them become kind and responsible citizens.

During the 77th Cannes Film Fest this year, Smile Foundation represented the cause of good cinema at the Bharat Pavilion. Hosted each year at the prestigious Festival by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India, Bharat’s participation is spearheaded by the National Film Development Corporation as the nodal agency and FICCI as the industry partner. Bharat Pavilion marks India’s continued commitment to showcasing its rich cinematic heritage and fostering international collaborations with the global film fraternity.

The Bharat Pavilion at Cannes serves as a hub for networking, collaboration, promotion of Indian Cinema on the global stage.

As the nation with the largest young population with a thriving socio-economic milieu, India has been earning expectation and prominence due to its philosophical contributions, thoughts, and ideas.

The Bharat Pavilion serves as a dynamic platform, providing a gateway to the diverse landscape of Indian films, talent, and industry opportunities, and is set to host a series of scintillating panel discussions and networking sessions during the course of the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

A panel discussion titled “Children’s Films and Festivals: A global perspective” was moderated by SIFFCY director, Jitendra Mishra, wherein stalwarts of the domain from across Europe shared the stage. Another session on Indian Film Festivals was also held at the Bharat Pavilion with the panel represented by the SIFFCY Director.