28th International Film Festival for Children and Young Audience SCHLiNGEL

23.09.2023 to 30.09.2023

The Ecumenical Jury at SCHLiNGEL 2023 awarded its Prize to "Juniors" by Hugo P. Thomas (France 2022), which also won the prize of the Sächsische Landesmedienanstalt - the main prize of the festival - as well as the prize of the ECFA (European Children's Film Association). The Ecumenical Jury also awarded a Special Mention to "The Gift" (Belek) by Dalmira Tilepbergen (Kyrgyzstan 2023). The City of Chemnitz Award went to "Morgen irgendwo am Meer" (Tomorrow Somewhere by the Sea) by Patrick Büchting (Germany 2023), the European Children's Film Award to "Totem" by Sander Burger (Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany 2022). The Jury of International Film Critics (Fipresci) awarded "Echo to Delta" by Patrick Boivin (Canada 2023).

On 23 September, the International Film Festival for Children and Young Audiences 2023 was ceremonially opened at the Chemnitz Opera House. The festival showed 171 short and long animated and feature films from 54 countries in several programme series. The Ecumenical Jury chooses its winner from the three competition sections for children, juniors and youth, in which long feature films are on the programme.

Link: Homepage des Festivals


Directed by:

Juniors courageously navigates the delicate balance between humor and heart, presenting a captivating tale of redemption. The strongly performed coming-of-age film offers typical elements of the genre but transcends clichés through an unconventional premise and sensitivity in handling serious themes. In a world where superficial desires can sometimes cloud our judgment, this movie serves as a poignant reminder of the power of self-reflection and the capacity for change within us all.

As the story unfolds, we witness a profound transformation in our lead character when confronted with the consequences of his actions. The story is told from the viewpoint of young people, in whose universe adults are mostly out of view. Juniors never condemns or overstates its message, but nobody will leave the room untouched. It not only entertains but also encourages us to reflect on our own actions, fostering empathy and understanding in the process.

In the end, we are left with a powerful message about the resilience of the human spirit and the potential for a real connection between humans. To the cast, crew, and everyone involved in bringing this unique and thought-provoking story to life, we salute you for your creativity, courage, and the ability to make us laugh, cry, and ultimately, ponder the profound journey of the human soul. Congratulations to a movie that goes beyond the surface and leaves a lasting impact on our hearts and minds.

The Gift
In die Wiege gelegt
Directed by:

The Gift is a cinematic journey, taking us to the heart of Kyrgyzstan where the narrative unfolds with grace and poignancy. A young girl yearns for the love and approval of her father in a society where having sons is traditionally valued higher, providing a window into a world that challenges preconceptions.

The film navigates the delicate nuances of gender expectations, shedding light on the challenges faced by individuals feeling trapped within cultural norms. Traditional life high up in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan offers children a lot of freedom, but also requires clear patterns of behaviour and roles. The strength of this movie lies in its ability to tackle these large topics with empathy and nuance. Based on the director’s personal memories, it invites us to question societal constructs and explore the profound impact they have on family dynamics. As our protagonist embarks on a touching journey of self-discovery, we witness a universal quest for acceptance and love.

The Gift is a testament to the power of storytelling to bridge gaps and foster understanding. It is a beacon of compassion, urging us to embrace the diversity of human experience and celebrate the human desire for love and acceptance.

Members of the jury:

More about the festival

In the east of Germany, somewhere between Leipzig and Dresden, the city of Chemnitz turns into a children’s walhalla every year, just before the start of the autumn holidays. That’s when the SCHLiNGEL film festival starts – and children take their classes at the cinema rather than at school.