Excerpt

Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People (1997) aims to promote cinema for children and young people, mainly European, connect cinema and education with innovative initiatives, establish a creative relationship for young people with the art of cinema, and educate a future cinema audience. Olympia IFF has been following a strategy for attracting young audiences through the geographical expansion of its activities by organizing decentralized activities, through which it meets its audience in their place or residence.

Narrative, origins and objectives of the initiative

What kind of project is this? Please give a short description (summary) of it.

Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People (1997) aims to promote cinema for children and young people, mainly European, to connect cinema and education with innovative initiatives. This is done to establish a creative relationship for young people with the art of cinema, educating a future cinema audience. Furthermore, Olympia IFF has been following a strategy for attracting young audiences through the geographical expansion of its activities by organizing decentralized activities, through which it meets its audience in their place or residence.

Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People is the only one of its kind in Greece. It was there before any official state policy on films in education in Greece, supporting film creation in schools through Camera Zizanio, while it actively pursued to create an audience of children and young people that would watch its selection of international professional films aimed at children and young people. Camera Zizanio is still the top event for Audiovisual Communication and Expression of Children and Youth in Europe. It should be noted that, in its last report, “Mapping of media literacy practices and actions in EU-28”, the European Audiovisual Observatory singled out the Mythos Project workshop of Olympia IFF among thousands of audiovisual education initiatives, as the longest standing multinational film workshop of youth audiovisual creation in Europe, in which a number of films have been produced and which has received critical acclaim.

The year 2017 marked 20 years since Olympia IFF was founded, thus, its 20th Edition had a celebratory note. Its program (competition section, tributes, educational programs, satellite events etc.), included a total of 400 screenings and other events, enriched with activities highlighting the role it has played in promoting cinema for children and young people, mainly in Europe, as well as in connecting cinema and education with innovative initiatives about film education, establishing a creative relationship for young people with the art of cinema, and, finally, educating a future cinema audience. The general rationale behind the program stresses Olympia IFF’s role in promoting European festivals for young people and its connection to education, through innovative initiatives of film education. Through its actions and initiatives, the festival has built long-lasting relationships with bodies and institutions operating on both national (Greek Federation of Secondary State School Teachers, Teachers Federation of Greece, Greek Film Clubs Association etc.) and local level (Municipality Cultural Centers, municipal cinemas, Culture associations etc.), cooperating with various stakeholders at all levels.

Please tell us why, in general, this project is considered a successful one?

In general, it can be said that it is a successful project because the number of participants is constantly slightly increasing. Furthermore, Olympia IFF is able to reach children from different disadvantaged regions, bringing them into contact with education. The average of Olympia IFF’s main event’s spectators for the past 4 years amounts to 28,700 per year. During the same period of time, as the statistical data shows, there is a gradual increase in the audience:

2014    17th Edition: 26,775 & year-long activities 2014: 9,910

2015    18th Edition: 27,074 & year-long activities 2015: 6,610

2016    19th Edition: 29,402 & year-long activities 2016: 5,700

2017    20th Edition: 31,487 & year-long activities 2017: 9,200

The gradual increase in the number of spectators is due to the steadily increasing popularity & acceptance of the festival, as well as its wide acceptance by people from various social backgrounds, the dynamic audience of younger ages and the emphasis Olympia IFF places on decentralized activities, targeted events and increasing number of films.

And why would you consider it a grass-roots initiative?

For the past few years, Olympia IFF has been following a strategy for attracting young audiences through the geographical expansion of its activities. Olympia IFF addresses this particularity of population dispersion by organizing decentralized activities, through which it meets its audience in their place or residence.

Another matter pertaining to decentralized activities should be noted: A significant part of the population those activities are addressed to, does not have satisfactory access to the cultural product and is therefore offered this opportunity through Olympia IFF’s activities.

Events implemented in collaboration with other bodies, such as schools, film clubs, civil society organizations, etc., also show very satisfactory results in attracting new audiences. Those events are targeted towards a specific audience with a special interest in the main theme of each event and are always successful.

What challenges needed to be solved in this project?

Is this initiative based on any particular theoretical framework? Which one?

The festival does not refer to a specific theoretical framework; rather, it draws its approach from the experiences gained through the years.

Through the development of workshops and supplementary educational material Olympia IFF aims at mutual enrichment, at the point where science, humanities, art and means of communication meet.

Collaboration with other European cinema festivals for children and young people on the distribution and circulation of European films and culture are constantly growing.

With these festivals, Olympia IFF shares material and experiences, and collaborates on matters of film education, concerning their representation in professional work meetings and juries.

Established contacts with other European festivals and the European Children's Film Association, aiming at the development of cinema for children and young people in Southeast Europe. Since it has now a new equipped permanent base in the city of Pyrgos, Olympia IFF is going to take further initiatives in the Balkan and Southeast Europe area, in collaboration with Thessaloniki International Film Festival, its goal being the formation of a peripheral hub for cinema for children and young people.

 

Through the development of workshops and supplementary educational material, this collaboration aims at mutual enrichment, at the point where science, humanities, art and means of communication meet.

At a national level, Olympia IFF collaborates with networks and organizations, such as the Greek Federation of Film Societies, the Pedagogical Group “Skasiarxeio”, educational institutions and bodies, municipal cinemas etc., through which it promotes European films for children and young people.

According to the Jury, it is “a unique festival for children and young audiences, involving education in all levels, promoting the film-making process and creating new audiences for the art of cinema”.

(Appendix) Is your intervention standing on its own or is it a part of a bigger and more holistic approach?

Olympia IFF is submitted from the Region of Western Greece as “GOOD PRACTICE” 1.1. Improving innovation infrastructure policies” in the frame of EU program “CREADIS3”.

Please describe the group(s) intended as beneficiaries of this initiative

Why has this group (have these groups) been chosen?

The main target group of the festival are children and adolescents as well as teachers in Primary and Secondary Education, and their families. The aim is to support the European dimension, as well as geographical and linguistic diversity and approaching new population groups that do not have satisfactory access to the cultural product.

The 21st Edition, with its audience development activities (see further down on the relevant question), aims at expanding young audiences, which take up a continuously growing percentage compared to adult audiences: 70% in the 20th Edition, as opposed to 65% in the 19th Edition.

Olympia IFF collaborates with a number of European festivals, university institutions, schools and other educational bodies.

Could you please tell us something about the relative size of the (of each) target group, within the school/university population, region and/or country?

Young audiences comprise the vast majority, since they account for 70% of the total of spectators. This audience consists of elementary, gymnasium and lyceum students, as well as university students. It is divided into three main age groups:

6-12 years old,

13-16 years old, and

17-20 years old.

Adult spectators cover 30% of the overall audience and belong to the following categories:

Cinema for the whole family: 20%,

Film enthusiasts: 5%,

Professionals (directors, producers, distributors, actors, screenwriters, technicians, writers, musicians, visual artist, teachers, professors, etc.): 5%.

Children and young people are the most dynamic and active part of Olympia IFF’s audience, since they love modern cinema and are active participants in Olympia IFF’s activities because they provide creative motivation.

The 21st Edition, with its audience development activities (see further down on the relevant question), aims at expanding young audiences, which take up a continuously growing percentage compared to adult audiences: 70% in the 20th Edition, as opposed to 65% in the 19th Edition.

 

 

Which social characteristics are taken into account and what is the geographical area covered?

For the past years, Olympia IFF has been following a successful, as evidence suggest, strategy for attracting young audiences through the geographical expansion of its activities. Elis prefecture has a population of 160,000, 24,000 of which reside in the biggest city (Pyrgos), while 17,000 live in the second largest city (Amaliada), and the rest of the population resides in other 221 small or very small settlements. Olympia IFF addresses this particularity of population dispersion by organizing decentralized activities, through which it meets its audience in their place or residence.

Following this strategy, it has transferred the Documentary Section/Kids & Docs, a series of parallel screenings, events and activities in the city of Amaliada since 2016 (19th Edition), an action that has already produced positive results and is expected to continue doing so.

It should be noted that, during the past year (20th Edition), audience distribution was as follows: Activities in Pyrgos, where the Festival is based: 16,658, Decentralized activities: 14,821, Υear-long activities: 9,200.

The same strategy will also be adopted this year. According to planning, 21st Edition events are expected to reach 35-40 cities and villages, while 25-30 villages in Elis prefecture and more than a 100 cities in Greece will host year-long activities. For the hosting of activities (screenings, workshops, seminars and other events) Olympia IFF works with commercial halls, municipalities, museums, film clubs, refugee camps, educational institutions, schools and local cultural bodies.

On which level is the project implemented?

Please describe the political and socio-economic factors that you believe have been important enablers for your initiative

Did the initiative have political support?

Yes.

From the beginning of 2018, Olympia Festival, with its new legal status of a social cooperative, has signed a program contract with the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Region of Western Greece for its stable funding, while it is in the procedure of being handed down the space of the old ASO Raisin Factory in the city of Pyrgos. The old factory belongs to the Region of Western Greece. The renovation to become the home of Olympia Festival and other cultural institutions of Ilia Prefecture is funded with 8 million euros by the Greek government.

How did it fit with local, regional or national policies?

Olympia Festival takes place during the first week of December every year in Pyrgos and Amaliada, cities of the Region of Western Greece, and not in the capital city of the country. It is the biggest cultural institution of the area. However, it is an event of Greek and international interest. The festival’s activities are spread around the country throughout the year, while it invites representatives of the international community of children’s films and students from Europe and around the world. Successful implementation boosts the local/regional creative industries' actors and organizations and provides opportunities for cultural exchange and the promotion of local cultural products. Olympia is in line with the national policies of the minister of Culture and Education.

Who are the stakeholders supporting the initiative?

The 20th Edition was implemented with the support of the ministries of Culture and Education, Western Greece Prefecture, the Hellenic Parliament, Greek Film Center, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), municipalities in the area and Creative Europe – MEDIA.

Are there particular demographic changes present that are influencing the project?

What is the institutional strategy and culture of the (educational) organization?

Since 1997 Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People has aimed to promote cinema for children and young people, mainly European, and to connect cinema and education with innovative initiatives. This was done to establish a creative relationship for young people with the art of cinema, educating a future audience. The 21st Edition loyally serves Olympia IFF’s standing goals:

1) Reinforcing the European dimension, as well as geographical and linguistic diversity, so that the number of films from EU member countries and countries with low audiovisual production capacity is kept at elevated levels.

2) Supporting transnational mobility of cultural and creative players, in particular artists, enriching film literacy initiatives, addressing them to larger audiences.

3) Approaching new population groups that do not have satisfactory access to the cultural products.

4) Enriching film education initiatives, addressing them to larger audiences.

5) Triggering professionals’ interest for European films and facilitating their circulation within and outside the EU.

6) Attracting a larger general audience, especially from younger ages, triggering their interest for European cinema through film literacy initiatives.

To what extent does the initiative have an influence on institutional policy (or potential influence) of the (educational) organization?

(Appendix) Is there public support for your initiative and the issue it addresses?

(Appendix) What other factors do you think have been important for the success of this initiative?

Please describe the overall initiative design and the methods and tools used to reach the goals

Please describe the specific activities carried out.

The 20th Edition was characterized by a) high quality films, the European dimension and geographic diversity, b) the success of the Film Education activities that were implemented through innovative educational programs, and c) the event’s popularity that was evident by a new audience participation record in screenings and parallel events. In the 20th Edition the following activities were implemented:

  • 61 film workshops (directing, editing, documentary, animation, 3D animation, visual effects, video clip, film analysis etc.) in which 32 short films were made,
  • 1 international scientific meeting on Film Education,
  • 19 seminars and master classes (making of a film at school, editing techniques, script writing, directing, set designing etc.),
  • 159 film screenings for pupils.

What were the key roles (teacher, student, management team etc.) within the project?

Since 1998 our organization has been operating in the cultural and creative industry field, and more specifically in the audiovisual area and in film education. It has many years of experience in designing, administration and management of a vast number of projects with cultural, artistic, creative and educational activities and its organizational structure. Our expertise renders it able to coordinate and implement complex and demanding projects.
For the realization of its 20th Edition, it utilized the expertise, experience and skills of its staff members, as well as of a multitude of professionals – external associates (artists, teachers, technical experts, companies, and other professionals of the audiovisual field with whom it collaborated.
A three-member committee is responsible for the designing and the general supervision for the implementation of the activities and actions. It consists of the artistic director, the person responsible for the educational programs and the person responsible for the organization of activities.
A permanent group of three staff members responsible for the secretariat, international relations, film traffic and audience reception and management respectively, aid the three-member committee in its work. In the
implementation stage of the festival, temporary associates of three or five-month employment agreements
(secretarial assistance, guest service, etc.) also assist.
During the same stage and according to the program the artistic director complies, two more groups of temporary associates are formed for the coordination of activities and actions (screening halls and event venues, coordination of screenings, educational activities and parallel events), as well as communication services (press office, promotional material, etc.).
There are also two independent groups under the supervision of the artistic director, and the person responsible for the organization of the festival, who cover two crucial fields: translation and subtitling of films and technical support.
The production of material (trailers, spots, catalogs, posters etc.) is assigned to specialized companies (image
and sound editing labs, printing offices, etc.), following required procedures.
Finally, the financial administration and management of the organization is assisted by an external accounting office.

What ideas, tools, theories, models, methodology (etc.) have been used to reach the goals?

In 1997, Olympia International Film Festival for Children & Young People was founded. In 2001, “Camera Zizanio - European Meeting of Young Peoples Audiovisual Creation" was founded, while it also organized a plethora of activities about film education and training of young people on the creative use of digital audiovisual technology.

Olympia International Film Festival for Children has gained years of experience in planning, running and managing a number of projects on cultural, artistic and educational activities. It has such organizational structure and expertise that it is able to coordinate and implement complex and demanding activities and actions. Through its actions and initiatives, the festival has built long-lasting relationships with bodies and institutions operating on both national (Greek Federation of Secondary State School Teachers, Teachers Federation of Greece, Greek Film Clubs Association etc.) and local level (Municipality Cultural Centers, municipal cinemas, Culture associations etc.), cooperating with various stakeholders at all levels.

For the implementation of its educational activities, Olympia IFF collaborated with the Ministry of Education, which communicated the program of the 20th Edition to all schools in Greece. The organizational team of Olympia IFF informed each school separately in greater detail. The team also coordinated student and teacher participation in the film workshops and seminars, as well as in the screenings for schools.

For the designing and implementation of educational activities, Olympia IFF collaborated with:

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens/ Center for Cross-Cultural

EducationTechnological, an Educational Institute of Western Greece

National Film Festival voor Scholieren (The Netherlands)

Media Education Center (Belgrade)

Youth Cinema Network (YCN)

Ministry of Interior/ General Secretariat for Gender Equality

Independent Authority The Greek Ombudsman

Pedagogical Group “Skasiarxeio”

Public education organizations (directorates of education, Elementary Schools, High Schools etc.)

Olympia IFF implemented the tested strategy of geographical expansion of its activities for its 20th Edition, in order to attract new audiences, visiting (as shown in the previous paragraph) 31 cities and villages where it hosted screenings and events.

The staging of the Documentary Section in Amaliada (second largest city in Elis prefecture), since the 19th Edition (2016), proved to be a successful move, as the data from the 20th Edition shows that it presents an remarkable development attracting a new dynamic audience.

What are the final revenues of the project?

Please describe if your project ensured its sustainability

If so, how did you ensure the short-term impact of the project?

Short-term impact can be shown through the large number of audience reached.

And how did you ensure the long-term impact of the project?

The long duration of the Olympia IFF can show a clear long-term impact on local and international level.  During the 20th edition an International Meeting under the topic “Film Education: Theoretical and Practical Approaches” took place and 19 filmmakers, university professors and institutional actors from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Turkey and Greece participated. This shows the great interest in an network for Olympia IFF. Following Olympia IFF’s proposal, and with its support, the Hellenic Parliament’s television broadcaster established an educational zone on Sunday evenings with films for children and young people. Most of the films transmitted in 2017 were official selections in recent Olympia IFF’s events. Following Olympia IFF’s suggestion, and with its support, a pan-European originality was achieved: Television transmission of films that are created by children and young people up to the age of 20. The proposal was implemented in collaboration with the Hellenic Parliament’s television broadcaster that transmitted 15 hourly programs with 123 short films, which were part of the competition section of Camera Zizanio in 2017.

Furthermore, 2018 the festival took place for the 21st time.

 

Has your project been replicated elsewhere?

Please tell us about the resources used in this initiative

What was the budget for the initiative?

Approx. 350.000 EUR per year

How much did the initiative depend on volunteers?

How were the costs perceived by the public/the sector/other stakeholders?

To what extent did the initiative achieve its objectives?

Please describe the evidence to support the success of your initiative.

Olympia Festival has been running for 20 years, which is already a good indicator in being a successful initiative; Olympia IFF is the biggest cultural institution of the area of Western Greece. However, it is an event of Greek and international interest. The festival’s activities are spread all over the country,throughout the year, while it annually invites representatives of the international community of children’s films and students from Europe and around the world. Successful implementation boosts the local/regional creative industries' actors and organizations and provides opportunities for cultural exchange and for the promotion of local and cultural products.

Year-long film literacy events are characterized by the same features as the one implemented during Olympia IFF (educational screenings, workshops, seminars). The only difference being that they are implemented in the greater Athens area and other regions in Greece. They are a part of Olympia IFF’s overall activity; they are programmed under the festival’s initiatives for the development of audiovisual education in Greece and they are implemented following the requests of the educational community for the training and instruction of its members.

Year-long film literacy events are characterized by the same features as the one implemented during Olympia IFF (educational screenings, workshops, seminars). The only difference is that they are implemented in the greater Athens area and other regions in Greece. They are a part of Olympia IFF’s overall activity; they are programmed under the festival’s initiatives for the development of audiovisual education in Greece and they are implemented following the requests of the educational community for the training and instruction of its members.

Did the intervention lead to any unintended (positive) outcomes?

What indicators (quantitative and qualitative) have you measured to demonstrate success?

For yet another year in a row, the festival saw an audience increase. The general audience in the 20th Edition (2017) amounted to 31,487 spectators, marking a 7% increase as opposed to the 19th Edition (2016), when it was only 29,402.

 

 

 

 

 

(Appendix) How did you evaluate/monitor this intervention?