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Zosia Horszczaruk • Head of industry, Kids Kino Industry

“Our task is to turn the spotlight on the recent productions coming from the CEE region”


- Cineuropa talked with the head of Kids Kino Industry about the upcoming edition of the event and what makes it one of the most important gatherings in the region

Zosia Horszczaruk • Head of industry, Kids Kino Industry

The sixth edition of Kids Kino Industry (KKI), the international co-production forum for films and series aimed at children and youth, is ready to kick off and will run from 27-30 September, both physically in Warsaw and online. Prior to the event, we had a chance to meet up with Zosia Horszczaruk, the head of industry, who shared her input on one of the most important events in Central and Eastern Europe.

Cineuropa: What makes this edition different from previous ones, and how have you seen the event evolve in the past few years?
Zosia Horszczaruk:
It’s hard to believe that this is already the sixth edition, as we still remember 2017 and our first steps. The main goal of Kids Kino Industry was to create a meeting space where the European audiovisual sector could exchange ideas and experiences, and where they could develop new content for children. I can openly say we have reached this point, and we are happy to be growing further. This is the first edition after the global pandemic, where we’ve once again noticed a pressing need to meet in person – judging by the number of accredited people, we expect a record number of attendees. We’ve also changed the location, which gives us new opportunities as well as challenges. A new element for us is the Young Talents programme, organised together with international film and art schools, which have sent two or three students to Warsaw to network and exchange their know-how and experience in an international co-production market, often for the first time. For the second time, we have joined forces with Cinekid for Professionals to work on Producers LINK, a programme for emerging producers of children’s and youth content. We also have a new partner, ORKA Production, which is sponsoring two additional awards for pitched projects – they are offering 25,000 PLN in total for development support and production services.

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Regarding the selection for this year, do you see a special focus in terms of the creators, or a trend in the themes being addressed?
This year, we’ve hit a record number of submissions: 95 projects from 24 countries applied to be selected for the pitching sessions. What we have seen in the submitted projects is a wide range of genre projects – fantasy, horror and mystery stories for kids and teens. Genre films and series for kids are what we wanted to give a privileged place to this year at the forum – both in the selection and within the conference programme. The conference part of the forum includes the interactive master class “Creating Thriller/Horror for 12+”, led by the creators of the Danish Netflix original series The Rain. Our selection this year also leaves room for projects for slightly older audiences – that is, young adults – and we are happy to open up to this group. We see a growing need coming from the market for productions that are willing to attract this group, and we are happy to showcase them – among our selected projects, we have a couple of projects in development aimed at young adults.

With many industry events happening at various markets, what sets KKI apart, and why is it worth attending and applying for?
Kids Kino Industry is one of a few European industry events focused on kids and youth content, but we each have a different focus. Our task, in particular, is to turn the spotlight on the recent productions coming from the CEE region and the low-production-capacity countries where this part of the audiovisual sector is not yet well developed. Our aim is to enable a meeting between the creative industry from countries with a short history of productions for children, and handpicked, high-profile decision makers and producers from territories with a long tradition of films for kids in order to foster potential co-productions. Major attention is paid to supporting creatives in finding the appropriate business partners to finalise their projects. Moreover, we are open to all types of productions – animation, live action and documentaries – while other similar events are often dedicated to a single type of production. Even though we grow year on year and are extending the network and the size of the event, we still try to keep it on a scale that gives the creators an opportunity to easily meet the decision makers who are not so accessible at larger events.

Apart from the pitching session, there is a selection of events and talks focused on industry professionals. Could you highlight the most important ones?
Yes: the pitching days are the core moments of our event, but we also have the conference part, which includes several sessions and workshops aimed at different representatives of the industry. In the fast-changing reality of this market, where digital platforms are becoming the biggest commissioners of audiovisual productions, we wanted to give a voice to those in charge. “Scaling Up – Streaming Hubs for Local Content” is a session with Filippa Wallestam (Viaplay Group) and Orion Ross (Disney EMEA), who will talk to Michael Gubbins about the advantages and challenges that the digital market is offering to creators. We also wanted to take a closer look at the development process behind original IP, which will be discussed at length during a case study with the general director of Millimages, who will present the iconic production Molang. Additionally, there’s a planned session on audience-insight studies held by Rikke Flodin from Danish research company Will&Agency. These are just a few examples – for more, you can check out our website.

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