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PLANS FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN'S FILMS

CHILDREN like to go ^ to the pictures and in

these days most of them do go. They pack out week-

end children's matinees . throughout the suburbs and often form a high pro- portion of the audiences at regular film sessions.

It is surprising-and to some alarming-that here in Sydney they see few, if any, films which have been specially and sympathetically made for

children.

It is even more surprising to newcomers from Britain-and visitors from Melbourne and Perth-who know that there are in existence a large number of outstandingly good children's films which are never seen here.

As a result of the visit to Aus- tralia last month of Miss Mary Field, who is undoubtedly the world's main authority on child- ren's entertainment films, there are some hopes that these films may come to New South Wales, and that something along the lines of Britain's highly successful Saturday cinema clubs may be organised here.

Miss Field is the chief execu- tive officer of the Children's Film Foundation, which is financed by the British film industry as a whole as a co-ordinating centre in the production, distribution and exhibition of children's films -not only in Britain but any- where in the world where the films may be wanted.

To-day there are nearly a mil- lion members in 2,000 cinema clubs throughout the British Isles, who pay their weekly sixpences to see these films in their local theatre.

The only one of these films ever to have been given general distribution in Australia is "Bush Christmas"-which was made here, and consequently had a special appeal.

There seem to be two main reasons for this - first the atti- tude of the exhibitors, who are doing satisfactorily enough with the present system of showing

By A STAFF 1 CORRESPONDENT j

"adult" films with a vaguely juvenile appeal; secondly, the present system of calculating im- port duty on films, whereby a children's film which is shown one session a week is charged th« same duty as an adult film which is shown up to 24 times a week,

The film distributors have already appealed to the Federal Government for a more equitable system of duty on children's

films.

In Victoria and Western Australia public committees have already overcome these problems in some degree by guaranteeing the losses of film exhibitors who put on children's shows.

Similar committees are being formed in Tasmania and Queens- land. New South Wales is a little behind-hand in this, but the initial meeting of a "Council for Children's Films and Television" is to be held here soon.

The meeting has been spon- sored by the National Council of Women, and representatives of about 25 film, welfare and other organisations have been invited to

attend it. ." i _1 I

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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