by Becky Tan
Seven children, ages nine-13, met under the supervision of Daniel Bucher to discuss eight international films and select the winner of the Michel prize, worth Euro 5000. Meeting place was the art gallery of Nancy Tilitz (see www.fancynancy.de) in Dammtor train station. Located directly across the street from Cinemaxx cinema, this was more than convenient for the young judges. Although the festival organizers had Nancy’s gallery in mind for several projects, it turned out to be perfect for the kids. Nancy’s good friend Doris suggested that she cover up some of the life-sized nude art for which Nancy is famous. She brought bed sheets from home, “not because the kids would mind, but because some parents might.”
The kids ate catered meals, and had breaks in order to to run through Planten ‘n’ Blomen for fresh air. They sacrificed their school vacation to sit in the dark and discuss their impressions. Nancy said, “I dropped by rarely, but when I did, they mostly ignored me, except when I brought sweets.”
The jury chose the American film Spork by director J.B. Ghuman, Jr. Mr. Ghuman had already returned to the U.S. and was unable to accept his prize personally. He sent a thank-you email. The festival staff needed a “real” person on stage, and when the U.S. consul general cancelled, they immediately thought of Nancy. She graciously accepted the Michel prize for Mr. Ghuman, and led the audience in a high-five.
– The Michel Children's Filmfestival