The International Film Festival SCHLiNGEL
SCHLINGEL is an international film festival for children and young audiences. The festival began in 1996, and has taken place annually in Chemnitz ever since in the week before the Saxon Fall Break. The festival gives an overview of the newest international productions in the area of children and youth films. The festival is organized by the Saxon Children and Youth Films Association in Chemnitz. In addition, since 2006, the Saxon Institution for Private Broadcasting and New Media has also helped to organize this event. The patron of SCHLiNGEL is the Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony.
The foundation for the present day International Film Festival for Children and Young Audiences SCHLINGEL was laid in 1996 with the first Chemnitz Children’s Film Exhibition SCHLiNGEL. This first festival ran for one week in the Chemnitz Culture Centre, and showed "Kraftwerk" films for children aged 5 – 14. In 1998 the venue was changed to the CineStar Luxor-Filmpalast, where it still occurs today. The first award ceremony emerged in 2000 with the prizes being awarded based on public opinion. That year the award went to Tomás und der König der Falken ["Thomas and the King of the Falcons"] by Václav Vorlícek.
The first competition category, the International Children’s Film Competition, was created in 2001. Today, the ever increasing number of applicants for this category confirms its importance among the SCHLiNGEL awards. Also in 2001, the first monetary prize was given in this category from the city of Chemnitz – 10,000 DM to the best children’s film. This prize went to the Italian film Iris by director Aurelio Grimaldi.
In 2003 came, for the first time, an appeal for a European Children’s Jury. Within the International Children’s Film Competition, children of different European nationalities (i.e. from Denmark, France, Greece, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary) gave the "Europäischen Kinderfilmpreis" (European Children’s Film Prize). The Saxon State Minister for Science and Art donated €12,500 to be awarded as the prize in this category.
In 2002 SCHLiNGEL opened the International Youth Film Competition in conjunction with the Children’s Film Competition, for those older than 14 years. This separation from the classic children’s film category enabled the opportunity for particular consideration of the different points of view and interests between children and youth. This was the sole separation until 2007 when it was decided that, as past experience showed, this single differentiation did not do justice to the varied adolescent generation.
An increase in film production in the age range of 11 – 13, as well as a resultant increase in public attention, created a public worry that films for children were under threat and these films were difficult to place in the distribution world. In order to prevent this development from happening, in 2007 SCHLINGEL created the International Junior Film Competition, which aimed to appeal directly to 11 – 13 year olds.
To strengthen the short film competition within the festival, a new prize structure was introduced in 2017. This now distinguishes between animated and real short films, with the best national and international production being honoured in each case.
In the same year the German Federal Film Board (FFA) officially named the International Film Festival SCHLiNGEL as a reference film festival. This means that producers of German children's and youth films receive points for their start in the national competition “German Focus” or in the short film competition that qualify them for later reference film funding.
The patron of the SCHLiNGEL is the Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony.