Film festival promotes foreign language experience
Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 01:09
The distinct, crisp echo of spoken German carried throughout the hallways of the Memorial Union Building this past Saturday. The noise came from two mothers gabbing away as their tiny children tugged at their sleeves, anxious to get into MUB Theater II to watch Emil Und Die Detektive, the story of a boy-sleuth from Berlin.
While not a typical MUB movie, this German children’s flick was just one of the many featured at the inaugural One World Language School International Film Festival this Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22.
“My child is three and she already knows German and English,” one of the mothers and a current teacher at the One World Language School, Nicole Jordan, said about her daughter Isabella, between spouts of Deutsch. “So I figured this is a great way for us to see a movie on the big screen. We also saw a Chinese film, which had everything Isabella liked because it had singing, dancing, fighting and a monkey. And all of that’s international; every kid likes that.”
This idea of accessibility to other cultures through a relatable movie experience is just what the organizers of the film festival had in mind when they set up this two-day event featuring movies not only in German, but also Chinese, Spanish and French.
“Not everyone has the time or interest to learn another language,” Julie Reece, co-founder and director of the One World Language School, said, “but they might be interested in seeing some high-quality international films. We hope that this will be an educational and enriching experience for the Seacoast community.”
Reece explained that the One World Language School was established in 2003 with the purpose of providing “after-school language classes to children ages three to 14 in many local school districts.”
Reece said that she and Co-Founder and Director Brigitte Herz decided to put on the film showing because the parents of children attending the school “are always looking for ways to enrich their child’s language education outside of the classroom, and one of the things [they] recommend is movies, and in particular movies made in the target-language country. This way the children get not only a language experience but also an authentic cultural experience.”
Jill Sears, another parent who took her son, Ben, to see Copito de Nieve, a part-animated, part-live-action Spanish-language romp about an albino gorilla in the Barcelona zoo, agreed that enjoying movies such as these is vital to her son’s acquisition of Spanish and wished there were more opportunities to raise awareness of bilingual education.
“It’s great because Ben can follow the story line through the pictures and begin to make connections between what he hears and what he sees,” Sears said.
The festival was geared towards adults in the Seacoast community as well as kids. At 12 p.m. MUB Theater I featured Couleur de Peu: Miel, an R-rated flick in French with an older audience that contrasted with the many families filing in to watch Emil Und Die Detektive in MUB Theater II at the same time.
John O’Mahony, a UNH student who got up for the 10:15 a.m. showing of Copito de Nieve, described the children’s movie as “fantastic” and is proof people of all ages took advantage of the films offered this weekend.
“I’m not normally up at this hour,” O’Mahony said, “and I was about 10 years older or 50 years younger than everyone else in the audience, but I’m a student majoring in Spanish and I take any chance I can to hear the language.”