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UNICEF Helps Egyptian Kids to Produce Toon

REBELLION OF THE CANES is an animated short documentary, which was recently produced by 25 Minya children in Egypt with the financial add of UNICEF, reports EGYPTTODAY. The children spent five days making a series of short animation films on topics relating to childrens rights. The resulting film screened at the Lebanon International Film Festival.

We saw the potential of producing this film for childrens rights and we were interested in making a combination between childrens animation and their rights, says Simon Ingram, a communication officer from UNICEF, which financed the film. We are trying to give the children the right to have a voice and to have a say as provided in the United Nations Childrens Rights accords, he adds.

The documentary features an animated story about local schools corporal punishment practices, which brings the cane the teacher uses to punish the students to life. Another section of the film tells the tale of an uneducated, poor father who forces his daughters to work at an early age and gives their brother the privilege of going to school.

The idea for the project came from Swedish animation producer Erling Ericsson, who encourages students to express themselves by allowing them to illustrate the topics of their choice. Ericsson has spent nearly 20 years teaching film animation to children in Sweden and other countries.

The process of creating the film is simple. Ericsson teaches the students an easy form of cutout animation, using a simple animation rostrum-camera screwed into the ceiling of a studio box that is illuminated by four fluorescent lamps. After instructing the kids how to use the equipment, he just lets them go with the students writing the script to inserting voice-over.

Ericsson is touring public schools in Egypt trying to convince administrators that animation is a powerful tool and helping children learn. He holds classes for both kids and teachers so they can see their simple animations come to life very quickly. Later on, teachers can use the same method to teach geography, history or foreign languages.

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Rick DeMott
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