Day One - Prix Jeunesse youth jury in Armenia
What do 15 teenagers in Armenia do on two long spring afternoons in Yerevan? They become experts: Experts on children's television.
For the first time in the long history of the Prix Jeunesse, an international children's jury votes on the best programmes in this year's selection. The International Children’s Jury takes place in seven countries where group sof children aged 12-15 come together to watch the 16 finalists in their age category and cast their votes. Teenagers in Armenia, Brazil, Korea, Norway, South Africa, Syria and the USA participate in the jury. At the end of the jury session, each jury group will come up with a ranking list from place 1 down to 16. Finally, from the results of the regional juries the overall youth jury winner will be calculated and will receive their award this summer at the Prix Jeunesse 2008.
The Armenian participants were selected by the Manana Youth Center in cooperation with the Prix Jeunesse and UNICEF Armenia. Ruzanna Baghdasaryan, founder of the Manana Youth Center, says: "We had an open call for applications to the jury through radio stations and schools. 35 teenagers applied, we invited all of them and showed some films. Then we selected 15 of them who did really well in discussing the films."
The nine girls and six boys who made it into the jury are glued to the television when the six hour screening that spreads over two days starts with films from Argentina, the Netherlands and Ireland. After every two or three films, depending on their lenghts, the group turns their backs to the TV and sits in a circle to discuss the positive and the negative points they have noted down. The discussion is as interesting as the programmes themselves and the young audience is very critical, but also ready to give praise to the programmes they liked best. It is not always easy for them to relate to the films from Western Europe or South America. The humour is different, the styles are different and sometimes they feel too old or too young for the programmes.
On the first day of the youth jury, the teenagers watched films from Great Britain, Argentina, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland (2) and Iran. Some were animations, there was a one-hour drama ("All about me" from BBC2, UK) and a film about the selection of youth journalists for an Irish Sunday newspaper. More films are coming up on Day Two of the Armenian youth jury and the children are already looking forward to watching more programmes and coming to a decision.
April 7, 2008 - Yerevan - Chris Schuepp