Fall 2002 Forward to a Friend


Almost three decades ago, this question prompted Nicole Dreiske to action. One result is North America’s largest and oldest film festival for children – the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF). As CICFF’s founder and creative director, Nicole Dreiske points out, “All media is constructed for a purpose. Getting children to think about this is a tremendously enriching and, in the most positive sense of the word, preventive measure. It will protect your child in ways that censorship cannot.”

Statistics about the amount of time that children spend watching television are staggering. However, children are not prepared to think about what they watch, and, in that regard, they’re illiterate. The programs sponsored by the CICFF with the help of sponsors like Subaru of America give children the tools to think critically about what they watch and learn to look for the underlying messages.

The parent organization for CICFF is Facets Multi-Media, Inc., a not-for-profit company that offers a number of media-literacy programs. These programs include Dream Screen animation workshop, Cinema-Tech! computer film-making workshop and Media Arts Camp. In 2001, Young Chicago Critics was created. Through this eight-day experience, kids learn to critique and interpret film in order to write reviews. Some of the graduates of Young Chicago Critics serve on the jury and award prizes for the CICFF.

Using their experience with CICFF as a springboard, Nicole Dreiske and Facets Multi-Media have begun children’s film festivals in Milwaukee, Cincinnati and New York. On an even larger scale, Nicole is proposing the creation of a central, national educational institution for media – a National Children’s Media Center.

Insightful film reviews by children jury members and more information about Facets Multi-Media’s programs are available on CICFF’s Web site: www.cicff.org.