In Kids vs Film, children become filmmakers as they research, write, direct and edit their own shows.
KIDS as filmmakers? Now that’s an interesting idea which Discovery Kids is exploring in their new show Kids vs Film.
Discovery Kids gave 48 kids aged eight to 12 from across the globe the opportunity to become first-time filmmakers, with suitable guidance by a team of professional production experts.
In each of the 12 episodes, two teams of two kids, guided by hosts Oli Pettigrew and Mohini Sule, compete against each other to shoot and produce a two-minute documentary – all in one day.
Pettigrew feels the show will appeal to adults as well as children. “I’m a dad myself. I’ve got two kids. Half the problem of parenting is being exposed to television shows that are insipid, vapid and which just basically suck the life out of you as you’re forced to watch them with your children. Whereas this show is a lot of fun, but it’s just as entertaining for someone my age, as it is for someone who’s 10 or 12 or 13 or 16 because it’s not just funny but also full of information,” Pettigrew said in a phone interview last week.
Although the kids had access to some top-notch equipment and the help of experienced crew (courtesy of Discovery), Sule opined that if the kids were to do it themselves, then all they really needed was a smartphone to shoot and learn editing techniques using different apps available.
While filming the series, Pettigrew discovered there were a few kids who were outstandingly talented. “On set, all of the crew were just amazed by some of these kids. I know at least four kids for whom I see a bright future in film and television (industry), even acting. They were fantastic.”
Shooting a show with kids meant plenty of memorable moments for the hosts. Pettigrew particularly enjoyed filming the episodes involving the coastguard boat and fur seal.
“I think my favourite day was when we got to take out a coastguard cutter, with all the latest technology on it, for about six hours. The footage that we came up with was absolutely brilliant. Also, on the very first day of shooting, we went to Underwater World and I was able to interact with a fur seal,” he said
Pettigrew is also happy that TV viewers are able to see what goes into the making of a seemingly simple scene. He recalled the episode where his team went abseiling. “I’d done some rock-climbing before, on TV, and people don’t notice that while abseiling and talking to the camera, a crew has to be by my side all the time for this shot. So, we had our cameraman, Big Mike, hanging off (the cliff) with this huge camera on his shoulder, and he’s 20 feet up in the air. That’s the cool thing about this episode, that finally kids and even adults get to see how much effort goes into shooting something that’s only two minutes long.”
For Sule, she loves the episode involving fire-fighting with the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) where the crew used a six-storey building to film a fire scene. “It’s not every day that we get to go into a real life scenario and see simulated fire,” Sule said.
With kids involved, were there any tantrums or fighting on the set? “No, no. I’ve said this to a lot of people, but this is one of the friendliest shows I’ve worked on. We wanted to make the best show possible and there were no divas, no temper tantrums. Everyone just got along really well and enjoyed working on the show,” Sule concluded.
Catch first-time child directors at work on Kids vs Film every Saturday at 6.30pm on Discovery Kids (HyppTV Ch 561).