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Film festival brings culture and language to young Missoulians

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Children got the opportunity to view the world through a new window at the 6th Annual Montana International Children's Film Festival over the weekend.

Event officials selected just 46 films out of a total of 350 submissions. Founder of the MCIFF Christy Ann Brown values the cultural experience that young Montanans can enjoy at the festival.

"You might hear another language if you come to this festival, and you don't have to understand it, but each language is like a music, so I think children know that. I think children are more easily able to pick up a new language," Brown said.

According to research in developmental psychology, kids are most susceptible to learning new languages at young ages. Maybe, with the right push, this means that children attending these festivals learn from other cultures.

One 12-year-old Indian filmmaker says learning other languages and cultures helps facilitate genuine communication between people of different cultures.

"If you are visiting some country, and then that country speaks English, so I will talk to them in English. So that helps a lot. We can connect in a better way," Director of Little Ghandis Ananya Jain said. "I just hope I can connect more to the American audience and make more interesting films which are very great and helpful for everyone."

The Confucius Institute at UM works to enhance communication between U.S. and Chinese cultures. It helps local schools build Chinese language programs, and its exchange program helps students come from China to UM, and vice versa. Its director, Suhan Chen, has lived here for ten years, and works with MCIFF to bring Chinese movies to Missoula children.

"Even though we live in Missoula, Montana, uh looks like geographically we're a little isolated, but actually we're a taste of something really popular in china we're kind of the same pace as the world. So I think it's to bring Montana kids and students to the same page as other kids in other settings... We can get along and then the world will be a better world," Chen said.

Some of the young Missoulians are also working towards a better world. Hellgate High School students raising money for a relationship-building trip to Ghana sold concessions at the film festival. The focus of their trip is to learn from other cultures, and this film festival is an opportunity to do just that.

"It's learning from them, and taking from them, and exchanging together, which is really cool... Here with the international children's film festival I feel like also they're trying to do the same thing," Hellgate High School student Ellie Brown said.

Film fest brings culture and language to young Missoulians Film fest brings culture and language to young Missoulians
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