Why this French entrepreneur is helping Stockholm kids to find their perfect film role

Gaïa Jouan
Gaïa Jouan - [email protected]
Why this French entrepreneur is helping Stockholm kids to find their perfect film role
Pauline Mialhe. Photo: Sacreblue

French entrepreneur in Stockholm Pauline Mialhe explains why she's encouraging kids to judge their own film festivals this summer. Could they be the film critics of the future?


The Local first met Mialhe in January when she told us about Sacrebleu, where she organizes French language cultural events and film screenings for francophones or francophiles in Stockholm, inspired to act after noticing a lack of French cultural activity in the Swedish capital.

We caught up with her to find out about her latest project, where she's making kids the jury in an animated film festival.

READ ALSO: Meet the entrepreneur who wants to bring the best of French culture to Stockholm.

Tell us about My Little Festival, which you're launching during June and August. How is it going to work?

The screenings will be in French in the morning, in English in the afternoon and presented by Jill Leckie, the Scottish founder of the community based organisation littlebearabroad. Parents can stay with the children if they wish. The program lasts two hours, with about five screenings. The main objective is to compare films, not judge them, and develop children's critical thinking.

At the start, the kids take a fun personality test to find out their role in the jury. There are five teams: music composers, screenwriters, art directors, directors and actors. They each get a notebook with questions about the film. The questions are the same for everyone, but during the viewing, they will be asked to focus on different things according to their role. After a debate and a vote, the best short films will be elected. With popcorn of course

What's the purpose of the personality test? 

From the different personalities we find a role for everyone. It's not just "you like to look at the scenery, so you will be the art director". The test goes deeper so that children have the role that really suits their personality. I think all children have an instinct for animation, they just don't know it.

What was your test result?

I did it hundreds of times ... at first I thought I was going to be a director but in the end I got the role of animator. It's true that I don't have the "leadership" side of the director, and the animator is a fascinating role: the artistic director comes up with a whole world, and the animator makes it come to life. For example, by making people feel sadness through animating a character a certain way.

Photo: Sacrebleu

Why did you decide to focus on animated movies?

I'm a fan of animated films because there's a real poetry that emerges from them.

There are many ways to see a movie. I have a friend who is against the idea of analyzing a work of art (using the historical and personal context of the artist, for example). I have the opposite opinion: the more you learn about the work, the more you learn about how to appreciate it. The real purpose behind film reviewing is to stop the 'I like/I don't like' frame, which is too limited.

I remember in college I watched a film in Arts class, Grave of the Fireflies by Isao Takahata, and the teacher told us to look at a little girl at the back of the screen. I would never have noticed her! It's impossible to watch and be able to pay attention to every detail. That's why I created different teams that will pay attention to different things.

What was the inspiration for the event?

I love film review, but I didn't really know how to do it. So I thought that learning with children was a perfect opportunity.

French cinema is very rich, with a lot of different universes. Swedish cinema as well, which conveys strong messages. Le masque et la plume, a French literary, theater and cinema review program is my absolute reference point -- that's what made me want to do these kind of things : extract interesting opinions and not only judgements, which ultimately don't lead to real arguments.

Another inspiration is the French youtuber Le fossoyeur de films. He recently made a video on a film about Swedish society (A Swedish Love STory by Roy Andersson). I didn't know the movie, but after watching the video, I felt like I saw it and understood the work. That's what I would like to do with children.

Do you plan to continue working with children, or move on to other audiences too?

I recently started a project of team building for companies, which is the same format as the festival but for adults. Everyone has a role in the jury, but the roles change. That's is the goal of business psychology: take a step back from your situation, put yourself in the shoes of others and develop your abilities. I also lead reading groups.

Finally, which film would you take on a desert island?

Most certainly the Lord of the Rings or Nolan's Batman. The universes are amazing. Otherwise, the animated films of the Japanese Miyazaki, especially Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, for the vivacity of imagination and a strong message about humans against nature.

The latest film I really liked is the Argentinian film "Citizen of Honor". It's the story of a man who became a multi-millionaire by writing a saga about his native village, using locals as his characters, and who's invited to return to this village to become the honorary citizen. But he's not very well received.

What I find about American cinema is that the scenarios are similar, the universe does not take me to another world. Even with special effects, if you show piss in 3D, it's still piss.

In short, I don't really have a favorite movie. But I have a tip to share: try to always understand why you loved a movie, what touched you. Two people never feel the same in front of a movie, whether you watch it with your mother or your best friend. The film must be directly for you.


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