The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Saturday Morning at the Pictures – the Children’s Film Foundation DVDs

CMF is collaborating on a number of archive initiatives, as maintaining the history and increasing the understanding and appreciation of children’s media is important to us.

Anna Home, CMF Chair, brings news of the release of some archive gems on DVD…

CMF is keen to see more information available to the public and easier access to the archives, and we work closely with other interested bodies, like the British Film Institute, to achieve this.  September 2014 brings another success story.

As a successor organisation to the Children’s Film Foundation, the CMF owns the CFF archive of films made between the 1950s and 1970s. This is managed and distributed on our behalf by the BFI, which is gradually re-issuing collections of these films on DVD, transferred to HD from the best of the film materials they hold in their National Archive.

The fourth collection was released and well received in the spring. Runaways contained: ‘Johnny on the Run’, ‘Hide and Seek’ and ‘Terry on the Fence’ (based on a book by CMF supporter Bernard Ashley). The three films feature child runaways in different situations and facing different dilemmas. Like all CFF films they are child-centric, contain both drama and comedy and give the audience something to think about as well. The child actors are the stars, and despite their somewhat old fashioned diction, they’re realistic and convincing. Often these kids went on to be grown up stars too, like Gary Kemp in ‘Hide and Seek’, and Michael Crawford in ‘Soap Box Derby’, an earlier CFF release.

The next DVD, due to be launched in September 2014, is Outer Space.It features ‘Kadoyng’, ‘Supersonic Saucer’, and ‘The Glitterball’.

‘The Glitterball’, directed by Harley Cokeless, was one of the Foundation’s most popular films in later days. It is about a boy who makes friends with an alien from outer space. (Some see is as a precursor to E.T.) It will be screened at the Scalarama Festival alongside ‘The Boy Who Turned Yellow’ which was made for the CFF by the distinguished filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. ‘The Glitterball’ will also be shown in schools this autumn as part of the BFI/Into Film Sci Fi project.

You can order the Outer Space collection on the BFI Website.

It’s great to see these films being brought to a new audience and being used to teach both film and social history. Details of all the CFF films so far released and how to buy them can be found on the BFI website.

The BFI has also just released two discs of another kids’ sci-fi classic, also available to pre-order on its website. ‘The Changes’, based on a futuristic trilogy by Peter Dickinson, was broadcast by the BBC in 1975 and adapted and produced by Anna Home.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)