Empowering Imagination

PLAY is a film festival entirely dedicated to the youngest, a territory for discussion in the field of cinema and pedagogy, for cultural enrichment, aimed at a specific audience, creating a fruitful dialogue between international and Portuguese initiatives in the filed of cinema. 

The festival takes place every February in Lisbon (São Jorge Cinema and Cinemateca Jr venues) and it is followed by an average of 15 multiple decentralised actions all around Portugal. The festival programme proposes over 140 films in short, medium, or long feature formats, produced in different countries favouring new ways of seeing the world and the art of cinema. There are 9 days full of films entirely dedicated to the youngest, up to the age of 16. Offering a week full of films, music, talks and workshops.

In 2023 Play embarked on a mission to promote and empower children’s films in Portugal, by creating the PLAY PRO section with meetings for professionals and the Laboratory Competition.

PLAY Festival and its year-long activities have a national geographic coverage. Some of the activities under the action are specifically targeting the parents and/or the teachers in order to provide them with tools for using cinema in their everyday interaction with the youngest generation.

The relevance of this project is based on the idea that the experience of cinema is a door to the world leading to the discovery of other realities, and allowing the creation of a fruitful and direct dialogue between Cinema and the younger generation. It is a territory of leisure, education, and cultural enrichment, based on the assumption of film as an instrument for experiencing new realities, entertaining by learning to think and to see. Therefore, the proposed project activities are designed following the four principles:

HIGH QUALITY of the films and of the complementary events. Relevance of the content to suit different age groups.

DIVERSITY – Films from around the world that portray different realities. Different genres and aesthetics.

INCLUSION – A festival accessible for all.

LITERACY – Strengthen decoding skills, understanding, and critical sense.

The “PLAY festival” concept was born in 2013 when three women from the field of design, education, and cinema made a crowdfunding campaign to organize a film festival for children. Their main motivation was to provide the youngest audience with easy access to diversified cinema content and help them discover the world of films and benefit from its educational value.