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Amsterdam-based Cinekid Festival Opens with Beta Film’s ‘Benjamin Bat’

Cinekid Festival, touted as the world’s largest festival for children’s film and media, opens October 20 at Pathé Amsterdam Noord with Beta Film’s “Benjamin Bat,” an animated musical adventure pic about a bat with nyctophobia.

“Benjamin Bat” follows a timid bat whose fear of the dark (aka nyctophobia), makes him an oddity among his peers. They find his sensitivity and love for singing, an activity reserved for their bird enemies, baffling. Everything changes when Benjamin meets Sherida, a tropical songbird. To save her and embrace his true self, Benjamin must summon all his courage.

Produced by Storytellers Film & TV (producers Errol Nayci and Julia Ton) and Zeilt Productions (co-producer Laurent Witz), in collaboration with il Luster, the 76-minute toon is directed by Patrick Raats and Sarah Sutter from a screenplay by Karen van Holst Pellekaan, based on a story she co-created with Errol Nayci.  

Dutch public broadcaster Avrotros co-produces the toon, which was crafted by animation teams in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Beta Film handles international sales.

Said Heleen Rouw, Cinekid Festival director: “’Benjamin Bat’ is a true Cinekid film; Benjamin chooses his own path with his unique style. Everyone is welcome in this film, an important message in these times when individuality is key, and we are often at odds with each other rather than with each other. It’s an eye-catching Dutch animated film with international appeal.”

Describing “Benjamin Bat” as a partly 3D-animated feature with painted backgrounds, Claudia Schmitt, head of Kids & Family Entertainment, Beta Film, remarked: “It is a beautiful story about facing your fears, standing up for yourself, even against those closest to you, and how family is more than the blood we share.”

“Benjamin Bat” will be released in Benelux on Oct 23 by Dutch distributor, September Film. The toon was made possible with the backing of the Netherlands Film Fund, Netherlands Production Incentive, CoBO, Luxembourg Film Fund, and Creative Europe Media.

Now on its 38th edition, Cinekid is held during the autumn holidays from Oct. 19 to Nov. 3 in cinemas across the Netherlands, with its base in Amsterdam-Noord. Aside from premieres of films and series, it organizes daily master classes and workshops among its many activities.

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