Description from TIFF 2013 catalog by Thom Powers:

“I’ve always been interested in kids in movies,” writes Mark Cousins in his director’s statement. “They’re often less controllable and controlled than adult actors. Many children in films are, of course, projections of adult concerns but, in some of the best films about kids, and the ones where children have a degree of agency, we can see glimpses of almost natural behaviour, or of ad-libbing for the camera which is playful, fine-grained, fresh.”

A Story of Children and Film goes in search of these precious moments. And no one could be better equipped for the job than Cousins. He and Tilda Swinton created the 8 Foundation dedicated to introducing world cinema to young people; and he directed The First Movie, about kids in Kurdish Iraq. Two years ago at the Festival, he unveiled his fifteen-hour feature The Story of Film: An Odyssey, looking at artistic innovation in cinematic history, a documentary that is essential viewing for movie lovers.

In this new film (a mere 100 minutes), he again samples from a wide range of films such as The 400 BlowsE.T. The Extra- Terrestrial,Fanny and AlexanderLos OlvidadosMirror, and The White Balloon. Rather than proceeding chronologically, he groups scenes by the moods that kids typically express on camera — from shy to grumpy to playful to destructive. Who is the film for? Cousins hopes it will be watched by anyone around age ten or older who likes film. His global reach of fifty-three films from twenty-five countries guarantees you’ll make discoveries, no matter what your age.