CHIFF: a film festival for children currently on in Sydney and in Melbourne

Reading Time: 4 minutes

CHIFF, which stands for Children’s International Film Festival, is on at the Ritz Cinema in Sydney from 24 May to 2 June, and at the Classic Cinemas, Lido Cinemas and Cameo Cinemas in Melbourne from 24 May to 10 June.

Among the films screening at the festival, there are 6 with a French link.


Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion

Difficult to think of a more well-known series for French films that the series of Asterix and Obelix. At the CHIFF, the most recent film, Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion will be screened.


Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the comic book, we see Asterix, Obelix and all of our favourites head off in search of a talented druid to whom they can entrust a secret recipe. But after a fall while picking mistletoe, Getafix, the venerable druid, realises that his reflexes are not what they used to be and he sets off in search of a successor.


With his compatriots Astérix and Obélix by his sides, he will embark on a quest across Gaul to find a druid worthy of knowing the recipe of this magic potion.


Expect to laugh a lot and non-stop action in this timeless story which will amuse both children and the young at heart!



Captain Morten and the Spider Queen

Morten is 10 years old and spends his days building a toy boat and trying to avoid the ire of his little available guardian. The guardian is a former ballerina called Anna, who is charged with looking after him while his father is at sea. Morten hopes to be a captain like his father.


After an unexpected meeting with Señor Cucaracha, an inept magician, Morten finds himself shrunk to insect size and stuck on board his toy boat while the room around him floods.


With a spider Queen and a scorpion pirate already on board, being captain is going to be harder than Morten imagined!



Mia and the White Lion

Friendship is the wildest adventure

When Mia is 10 her life is turned upside down when her famliy decides to leave their London house to go and manage a lion farm in South Africa.


When Charlie, a beautiful little white lion is born, Mia becomes very close to it. Three years later, Mia’s life is again turned upside down when she discovers her father’s disturbing secret.


Distraught at the thought that Charlie could be harmed, Mia decides to run away. The two part on an adventure across the African Savanna to find a place where Charlie can live his life in safety and freedom.



Miniscule: Mandibles from far away

This is a film without dialogue which was made in France.


The rhyme « Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home…» doesn’t take into account how hard it is when you are only half a centimetre long and you’re 6,000 kilometres away from home!


This little ladybug finds itself on a Caribbean island when it is accidentally shipped there in a box of chestnuts. It’s parents embark on an odyssey to find it in a race against time while developpers threaten native habitats on the island.


With the help of a friend sailing to its aid, this troupe of little coloured heros hatch a detailed plan to save a special part of the rainforest.


A crazy adventure starts – seen through insect eyes and made even more impressive by the live action hybrid animation filmed in luxurious Guadeloupe.



Old Boys

The philosophy of the boys at the Caldermount boarding school is “survival of the fittest”. If you’re not a champion on the sportsfield, you’re worthless and a nobody.


No one knows that better than Amberson, bookworm, who has been at the bottom of the social ladder for longer than he remembers.


But even if Amberson is awkward at sports, his imagination comes to the fore when he helps the handsome school hero chase Agnès, the daughter of the visiting French teacher, even though he is quite taken by her himself. Will Amberson have the courage to reveal who he is?


A fresh and vibrant comedy, Old Boys is a modern take on Cyrano de Bergerac’s classic story.



The Little Prince

Big people were once small… but few remember it.


Based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s story, this musical and magical fable starts with a pilot (Richard Kiley) forced to make a landing in the arid Sahara Desert. There he becomes friends with a wandering child who comes from faraway.


Together, the two share amusing, charming and touching encounters. Have you ever gained wisdom from a fox (played by Gene Wilder all in orange)? Or taken care of a rose more special than all the other roses? Or visited a faraway King? Witnesses a snake’s wily dance (Bob Fosse)?


Directed by Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain), this spectacular technicolour musical is a joy for young and old alike.



CHIFF 2019 screening dates and places:



24 May – 2 June

Ritz Cinema Randwick



24 May– 10 June

Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick

June Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn

Cameo Cinemas, Belgrave


How much do tickets cost?

Single tickets cost $12.50.

There is also a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children) for $40.

If you have a group of 10 or more, you can purchase tickets for $10 each – you just need to purchase them at the cinema box office or by email to [email protected] .


You can purchase tickets via the website or by phone on (03) 95247955, (note tickets booked this way attract a $1.50 booking fee).


More information:





What’s your favourite childhood film?

The French Loop: the place for French improv in Melbourne

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The French Loop is a relatively new company offering improv with a major difference: it’s in French! We had a chat to Natacha the company founder and workshop instructor.



Natacha, your company The French Loop offers improv theatre courses in Melbourne for children as well as adults, doesn’t it?

Exactly. I host two classes for the young public from 2 to 10 years of age and a workshop for adults. I also stage classes in different primary schools and French-Australian schools. Children and adults, there is something for everyone. I love working with these two audiences and I strongly believe there is no specific age at which to practice theatre, to the contrary the younger you are the better for personal development and for the older ones, there is no particular moment to learn more about yourself. Finally, we all need improv in our lives.


How, when and why did you start The French Loop?

On the same principal as the construction of improv, who I am, where I am and what is my objective: The French Loop is the beautiful result of years of practice and experience in various backgrounds, schools, associations and theatre troupes gained over more than 10 years. Where, I’ve brought to Melbourne all of this Strasbourgeois experience and my objective is to share this passion with Franco-Australian audiences.


More seriously though, The French Loop was born last year, after my maternity leave, I had a strong desire to launch my own company and to offer my services. Workshops started in January 2019 and since then, I can say that I haven’t been bored!!! I move around a lot and I meet a lot of wonderful people across the various suburbs of Melbourne and it’s through these encounters that I decided to host workshops at various places across Melbourne.


Are you of French origin? When and why did you come to Australia?

I was born in Melbourne and lived here for the first 5 years of my life after which my parents returned to Europe and I grew up in different French cities. I am therefore lucky to have two nationalities.


Four years ago, following a holiday with my husband, we decided to try everything and leave behind our French comforts to embark on an Australian adventure.  We arrived in Melbourne in July 2017 and since then we have lived an extraordinary experience.

Tell us about your personal experiences in theatre or more specifically improv?

One day, my Dad told me to go to a certain place at a certain time. I went and I was welcomed by actors who were starting an improv workshop. I stayed for two hours and mentally I think I never left. I was 13.


I have been practising improv and theatre since I was 13. I have a Masters in Performing Arts and I have always practised acting as well as coaching. Besides, moving to Melbourne, I put one of the notions of improv into practice: getting out of your comfort zone and I don’t regret it at all.


Having just arrived, I went to a gathering of different Australian improv troupes before settling on Impro Melbourne. An Australian troupe which is absolutely magnificent and who opened their arms to me from the beginning and accompanied me on my Australian travels. I still practice improv with them and I am extremely grateful for everything they have brought me both personally and professionally. But practising improv in another language is a difficult challenge so the idea of practising improv in French came to me rapidly. I wanted to perform in my maternal language. I still practice improv in English but I enjoy the French wordplay to much that I don’t think I could be entirely satisfied in the Shakespearean language.


How are your classes different to those provided by other theatre schools in Melbourne?

The French Loop is an improv theatre company. Beyond the large number of improv companies that already exist in Melbourne, our workshops offer a practice of the discipline essentially in the language of Molière.


Our strong point is to promote the French language through the prism of improvisation. Of course there is also a desire to democratise the theatre so as to render it accessible to everyone at affordable prices.


Tell us about your workshops?

The workshops that we offer are on the practice of theatre improvisation according to Keith Johnstone, a great Master of improvisation. I am a fervent admirer of his school and since I practice this discipline I almost only swear by him. I am also inspired by the work of Viola Spolin, who for a long time practised theatrical improv with young audiences before creating an entire discipline. Further, during my studies of Performing Arts, I spent a long time reflecting on the integration of alternative pedagogues, such as those of Maria Montessori and of Célestin Freinet.


I would therefore say that my workshops are the result of all of my years of research and practice of different sources of inspiration. And to be more precise on the content of our workshops, we make a point of transmitting our knowledge through individual goodwill and emancipation. We have a framework for each workshop but this is often put aside according to the dynamic of the group and the desires of each participant. The workshops are built around a warm up, bodily and vocal, and then some games which mix up the let go and cohesion of the group and then a third part of categorised improvisations in order to build upon our work.



Do students need experience before coming to The French Loop?

Absolutely not, I spell out that it is sufficient to simply have the desire to join one of our workshops. Moreover, that’s the richness of the improvisation, each one is in a position to practice without worrying about having prior artistic experience. The workshops help to develop the fundamentals of stage performance and equally the benchmarks of improvisation. We guide each person in their learning of the discipline but also in their personal evolution.


I always say to the most reluctant that theatrical improvisation is made by the people who practice it and that we built scenes together with YOU and with YOU therefore if you accept to come try impro, it’s your inner richness that will bring out your theatrical game. Without meaning to denigrate professional actors, there are already workshops at those higher levels where the competences worked on are adjusted.


Are your workshops only in French and therefore only for those who are fluent in French?

Currently the workshops are only in French, that’s what The French Loop represents: improvisation in French. Maybe in the more distant future, I could offer workshops in English, but I haven’t yet looked at that topic.


Why do you encourage people to sign up for workshops at The French Loop?

Because improvisation is already part of everyday life and like Shakespeare says so well “all the world’s a stage” so doing improv is spending an unforgettable moment with people who you never thought you’d meet and to discover through and in a group.


What are the prices and times etc.?

For adult workshops, we offer a number of packages, starting from a try-out workshop for $20 up to a month of workshops for $80 and two months of workshops for $160.


We meet on Tuesday nights from 7:30 to 9:30pm at the Hub/Docklands, CBD.


For children, there are two regular workshops. There is a class every Tuesday from 4 to 5pm at the Gasworks Arts Center in Albert Park and the price is $25 for children between 5 and 10 years of age. There is also a class of three hours duration every Friday for children between 2 and 5 years of age at North Fitzroy for $65 per session.


Our prices vary depending on the number of weeks according to the terms but we do our best to offer our services at prices that are affordable for all.


How do people sign-up to classes at The French Loop?

It’s easy! To sign up you can contact me via our facebook page or by email to [email protected]. You can also telephone on 0423 890 668. The website is coming soon and will make it even easier.


Anything else?

Thanks Matilda for granting me the time, I am thrilled to be able to share my passion with you.


Who knows, maybe the spirit of an actor is hidden in you! Join the LOOP, the story of French improv in Melbourne starts here, with you.


Have you every done any improv?



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