Industry Forum

Industry Forum 2020

The Forum will take place online from Monday 19 until Wednesday 21 October

More than 40 experts within the field of global children’s media will share their ideas and tips & tricks with the audience. Find the first announced speakers of the Industry Forum 2020 below.

Spread throughout three days, we created around ten thematical blocks, each divided into two sessions. During the 40-minute sessions, the speakers will talk about the development of their projects, how pitfalls were avoided and how the rights roads were discovered and taken. From diverse backgrounds, these experts will offer their own take on, and experiences within, children's media - from creation to distribution and from research to games. Guests are invited to enter the dialogue and get exclusive insights into these super-creative minds and their working practices. 

Join us online, select your area of interest, and take along a bunch of inspiration!

Nicholas Mirzoeff - keynote 
Nicholas Mirzoeff is a visual activist, working at the intersection of politics, race and global/visual culture. In 2020-21 he is ACLS/Mellon Scholar and Society Fellow in residence at the Magnum Foundation, New York. Among his many publications
, The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) won the Anne Friedberg Award for Innovative Scholarship from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies in 2013. How To See The World was published by Pelican in the UK (2015) and by Basic Books in the US (2016). It has been translated into ten languages and was a New Scientist Top Ten Book of the Year for 2015. The Appearance of Black Lives Matter was published in 2017 as a free e-book and in 2018 as a limited edition print book together with the art project “The Bad Air Smelled Of Roses” by Carl Pope and a poem by Karen Pope. Since the 2017 events in Charlottesville, he has been active in the movement to take down statues commemorating settler colonialism and/or white supremacy and convened the collaborative syllabus All The Monuments Must Fall, fully revised after the 2020 events. He curated “Decolonizing Appearance,” an exhibit at the Center for Art Migration Politics (September 2018-March 2019). A frequent blogger and writer, especially for the art magazine Hyperallergic, his work has appeared in The Nation, the New York Times, Frieze, the Guardian, Time and The New Republic.

Nicholas will talk about what he is seeing in the world today: think whiteness and visual interaction; statues and removal; the question of ‘erasure’.

Alison Gopnik - keynote
Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, where she has taught since 1988. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD from Oxford University. She is a world leader in cognitive science, particularly the study of children’s learning and development. She is the author of over 100 journal articles and several books including the bestselling and critically acclaimed popular books The Scientist in the Crib (William Morrow, 1999), The Philosophical Baby: What children’s minds tell us about love, truth and the meaning of life (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009), and The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the new science of child development tells us about the relationship between parents and children (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2016). She is a fellow of the Cognitive Science Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She writes the Mind and Matter science column for the Wall Street Journal, and she has also written widely about cognitive science and psychology for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Science, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, New Scientist and Slate, among others. She has frequently appeared on TV and radio including “The Charlie Rose Show” “The Colbert Report” and “Radio Lab”. Her TED talk has been seen over 4.2 million times.

Alison will reflect upon what's it really like to see through the eyes of a child? Are babies and young children just empty, irrational vessels to be formed into little adults, until they become the perfect images of ourselves? On the contrary, argues Alison Gopnik.

Akwasi - keynote
Multi-talented Akwasi (full name Akwasi Owusu Ansah), born in Amsterdam with roots in Ghana, is a storyteller at heart. Whether via rap, poetry or by making television programmes, he wants to inspire, fascinate and stimulate. With words. Akwasi is a creative centipede who subscribes to the maxim: rather be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else. He started rapping at the age of fourteen and founded the group Zwart Licht (Black Light) five years later. He owns the record label Neerlands Dope and offers young musical talents the opportunity to grow from regional to national level. Since 2020, the label has been rebranded as NEED Recordings. Akwasi also gives workshops in writing, drama, rap and stage presentations, and takes time to coach children. With his company NEED Vision, he makes authentic and highly original television programmes. His debut was the innovative meditation program for children; ReChill.

Akwasi will talk about the responsibilities of media-makers when it comes to creating for young audiences.

Bero Beyer - pre-keynote 
Bero has been director of the Netherlands Film Fund since 1 March 2020. The Fund’s main task is to stimulate films of unconventional quality that can excel and offer filmmakers space to let their handwriting and cinematographic vision blossom. To this end, it offers support to the development, production and distribution of promising and high-quality cinematographic films by new and experienced film talent and to activities such as festivals and training. Along the intertwined lines of talent development, innovation, internationalization and professionalization, the Fund strengthens Dutch film culture in breadth and depth.
Prior to his position at the Fund, Bero was director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) for five years (2015-2020). From 2013 to 2015, Beyer also worked for the Film Fund as a feature film consultant. Before that, he was involved with his production company Augustus Film in the award-winning feature films Rana's Wedding (Cannes 2002), Paradise Now (2005, nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film) and Atlantic (2014).

Together with Cinekid’s new 2020 director Heleen Rouw, Bero will talk about the changing landscape of the film industry, the role of youth productions and festivals and will present his personal outlook on the future.

The Kissinger Twins
Dawid Marcinkowski and Katarzyna Kifert are award-winning director duo The Kissinger Twins who explore the intersection of narrative and technology. They create campaigns, movies, interactive experiences, cinematic VR, video games and Instagram stories. They have been developing experimental and artistic narrative projects such as the multi award-winning @Sufferosa  (2020) and The Trip  (2013). Their new innovative storytelling project The Portal, with its optimistic outlook on the future, has been specially produced for Instagram in collaboration with the European Commission.

The Kissinger Twins will present The Portal and inspire us on how to tell interesting stories in unexpected ways. How do you explore youth audiences on Instagram? What is the narrative potential on such platforms? And to what extent can you make use of user participation? 

Doortje Smithuijsen
Doortje is a philosopher and journalist. She studies modern people; who they are and how they live. She writes essays and reports for Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, has a fortnightly column in the weekend edition of Trouw and has just finished her first book Gouden Bergen: Portret van de digitale generatie (Portrait of the Digital Generation). In 2019 she made the documentary My Daughter the Vlogger for VPRO. Doortje is currently working on a new documentary about 10 years of Instagram, which will be broadcast in October, just after Cinekid Forum.

Doortje will talk about the pressures experienced by the digital generation, and about the lives of influencers. 

Sandhya Nankani
Sandhya is the founder of Literary Safari, a studio based in New York City that has been creating inclusive kids' media and curricula since 2008 for clients in the education and entertainment space. An award-winning producer, she is also the creator and executive producer of The Story Seeds Podcast, the hit kids and family show that empowers young people's creativity and voices, and the literacy app HangArt which was selected within the Best of 2016 EdTech by Common Sense Media. Born and raised in Ghana, as well as India and the US, Sandhya holds an undergraduate degree in History and a Masters in International and Public Affairs from Columbia University. She is a member of the Education Committee of the Museum of Arts and Design and a founding member of KIDMAP (Kids' Inclusive and Diverse Media Action Project), an interdisciplinary group that has developed best practice toolkits for children’s media producers, in an effort to make products that are more equitable, diverse and inclusive. Her writing has been published by The Lily (Washington Post), The New York Times, Quartz, Ms. Magazine, Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and Toca Boca Magazine, and she has presented at conferences organised by Google EdFoo, Games for Change Festival, OMEP (World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and Care) World Conference, and a UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education. 


She will talk about what media- and filmmakers can do to shape children’s worldview and self-perception.

Wa'qaar A Mirza
Wa'qaar A Mirza is co-founder and global CEO of Safi Ideas and Safi Productions. He is an accomplished British entrepreneur, author, speaker, producer and director with over 30 years’ experience in direct response marketing strategy. Much of his work has been in cultural and religious production with a focus on content working towards greater equality and visibility for marginalised groups. Mirza has produced programmes for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. In 2020 Safi Productions launched Zayn and Zayna’s Little Farm, a pre-school animated show dedicated to seeding inclusive ideas and teachable moments in kindness, mindfulness, family, and community within all children.
Wa'qaar advocates that broadcasters should not play it safe; children should see programs that offer a diverse range of human characters in real-world scenarios to help them identify with the diverse communities around them through communication and creativity. Preschool programming still falls short of that.


Mirza will talk about how we need to move past tokenism, the lack of diversity in children’s programming and the importance of showing broad representation in media to young children.

Steye Hallema
As a composer, director, inventor and son of a magician, Steye tries to create magic with the newest media and technology, putting the audience at the centre of his experiences. A good example is his latest project: The Smartphone Orchestra. An orchestra is created by the phones of the audience members which Steye then uses to tell collaborative stories with the audience instead of to them. Steye studied both music and fine arts at the Royal School for Music, Dance and Art in The Hague (The Netherlands) and was creative lead at the Medialab for Dutch broadcaster VPRO. After this, he worked as creative director for JauntXR EMEA. The VR music video What do we care4, that he made with his band, was nominated for a UK music video award in 2015 (running against Coldplay!) and was a worldwide hit amongst early adopters of virtual reality. Steye’s cinematic VR experience Ashes to Ashes won gold at the Dutch VR Awards and was nominated for The Dutch Oscars. Weltatem - an interactive Virtual Reality Opera game (in which the audience was taught how to sing) - won two Dutch Game Awards. His latest VR production is an international collaboration with France and Belgium and is currently under development. The Imaginary Friend is an accessible and sincere story about a boy who learns to cope with being different. It is a surreal interactive and cinematic Virtual Reality experience in which you, the viewer, are the fantasy of the protagonist. The story is told entirely from your point of view as an imaginary friend.


Steye not only shares this special new project with us, but also the struggles he experienced during the making of it.

Dylan Yamada-Rice
Acting Head of Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art, Dylan is a researcher and artist specialising in play and stories for children. Her research sits at the intersection of experimental design and social sciences, focusing on digital storytelling, games and play on a range of platforms such as apps, augmented and virtual reality, as well as new content for television, all with an emphasis on children’s media. As an artist, she uses drawing, film, photography and virtual reality to explore experimental visual and multimodal methods as part of the research process. In this way, she takes an information experience design approach to include participants in the research process, also to connect data findings [the information] to design and production [the experience].

Dylan will happily share her perspectives with media makers – both academically and artistically

Safi Graauw 
Exploring the balance between understanding brand behaviour and powerful execution, Safi Graauw is a self-taught (creative) director and cinematographer with an academic background in earth sciences. Interweaving a strong narrative and sense of aesthetic in his imagery, his commercial work combines popular culture with pure entertainment. Additionally, his documentary work advocates purpose-led ideologies and intersectional environmentalism. His work for environmental organization Justdiggit was nominated for best film at the Dutch Wildlife Film Festival and he has won at the My Hero International Film Festival in California. His work for the fashion industry was nominated by the Berlin Fashion Film Festival. Safi won the “Jonge Haan” Award of the Dutch Society for Advertising, thus becoming in 2019 the most interesting talent within the Dutch advertising industry. He was named among the 50 most promising talents of the Netherlands in 2020 by Het Financieel Dagblad.

Safi thinks out of the box when it comes to reaching an audience and will inspire the industry with his insights from another discipline. 

Shamira Raphaëla 
Shamira Raphaëla was born on Aruba and studied Media Art in the Netherlands at the AKI (2006). Her first full-length documentary Deal With It (2014) is an intimate portrait of her father and brother and won awards at several international festivals. Her documentary Lenno and the Angelfish won Best European Children’s Documentary at the ECFA in 2019 after picking up the Award for Best Children’s Documentary at IDFA 2018. She also won the Karin de Bok Talent Award with her script-in-development for Downfall of a Superwoman. Her Daddy and the Warlord won the Golden Calf for best short documentary at the Dutch Film Festival 2019. In the same year she made Our  Motherland, a film about Constant Kusters, leader of the extreme right NCE. 

Shamira will talk about the responsibilities you have as a filmmaker, the considerations you must take in to account when dramatizing someone's personal story and how you deal with imposed restrictions from institutions when making your film.  

Jillian Emanuels
Jillian is a mother, an educational consultant, a project coordinator and a trainer. She is an applied psychologist, who specializes in training and coaching children and families. Her expertise lies in developing interventions for this specific target group, and activities in the form of programs, learning modules and workshops. Through her experience of working in youth welfare organisations, schools and families, Jillian came to the realisation that changing one’s behaviour starts with changing one’s mindset. For the last 13 years, Jillian has sought to deepen her knowledge about anti-racism. Over this period  she has organized dialogue evenings and lectures with the New Urban Collective, an organisation that stands for inclusivity within professional education for students from a migrant background. 

She recently developed training for parents and teachers to provide them with the tools to address the topic of racism with children. The training promotes mindset awareness of the widespread prejudices that exist about people from different cultural backgrounds.