After much anticipation, Ajyal’s Family Weekend finally got off to a start yesterday! The interactive and creative environment invites children and parents alike to get into the spirit of youth-focused cinema. Families can gain insight into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ experience of filmmaking, with events and workshops taking place in a host of Festival tents along the Esplanade at Katara . DFI writer Alexander Wood and Super-Volunteer Aoife O’mullane ventured into the heart of Family Weekend to join in the fun. The following true events took place between 2:06 and 4:33 PM:
AW: It has only been six minutes since Family Weekend kicked off and copious amounts of kids on candy and adults trying to deny their true age have been let loose on the Esplanade.
AO: Alex you can’t talk, you’ve just had your face painted.
AW: It’s an editorial, not a TV interview, nobody needs to know that. Besides, dinosaurs are the coolest animals ever.
AO: Not as cool as Spider-Man on a Ferrari bike.
AW: For your information, that bike had training wheels and can travel at breakneck speed. That little Spidey-stuntman nearly ran me down.
AO: Yes, he was just one of the many fierce action heroes emerging from the face-painting tent on the Esplanade, which is one of the most exciting features of the Family Weekend!
AW: My vote was for the rollerblading fire goblin. He not only had style, but he had talent.
AO: Speaking of talent, those kids were dominating the dancing game at the Fifty One East and Sony Gaming Tent. Those girls could give Selena Gomez a run for her money!
AW: I can’t believe you said you could ‘take them on’, but the world has yet to experience these ultimate dance moves of yours.
AO: The world is not ready.
AW: Did you notice that the new PlayStation looks like a hi-tech slice of space pizza?
AO: I was too busy checking out the Gran Turismo driving simulator. I found it amusing that three poor kids were squeezed into one, while Dad was leisurely driving around the track on the other, refusing to get off so we could play. The family weekend really does bring the whole family together, as long as Dad is the one driving.
AW: After walking the Esplanade, I’d now like to think I’m a local celebrity.
AO: Well according to our little movie poster you are! We were, perhaps, the biggest kids in the make your own movie poster tent.
AW: Yeah, they had to adjust the camera so our heads weren’t cut off.
AO: What about the poor kid who ended up with a floating head in his? Green screen technology doesn’t quite work when you wear a green shirt! Another Family Weekend event that really strengthened our stardom was the sound effects and movie-dubbing tent.
AW: I always wanted to be the voice of a time-travelling animated dragon. I’m finally reaching my full potential. I can’t believe we get paid for this. Well, you don’t.
AO: At least I got a cool free t-shirt. Volunteers unite!
AW: No, I’m just kidding, you guys are great. Well, it wasn’t all the fun and games, we learned something too.
AO: Yeah the QMA tent was pretty interesting. They run a workshop to educate families on the early history of animation. The kids can also create a number of crafts to illustrate the basic ideas behind animation productions.
AW: And we got to make Zamotropes.
AO: Alex, I’m pretty sure it’s a Zoetrope.
AW: It’s a Zenotrope.
AO: Alex, it’s a Zoetrope.
AW: Well at least my Zanotrope didn’t fall apart. Moving on from tropes, did you check out the traditional performances on the Esplanade stage?
AO: Yes I did. The Japanese Fan Dancers looked amazing in their colourful kimonos. There are more exciting shows taking place on Saturday from both local and international artists and performers.
AW: More exciting than the kid in the hosen, sword fighting with his Dad and brother?
AO: More exciting than Lady Thor?
AW: More exciting than the ‘Star Wars’ family?
AO: Baby Yoda was the highlight of my day. Where on earth did they find baby Yoda ears? They have my vote in the Cosplay Competition. I felt the force.
AW: (Yoda voice) Save the universe he must. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I don’t think people us would believe.
AO: We have our print outs from The Black Box for proof!
AW: It was as easy as hash-tagging your snaps on Instagram with ‘#Ajyal13’ and heading over to Building 5 to collect the awesome Festival memories.
Aoife: Now to head to the stunt zone to make some more! I hope you’re ready to learn some ‘Matrix’ moves from professional stuntman Zed Korschoonoff?
Alex: Bring it, Mr. Anderson.