Film in the Forest: an expat’s idea uniting families in Aarhus

Katharine Simpson is the Scottish mother, wife and entrepreneur behind the idea of the first film festival for children created in the city of Aarhus: Film in the Forest. A unique venue joining the exclusive calendar of events of Aarhus 2017 and taking place in the beautiful forest of Risskov the coming 12th and 13th of May.

More than films

Film i Skoven, original name in Danish, is an idea that has been cultivated for the last 2 years with the aim of enabling young audiences to get to know, from different perspectives, the lives of others and the richness of many cultures worldwide though films.

The novelty of this event can be evidenced in the way it breaks down the stereotypes of more adult film festivals by offering the assistants a whole different set up in the middle of one of the most beloved and iconic places of the city, the Risskov forest located in northern Aarhus.

With a very broad number of activities Film i Skoven expects to share with nearly 2500 families and children a rich number of selected films, documentaries and animations throughout the weekend. “The assistants can expect to experience these days more like a musical festival. There will be tents showing the selected films, at the time there is music around, creative and active workshops happening all the time, organized play in the forest, book readings, food stalls and much more” states Katherine, organizer of this event.

The festival will include a great variety of international films. All of them will have Danish subtitles, however is worth noting that many of them will be non-verbal enabling the international audience to fully participate in the festival. The films will vary in their length from 25 mins short stories, to 45 mins documentaries or full length movies.

The entrance to the public is the 12th and 13th of May, before these dates only educational institutions will enter.  Tickets for the event are sold through the official website and will be also available at the entrance of the event. Note that children 2 years old and under are for free and that family or day packages are available.

The experience, the vision, the idea

Katharine Simpson arrived to Aarhus, Denmark 5 years ago as the spouse of a new international worker in one of the most recognized Danish firms. Before taking the decision to leave her home country and began a new adventure abroad, Katharine was the responsible of Scotland’s Children and Youth Film Festival during three editions, a job she described herself as ‘the dreamed job’.

Once in Denmark, and facing the natural challenges many others do when finding a job and continuing their careers here, she had a magnificent opportunity to join a Nordic documentary organization, for which she worked during the last 4 and a half years.

Katharine explains, “Film i Skoven didn’t began before mainly because at the time we arrived I had no professional network and I didn’t had a stablished network that allowed me to meet families”, in other words the structure to create a family film festival was not in place. Today after 5 years in the country, she managed to create both of these networks enabling her to move forward into more entrepreneurial grounds.

After obtaining the support of Aarhus 2017, Film i Skoven became a reality. The response of everyone involved was always very positive and a film festival “where children and families didn’t feel intimidated to assist and wasn’t complicated” was on its way.

Today, Katharine expects a massive participation to this event that will hopefully become an annual tradition in the forest of Aarhus.

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