In 2009, ASTRA FILM created ASTRA FILM JUNIOR, an education program dedicated to children, out of the necessity of an education through image, not very present in Romania, and the desire of offering a high-quality program as an alternative to the television shows who aim to transform the audience into "becoming what they see". ASTRA FILM was offering a national premiere: ASTRA FILM JUNIOR, a documentary program dedicated to children.
In 2010, we have broadened the scope of this program to include high school students, who gave a positive response to our initiative. Proof of this fact? Over 10000 students from the whole county of Sibiu took part in the first two editions of AFJ. Thus, ASTRA FILM JUNIOR became a festival in its own right.
The Astra Film Junior 2010 program had two stages: the Animated Film Workshop taking place between the 6th and the 11th of September, and the documentary film screenings for elementary school and high school students between the 13th and the 15th of October.
ASTRA FIM JUNIOR 2011 offered a complex program:
- a pilot project destined to kindergarten pupils;
- for elementary school students, the screening of two successful documentary series: "Good Morning, World" (discovering new cultures and civilisations) and "How It's Made" (discovering how everyday household items are made), in addition to a contest for drawings inspired by the screened films, with awards consisting of educational books offered by Corint Junior Publishing House.
- for high school students, the presentation of the Discovery's "Anyone Can Be a Hero" Campaign, by Mrs. Ada Roseti, , Channel Director South-East Europe; the screening of a film presenting Summerhill, an unusual school in England where the children's emotional development comes first, and lessons come second; this screening was followed by a Q&A session on the topic of "the ideal school", moderated by Răzvan Pop
Following the AFJ 2011 program's success, ASTRA FILM JUNIOR became one of the major extracurricular educational activities. The AFJ project was required to run nationally in April 2012, within the "Different School" national program, in Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi (with all the French Institutes in the country as co-organizers in these cities) and Deva.
The IVth edition of the Documentary Film Festival for children and teenagers, ASTRA FILM JUNIOR, awarded at the Civic Society Gala, Section Education, Teaching, Research, took place between October 15th and 21st 2012.
ASTRA FILM JUNIOR 2012 had new educative dimensions than the last editions. Besides visual, cinematographical and cultural education, at AFJ 2012, the students experienced ecological education through documentary film. The participants achieved primary notions about men’s interaction with the environment and about how water problems occur and can be solved globally.
ASTRA FILM JUNIOR is the only program for visual education through film in Romania dedicated to children and teenagers.
Until now, we have held four successful editions, with an overall participation of tens of thousands of students.