Award-winning director Baroness Beeban Kidron will deliver the Creative Keynote at this year’s Children’s Media Conference (CMC), which will take place from 3-5 July in Sheffield.
Taking to the stage on Wednesday 4 July, the Founder and Chair of 5Rights Foundation and Co-Founder of education charity Into Film, will discuss her creative journey from producer to peer, from content creator to campaigner.
In her 35 years as a screen director, Beeban Kidron has successfully navigated between pop culture hits like ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’, piercing documentaries like ‘InRealLife’, and taboo-breaking stories, such as BAFTA-winning TV drama ‘Oranges are Not the Only Fruit’. She is passionate about the role stories can play in the development of young people’s identities and their sense of what it is to be human.
“I left school when I was 16. I did not understand school and it did not understand me. But I did grow up in a world of books and a world of stories,” said Beeban.
Starting out as a photographer, including two years working for Eve Arnold, she trained at the National Film School – first to be a camera woman, then switching to directing. At a time when male-dominance across the industry went largely unchallenged, she carved out a career heading up major projects in TV and film, working in the UK and Hollywood.
Greg Childs, Editorial Director at CMC said, “Beeban Kidron has been a long-time friend and supporter of CMC and taken a keen interest in what the children’s media industry is doing to enhance the lives of kids. Equally she has been a fierce but reasoned critic about the way in which the internet is impacting on kids and teens. Her 5Rights campaign now seems timelier than ever, with the increasing focus on social media platforms’ policies and parents’ concerns about what their kids are doing and seeing online. As governments talk about taking action, Beeban will bring us back to the power of story in developing young people’s identities and how we can change the narrative.”
Alongside building a body of creative work, Beeban has also played a major role in helping to enrich the cultural experiences of children across the UK and ensure their safety in the digital world.
She is the co-founder of educational charity IntoFilm, enabling schools nationwide to run curated film clubs for 5-18-year-olds, and encouraging post-movie discussions. IntoFilm now has more than 10,000 clubs in UK schools.
Beeban also founded 5Rights, a campaign to deliver the established rights of children in all interactions with the digital world. In 2012, she was appointed to the House of Lords, where she sits as a Crossbench Peer, and is a member of the House of Lords Communications Committee. Baroness Kidron is a Commissioner on the UN Broadband Committee for Sustainable Development where she chairs a program for global digital literacy, and she is a fierce campaigner for children’s rights in the digital environment.
In her compelling TED Talk ‘The Shared Wonder of Film’, Beeban spoke of the power of movies where story, not sensation, is king; how when children are given films with stories that inspire and challenge them, rather than seeing the films as artefacts, they begin to see themselves.
Baroness Kidron’s keynote comes as part of this year’s wider conference theme of ‘What’s Next?’. CMC aims to bring relevant, challenging and inspiring content that showcases and celebrates the diversity of people, ideas and approaches looking at what the future holds for children’s media.
The conference, now in its 15th year, expects to welcome more than 1,100 delegates, kicking off with the annual market day, the CMC International Exchange on July 3. The conference aims to bring together IP owners, producers, writers, interactive media specialists and service providers from the UK with broadcasters, distributors and funding agencies, and producers seeking co-production potential from around the world.