From the ‘naughty Keshu' to the ‘lazy baltiboy', more than 30 young friends from the world of children's films are ‘travelling' to schools across the State through ‘Chitratharangam' - the first travelling children's film festival.

Minister in charge of Kerala Chalachithra Academy K.B. Ganesh Kumar inaugurated the festival at Cotton Hill Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Vazhuthacaud, on Wednesday.

“It is important that children are exposed to good films with cultural and social values as it is one of the most influential medium on today's generation,” the Minister said. He added that a mobile theatre project that would introduce world cinema to school students in villages would soon be implemented.

Organised jointly by the Chalachithra academy, Children's Film Society of India, and the Education Department, the first screening was organised in Thissur, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram simultaneously on Wednesday.

The film festival, said to be the first of its kind, will cover all districts between September 14 and October 14. A mobile van is equipped with all necessary equipment to create a mini-theatre in the schools. Twelve internationally acclaimed films have been chosen for this year's festival.

Films such as Hayat, Sunday, Kabhi Pass Kabhi Fail, Yeh Hai Chakkad Bakkad Bombe Bo, Chota Sipahi and Karamati Coat are part of this year's festival. Two animation movies ‘Sunshine Beery and Disco Worms' and ‘Krish Trish and Baltiboy' will also be screened.

An added attraction will be films Halo and Malli directed by Santosh Sivan.

Speaking to The Hindu, Chairperson of the Children's Film Society of India Nandita Das said debates and discussions could be organised to bring out the creative side of the students and encourage them to use film as a medium for bringing out their talent. “In the case of children, we have to bring the films to the children and introduce them to sensible films,” she added.

The inaugural function was followed by the screening of the Malayalam film titled Keshu directed by Sanjeev Sivan.

The film tells the story of a deaf and dumb boy Keshu, who recognises his talent for painting through his schoolteacher.

Navneeth Namboodhiri, who played the role of Keshu, said it was welcoming to see that children's films were gaining importance through such film festivals and hoped that this trend continued in future.

Films Yeh Hai Chakkad Bakkad Bombe Bo and Hayat will be screened at the following two venues - St.Mary's, Pattom, and SMVHS on September 15 and 16{+.}