The idea of watching a Finnish film on the big screen fascinated these children from Finland, who came to the city as infants. “They have been telling each other that we can watch Ricky Rapper after school,” said Mari Kontio from Finland who brought her children to watch the movie ‘Ricky Rapper and the Bicycle Thief'.

The family was among the many expatriates present at the European Union Sanskriti Film Festival, featuring an array of children's movies, that got began here on Wednesday.

Ms. Kontio's eight-year-old daughter Iida had already narrated to her younger sister Roosa how the central character Ricky Rapper embarks on an adventure with his friend Nelly Noodles. “Often we ask people who visit Finland to bring back movie CDs or we download them from the internet. But they have been very excited about this,” said Tiia Vaataja who brought her children along.

The festival, which will be on till January 21, would feature 13 children's movies made in different countries that are member States of the European Union. The festival is being organised by the Embassies of the member States of the European Union and the Indo-Cine Appreciation Foundation (ICAF). Finnish Ambassador Terhi Hakala, who inaugurated the festival, said: “The festival will help children experience the music, culture and film tradition of the different countries in the European Union.”

Screening of movies is a cultural experience and will reach many people in Chennai, said Karl Pechatscheck, director, Goethe Institut, Chennai. “Films for children are always intriguing as it is very difficult to hold their attention. But often, what children like represents the taste of a larger audience, as they do not wear the mask of an intellectual. If children like it the rest of the audience will like it too,” said actor Suhasini Maniratnam. Malaysian actor Haanii and ICAF president S. Kannan were present.

The movie screenings from Thursday will be at the Devi Sridevi Preview Theatre.