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Kids Trendsetter Award: Matthew A. Cherry


Engaging stories for children and families are exciting, entertaining, inspiring and endearing, introducing new worlds, real or imagined. The best ones even let viewers feel like they are walking in their favorite protagonists’ shoes and seeing the world through their eyes.

Children of all races and ethnicities should be able to see characters in their favorite films and TV series that look like them. Numerous channels and platforms are showcasing the work of diverse voices.

There has always been demand for programming that can be enjoyed by children and parents together, perhaps never more so than during this most challenging year, with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

***Image***Academy Award-winning filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry’s animated short film Hair Love ticks all those boxes. It tells the story of an African-American father and his relationship with his young daughter as he struggles and eventually manages to style her hair for the first time. The film’s animation is beautiful and absorbing in its simplicity, the story touching with a moving surprise ending. It offers the perfect viewing experience for kids and families, although millions of adults have also enjoyed the film. Hair Lovemade its theatrical debut in August 2019, opening with The Angry Birds Movie 2. Cherry also wrote an accompanying picture book, which became a New York Times bestseller.

Hair Love won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in February. Since then, HBO Max has announced Young Love; an animated series Cherry is making for the streaming service in partnership with Sony Pictures Animation.

Cherry came to filmmaking in a most unusual way. He played on several NFL teams as a wide receiver. He retired in 2007, wanting to pursue a career in entertainment. He directed music videos, wrote and directed shorts and feature-length films and directed episodes of television series, including The Last O.G., black-ish and mixed-ish.

World Screen, in partnership with Reed MIDEM, is holding its sixth annual Kids Trendsetter Awards this year and will honor Cherry for his contribution to the children’s television business.

He will take part in a keynote session that will be released on Wednesday, October 14, at 6:00 p.m. CET on MIPCOM Online+. World Screen’s group editorial director, Anna Carugati, will moderate a one-on-one conversation that will focus on Cherry’s passion project, Hair Love, the upcoming Young Love and serving children in today’s world. The keynote will be available on demand on MIPCOM Online+ until November 17, 2020.

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