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From Dragons, Princesses and Action Heroes to Monsters and Zombies - Children and their Film Preferences (Franziska Matthes)


Albeit films have been an important part of children’s media repertoire since the beginning of cinema, research concerning children’s requirements of and tastes in films is limited. Based on Barth’s (1995) concept of children’s development of film knowledge, the study investigates film preferences of children from the age of six to twelve in four European countries.

To analyse film genre affinity appropriately to children’s conceptual thinking a new scale was developed. The standardized questionnaire focusing on film genre affinity was combined with an open question regarding children’s all-time favourite film in order to locate genre affinity within the spectrum of relevant film characteristics. Results clarify children as critical audiences attaching importance to a variety of film characteristics. Film genre knowledge was used elementary by the children as they have mentioned single figural and narrative genre-specific elements to justify their favourite film as a special one.

Furthermore, the results indicate cross-national distinctions besides the typical differences of film genre preferences because of age and gender.

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