Filmclub – bringing the power of cinema into your classroom

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More and more teachers are hearing about Filmclub now they have been distributing promotional material in the TES and Teachers magazine.  I found out about it by chance and can thoroughly recommend it to others.

As part of the sign-up process you are asked to attend a short induction session.  Whilst the content of this session could easily be distributed on a DVD, I came away from the session feeling enthused and motivated to introduce Filmclub in my own school and make it work.  As well as discussing the technical details of the club (ordering films, registering on the website etc.) we discussed our favourite films and the effects they have had on our lives.  Whilst I didn’t appreciate the importance of this session straight away, it soon became apparent when Filmclub was up and running in my school and students were being asked to review movies they had seen.

So what does being a member of Filmclub involve?

  • Filmclub cover the cost of licensing movies to show in your school, and also provide you with a selection of films that you can order into school (distributed through Lovefilm).
  • You are expected to show a film a week out of school hours (evenings work best, lunchtimes aren’t long enough)
  • Students are asked to reflect on the film and write a short review (with a star rating) which appears on their website (see below)
  • Filmclub provide an excellent and pupil/school friendly website which both leaders and students can use.  Leaders order films through the sites, can see movie requests and reviews from their students, and can put up announcements about upcoming films.  Students can read about upcoming screenings at the school, they can leave reviews (either just a star rating or a full review) and can request movies they would like to see (although the requests tend to be movies that they have seen before rather than something different).

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  • Filmclub provide promotional materials (wipe-clean advertising posters, lanyards and ID tags) to use in your own school.
  • The possibility of receiving funding to support your film club, and possible speakers/visitors into your school.

My experience to date.

I initially launched film club through a school assembly and instantly grabbed the attention of both staff and students, all of whom were eager to share their favourite movies together with a reason.  The Filmclub-supplied “Power of Film” montage was enjoyed by all, and many students were eager to participate.

Students were keen to be part of the Filmclub and the website helps keep the interest between sessions (login reminders are written on member’s ID cards and clipped onto their lanyards).  Students have watched two films after school so far and interest keeps growing as word gets around.  After each film we have a discussion about the film, what we liked about it and why.  We also meet one lunchtime a week where we can watch the ends of films (when we ran out of time) and also review films shown (and upload some of these onto the website).

Less able students enjoy filming video reviews (using flip video cameras or similar), recording audio reviews (using TTS Easi-speak recorders) or simply photographing each other holding up comment cards.  These are shown on our school-wide TV system.

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I’ve tried to choose movies that students wouldn’t have seen before, and have let myself be guided by the “Filmclub recommends” section on the website.  It is also possible to search for films by theme (e.g. bullying), by age range or by other criteria.

Students have been very positive about our film club and I get asked questions about upcoming films several times a week.  There are films suitable for all ages (even some with a 15 certificate) and I would imagine students from primary, secondary and special education being equally enthused by this scheme.

What next?

As well as showing movies to students, we have a few ideas of what else we can do with our film club.

  • Joint parent/student screenings – to get parents into school and talking to staff
  • Induction of new students – getting year 6 students in from our feeder school for a shared screening, helping familiarise them with some of students and premises.
  • Oscars event – complete with red carpet and paparazzi outside, as part of an awards or celebration event.
  • Linking films to special events at school – e.g. book day, poetry day, anti-bullying week

Do you run a film club at your school?  Do you have any ideas of how we can expand film club to a wider audience or involve parents?

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Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.

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2 Comments

  1. I've been running a school Film Club since last November and the children really enjoy it. I shared my initial experiences on my blog at:http://www.mrwarner.com/2009/11/starting-a-scho…Since writing that post, we've managed to get some money from Film Club to buy bean bags and cushions. We're also having the 'Film Club on the Road' experience come to the school soon… where the Film Club team bring down their truck with bean bags / projector / sound system etc. and take over the school hall. We can't wait!

  2. Having seen some clips of the film experiences that Filmclub bring it should be a good day! Somehow I missed your original post (I've resubscribed to your blog) – it is good to see children enjoying and celebrating some excellent films. I'd be interested to see if established film clubs have managed to use the films they watch to enhance the curriculum (e.g. creative writing, science week) and any other success stories. Be sure to let us know how your “Film Club on the Road” experience goes! I'm hoping that FilmClub won't be adversely affected by the cuts to the DCSF after-school club funding – fingers crossed.

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