Case Study: Arts and Media School Islington

Teacher Martina Attille discusses how film club can promote diversity and inclusion among young people.

Martina Attille, Arts and Media School Islington
Martina Attille, Arts and Media School Islington

Arts and Media School, Islington (AMSI) Film Club has met weekly during the spring and summer terms, over the past three years. AMSI is a multicultural, multi-faith school with some economic diversity. The experience of Into Film Club helps to break down social barriers across tutor groups and gender. The club is a space where Key Stage 3 students can meet for the first time and continue to work together, towards a common purpose.

Film club screenings are a good way for the whole school community to access the Into Film offer. In addition, video production and the development of students' production skills highlight the valuable contribution made by film and storytelling to maintaining an inclusive and thoughtful school environment.

Into Film's resources, accessed by AMSI Film Club, include the behind the scenes industry interaction programme, and See It Make It filmmaking initiative. These are just two of the many unique opportunities for young people to engage with the film industry and with film industry personnel. KS4 students have benefited from a visit by filmmaker Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy) who spoke directly to Y11 GCSE Media Studies students, to bring up-to-date their knowledge of how digital communication has changed film advertising and promotion. Y10 Media Studies students were given informed insight into issues surrounding representations of sexuality in the media by Rikki Beadle Blair, director of Fit, and Samuel Hopcroft, from LGBT charity Stonewall, who gave a presentation and answered questions raised by the students.

Over one KS3 cycle form Year 7 to Year 9, the AMSI Film Club challenge has been to develop production skills and to tell stories that are meaningful and relevant to the school community. Through a series of filmmaking workshops we devised, students embraced their roles and responsibilities and shared critical feedback throughout. The See It, Make It model, with its formal guidelines, has been a unifying concept for setting goals that club members can commit to and achieve. As a consequence, filmmaking skills have improved. Club members recognise and value the craft of filmmaking and the discipline of planning and working as a team.

Watching films has offered students an opportunity to experience film narratives set beyond the blockbuster context that usually pulls in large numbers for screenings. The Way Home (d. Jeong-Hyang Lee, 2002), set in South Korea, was the first foreign language film screened by the club, and was warmly received.

One significant outcome of AMSI Film Club's production activity has been the club's enthusiasm for using non-English dialogue in their work, leading to the production of Ghost (2017), the club's first silent movie, subtitled using emojis. A wonderful outcome, because there are more than 50 languages spoken in the school, so it was a creative engagement with inclusivity.

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