The Award winning Into Film Club Coleg Sir Gar, a further education College in Cardiff is predominantly run by the young club members; empowering them to develop skills and further enhancing their confidence and abilities, subsequently supporting them once they move onto further education or the workplace.
Our Into Film Club has been running for four years and has over 50 members with wide-ranging abilities. The club members take responsibility for the programming of the club themselves through a committee, which has taught them project management and organisational skills. Films screened during film club are chosen based upon their relevance to the student's work and upcoming projects. Challenging titles such as Ida, I, Daniel Blake and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night have been screened to encourage debate and analysis, and this has significantly enhanced literacy development, increasing learners' confidence and impacting them in life altering ways, "We watched A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night at that has changed my life", explains one of the club members.
Alongside screening the films carefully curated by Into Film, we regularly review them in groups using various learning techniques. We do this with students ranging from level one with different degrees of learning support needs, to level three students with well-developed literacy skills. Not only do the students develop their creative writing skills and analytical thinking, they also learn about filmmaking techniques and cinematography, which gives them confidence during filmmaking activities; another area of our film club the young people really enjoy.
Filmmaking is a popular activity, and the students produce anything from fictional, factual and animation-based content. Many are sufficiently confident to share their practical skills in a more formal setting and have delivered filmmaking and animation workshops for pupils at local schools as part of their Welsh Baccalaureate Community Challenge, which was a great success.
Other students are responsible for the digital members' magazine, produced each term, which contains film reviews, club news and links to trailers for forthcoming films. We've also started setting up a group who create social media content; sharing information about our club, Into Film and other filmmaking opportunities for young people in our area. We want to get as many other young people involved with Into Film as possible, perhaps setting up their own film club so they can see the benefits too.
It's hard to summarise how much of a change we've seen in our pupils in the last four years since the beginning of our film club, but some of the projects we've been involved in and awards we have won along the way can certainly speak for themselves. The club members take it upon themselves to enter competitions and were successful in winning Into Film's Film of the Month competition last year; their short film subsequently earned them a gold medal in the Welsh government's Inspiring Skill Excellence in Wales project.
We also won an award for 'Into Film Club of the Year: 13 and Over' in the 2018 Into Film Awards. Myself and a group of club members attended the ceremony in London which they really enjoyed and it reignited a desire in them to grow their creativity and learn more about filmmaking so they can continue to produce films about topics they're passionate about. Our film club has also been given many exciting opportunities and attended events such as a BAFTA masterclass with Amma Asante and a hugely inspiring talk with Rhys Ifans. Something we wouldn't have had access to otherwise, and can hugely help the young people on their path to the world of work or further studies.
Starting an Into Film Club is an invaluable opportunity for any 5-19 year old and their teacher, and provides countless benefits. It really is for me the most powerful tool that we have in our curriculum, and the students would be lost without it.
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