Frankie's journey to being crowned Reviewer of the Year

12 Jun 2019 BY Paul Scowcroft

8 mins
Winner Frankie with Radzi, director Michael Pearce & critic Rhianna Dhillon
Winner Frankie with Radzi, director Michael Pearce & critic Rhianna Dhillon

Frankie (12) from Bridge Integrated Primary School in Northern Ireland has enjoyed a truly incredible journey in the last few years, going from a quiet but committed member of his Into Film Club to a triple nominee at the 2019 Into Film Awards - one for Into Film Club Member of the Year, one for his club's film The Time Trike and Reviewer of the Year, for which he won. 

Below, his teacher Paul Scowcroft documents the passion and hard work that went into his path to the awards podium.

On 15 September 2016 a quiet nine-year-old walked into my classroom for the first film club of the year. 

Zootropolis was the opening movie and Frankie was looking forward to it. He sat quietly in the corner of the room and afterwards, he posted a two-line review saying how much he enjoyed his first movie to the Into Film website. Little did anyone know where this journey would lead.

Frankie attended nearly every week for the next three years. He was always very polite and never made a fuss. Occasionally he would participate in our discussions but more importantly he would listen. Every week we would try to focus on elements of filmmaking whilst also making the children aware of the actors, directors and actresses that we were watching.

Frankie's baptism into our film club coincided with Into Film Northern Ireland's Film Buff Challenge where he watched a variety of movies of different genres from around the world. Paper PlanesZarafaAkeelah and the BeeLabyrinthKing Kong and The Red Balloon were all viewed and it was here that Frankie began developing his own opinions on what makes a good movie. It was also around this time that Chris Hewitt from Empire Magazine visited our film club to tell the children about his career and how many stars he had interviewed.

My reason for starting an Into Film Club in school was to share my love of film. However, it soon became apparent that a film club could also benefit the development of students in literacy. Film is not dependent on reading ages or the ability to spell but allows children who wouldn't normally be able to access stories the opportunity to participate. With Frankie it offered an avenue to channel his ability and gave him the confidence to talk openly in front of others, both in our film club and in the classroom.

It has given him such a boost. Each year we've seen his confidence grow thanks to the support, encouragement and nurturing that the school provides. He's a different boy to the one who joined the film club in P5.

Frankie's mother, Marbeth on the positive impact of the Into Film Club and his Award nominations

As Frankie progressed through P5 towards P6 he began to develop his own style of reviewing. Two sentences became a paragraph and opinions were increasingly backed up by his own credible reasoning. In his early reviews he spoke of his dislike for silent movies or pictures with very little talking and he dismissed black and white movies as not being for him. However, The Red TurtleSome Like it Hot and A Matter of Life and Death changed his views.

A visit to the 2017 Into Film Awards really opened his eyes to where his talent could take him. Our film club had been nominated for Into Film Club of the Year and Frankie came along as he was one of our leading reviewers.

It was here that Frankie realised it was possible to win an award for simply giving an opinion on a film. On his return from the awards we found out that he had won Review of the Week for his Coco review. This kickstarted a dramatic change in the volume of his reviews. Frankie would review movies after family visits to the cinema eager to share his knowledge and opinions with those who logged in to the website. His reviews became longer and longer and brimmed with detail about the style of movies, particular directors and their previous attempts as well as linking movies to their original source material.

Two further Reviews of the Week awards arrived for his work on He Named Me Malala and Pirates of the Caribbean. It was now that his effect on our club members became apparent, and his peers' reviews began to increase in both size and substance as well.

Frankie's development at school increased immeasurably, his confidence took huge leaps and he involved himself in prominent roles in the School Council and in The Anti-Bullying Alliance Groups within school. The quiet boy who entered my classroom 3 years ago is now just a distant memory and he has become in his own way another 'Star of the County Down.'

I was gobsmacked and very shocked. I had looked at the program and read the bios of the nominees and thought I was never going to win. It felt so amazing because it was the one thing I aimed for during the whole year.

Frankie on winning Reviewer of the Year at the 2019 Into Film Awards

Entries are open for the 2020 Into Film Awards until 6 December and can be submitted through the link below. Representatives from Into Film will independently judge Reviewer of the Year, sourced from the winners of our Review of the Week competition, so make sure to start submitting your reviews now!

Paul Scowcroft

Paul Scowcroft, Teacher and film club leader, Bridge End Primary School, Banbridge, Northern Ireland

Paul Scowcroft is a Primary School Teacher at Bridge Integrated Primary School and has run a film club for the past six years.
Originally from South London, Paul has overseen his clubs development from a purely Film Reviewing Club to one that mixes production with film appreciation
In 2017 his film club was the first one in the UK to achieve Platinum Film Buff Status. Paul is an Into Film Ambassador for Into Film NI.

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