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We're pleased to announce that our Film of the Month winner for September 2017 is Be Unique, a film made by a group of young filmmakers aged 9-11 from John Clare Primary School in Helpston, Cambridgeshire.
Engaging for those aged 7+, Be Unique is the story of two curious students who discover the shocking secret that their school is run by an oppressive regime in this celebration of being true to yourself.
With the whole school involved, Be Unique turns a great idea into a well-developed narrative in this day-in-the-life of a ‘perfect' school.Film of the Month judge on 'Be Unique'
We got in touch with the eight young filmmakers at John Clare Primary School who made Be Unique to find out more about their winning film.
How old are you all?
When we made the film, we were in Year 5 and Year 6 (9-11 years old).
How does it feel to win the Film of the Month competition?
It feels amazing as we put a lot of effort into it. It feels overwhelming because you know that people across the country and of all ages entered the competition and we won it. It feels a bit weird and new and cool! It feels unbelievable because we had put a lot of effort into it and a long production time. We're really, really, really proud.
The idea for the story of Be Unique is fantastic. How did you all come up with it?
We all threw ideas in then we mixed them up and chose our favourite ones. We brainstormed the idea at the beginning of our film club as all of us wanted a story where the teachers had a chemical that could destroy the world. Then we thought there should be a theme. Something we thought of that's said a lot in school is ‘be yourself'. We thought it would be interesting if we experimented with this idea. We spent a third of our time coming up with ideas, writing a script and changing it.
How did you get the whole school to be in the film?
Tell them they'll be famous and on YouTube! We told them vaguely what it was about and they seemed interested (they also liked the sound of getting the afternoon off doing work!). We then sold them the idea in assembly and made it sound really fun. We told them the storyline of our film, and they all seemed excited to be a part of it. They got an extra playtime and tic-tacs but we got more. We had to persuade the teachers to agree and to take part. We had to get release forms signed for all the children in school.
Was it fun telling the Teachers what to do?
YES!!! Especially our own teacher (revenge). It was fun to boss them around because they're usually the ones bossing us around. It was like the teachers' worst nightmare, it was fun as they would usually boss us around, now it was our turn! The teachers were given a script with highlighted lines for them to practice. They weren't drama queens and we encouraged them to master ‘enthusiastic boredom' in their voices.
If you could make Be Unique again what would you do differently, and why?
Be more prepared so we had more time to film. Record the sound differently as it was all recorded on one video camera and one tripod. You don't need lots of equipment but with enough planning anyone can make a film. If we were to make it again, I would let the storyline run as long as it could go on for (with no time restriction). I would (if I was able to) make the film longer and more detailed as there was a set time limit although, I did like the shortness of it as it was a challenge for us!
What advice would you give to other young people who want to start making films?
Have fun. Be organised, plan out everything. Write your script first and be prepared to edit. Don't be afraid to ask for help. You need patience, don't just rush in and say, ‘let's make a film!' Listen to other people, they may have better ideas. If you have an idea and a camera of some sort then you could make an amazing film!
There's nothing worth doing without effort.
What are some of your favourite films, and why?
Beauty and the Beast because there are lots of different scenes, good shots and the costumes are amazing.
Big Fish, it's different. It makes something that's supposed to be happy, and cool, creepy. It's clever and emotional. I like the shots, they're pretty.
Peter Pan, it's an amazing adventure, making people and boats fly.
Disney films, I can't think of only one favourite, because they're happy, musical and have twists.
My two favourite films would have to be The Hobbit and Harry Potter (the series of the films) because in these films, they are so imaginative and bring fantasy to life with mythical creatures and more!
Be Unique will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and on the Into Film YouTube channel, and the filmmakers at John Clare Primary School have won a £100 Amazon voucher and a DVD! If you've been inspired by September's winner, find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.
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