The varied benefits of Into Film Clubs

14 Aug 2019 in Into Film Club of the Month

6 mins
Club members of Parkhall Primary School in Antrim, in Northern Ireland
Club members of Parkhall Primary School in Antrim, in Northern Ireland

Our Into Film Club of the Month for August 2019 is Parkhall Primary School in Antrim, Northern Ireland. We caught up with club leader Sharon Harbinson, who talked to us about the ways Parkhall's Into Film Club has benefited the young people at the school in so many different and positive ways.

What inspired you to start an Into Film Club?

About five years ago we were invited to a taster session run by Into Film where we got to see How to Train Your Dragon in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast. We loved the idea of running a film club, spoke to the organisers and started our club immediately!

What do you enjoy about being a club leader?

Our school day is usually pretty hectic so it is nice to have some time to sit back, relax and enjoy a good film with the pupils. The informal setting provides an opportunity for the pupils to get to know the staff better too.

We showed a documentary about penguins and they became so invested in it. Their reaction was so incredible.

Sharon Harbinson, Into Film Club Leader, Parkhall Primary School

How does your film club help the children?

An Into Film Club has tremendous potential to really help the children in so many different ways. We discuss the film afterwards and this helps them put their thoughts and feelings into words. Writing the reviews is brilliant for their literacy skills and helps them to express themselves. And it even helps with ICT skills, as they need to be able to go online, log in, remember their password, and all the clicks to complete their reviews.

It also helps with social skills. They have to listen to the views of others and understand that not everyone will have the same views, so it's good for teaching that others have opinions that may be very different from their own. It's also interesting when we don't have agreement on what film to show and we take a vote. Some of the children, if they are really keen to watch a particular film, will try to promote it and sway others to vote for their choice.

Which film has had the biggest reaction among your club members?

As a teacher, one of the most rewarding things is when the kids react positively to something that's totally unexpected. We were sent a series of black and white silent films from Into Film to screen and we didn't think they'd enjoy these. However, they loved them - especially the slapstick element. They enjoyed this so much that we actually re-created the films ourselves. We used iPads and edited with iMovie and we spent several weeks making our own black and white silent movies!

Sometimes the children get incredibly enthusiastic and emotionally involved in a film. We showed a documentary about penguins and they became so invested in it. That fed in to other projects and discussions. Their reaction was so incredible.

Has your Into Film Club done anything exciting outside of school?

We've had so many fantastic opportunities to go to special screenings and do something together as a club outside school. We also got to be extras in a film called A Christmas Star; we were amazed at how long it takes to make a film, the number of takes and what goes on behind the scenes.

What one piece of advice you could give to new club leaders?

I would highly recommend looking out for all the added opportunities there are available. Over the years we have gone to a Q&A with Julian Fellows and we have attended several special screenings, including one at Belfast Zoo.

What films would you recommend to other club leaders?

The pupils in our Into Film Club suggested Shrek, Shrek 2, Paddington 2, Ferdinand and Sing

I would have to admit that I always enjoy some retro 1990s Disney, such as Beauty and the Beast though.

This Article is part of: Into Film Club of the Month

Each month we celebrate one Into Film Club's achievements and talk to the club leader about how they approach their sessions.

View other Articles in this column

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