How Into Film+ can help you explore topical issues with your club

06 May 2022 in Into Film Club of the Month

4 mins
COTM for April 2022
COTM for April 2022

We're excited to reveal that our Into Film Club of the Month selection for April 2022 is Liss Junior school film club from Hants, England. Their club has seen tremendous success in their varied use of film for learning, from their participation in our successful Paul Hamlyn project to their recent embrace of Into Film+ in exploring a range of topical issues. Below, Assistant Headteacher Adam Stanley discusses their journey so far.

Film has the ability to take children to other places, to discover new things about our world and others, and to sometimes take them out of their comfort zone

Liss Junior School Assistant Headteacher, Adam Stanley

What inspired you to start your Into Film Club?

I had just arrived at my school (12 years ago) when I saw a flyer for FilmClub (the previous iteration of Into Film). I couldn't believe that such a valuable resource could be free of charge and offer so many amazing films to watch, discuss and write about. Nothing has changed in 12 years!

What do you enjoy most about running an Into Film Club and what makes your club unique?

Film has the ability to take children to other places, to discover new things about our world and others, and to sometimes take them out of their comfort zone. I think our club is fairly unique because (for the most part) we try and avoid blockbuster films and view films that raise particularly issues or explore different themes. We were involved in the Paul Hamlyn project for rural schools some years ago, and this has enabled us to really explore how film can reflect the setting in which you go to school. I was also thrilled to run a film festival at our twinned school in Uganda and to see how children anywhere in the world share a similar sense of humour.

What positive changes have you seen in your pupils since joining the club?

A greater awareness of the wider world and a growing sense of values. The children are very clear about what they perceive as being right and wrong. Our Into Film Club has allowed them to empathise with and relate to characters/situations played out in films.

Do you use Into Film+ with your club members and if so, which ones have been your highlights?

Now that we have Into Film+, we wonder how we ever coped without it as it is so easy to access. Two films have been real highlights that we have accessed with Into Film+. Firstly, Whale Rider really made the children think about the challenges in overcoming growing up in a patriarchal society and the bravery in standing up for what you believe in. The other film that really made an impression was The Biggest Little Farm which was thoroughly enjoyable and filled with typical American optimism, but didn't shy away from some of the challenges in working with nature. It also proved inspirational in showing how standing up for your beliefs and refusing to compromise can bring great rewards.

What other parts of the Into Film offer do you engage in (e.g. Into Film Festival, Into Film Awards, teaching resources, film reviews)?

Historically, we've always written reviews, but because of Covid we just wanted to get children back and enjoying watching films again. We hope that reviews will become a regular part of our film club again in the near future. We use many of the teaching resources to support our English lessons and have plans to access animation workshops to support our teaching of stop frame animation in the next academic year.

What are your future plans for your club?

We became a federation three years ago so the natural progression would be to open up Film Club to our infants and to build up our membership again.

If you could give one bit of advice to someone thinking of starting their own club, what would it be?

Be really clear about what you want the children to learn and what will set you apart from other clubs or just watching a film at home. Most of all, make sure that it's going to be a relaxing enjoyable experience which will benefit everyone - some of my fondest moments have been shared laughter with the children at a funny moment in a film.

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.

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