Use our strand resources to make the most of the Into Film Festival

26 Oct 2016 BY Samantha Clarkson

6 mins
A United Kingdom poster crop
A United Kingdom poster crop

With this year's Into Film Festival rapidly approaching, we want to ensure that all of our attendees are ready and able to make the most of their Festival experience. To help with this preparation, this year we have created a new style of strand resource.

These resources are useful for planning activities for learners and attendees, both before and after your events and screenings. This preparation will help your learners to be engaged and excited about and aware of the themes and ideas in the film, and can help scaffold deeper and more structured reflection after the screening. Integrating activities into your lessons or film club meetings can also help you to demonstrate the educational value of an Into Film Festival visit within your school or organisation, and shows how film can support work in the curriculum. Detailed links to the curriculum are also listed in the description of each film in the programme.

Each strand resource is quick to use and has sections that are easy to navigate, helping you pick and choose relevant activities for your learners, and that are relevant for your chosen screening(s). Each resource is comprised of teachers' notes with four differentiated activities (Discussion, Filmmaking, Collaborative Working and Individual Work), a student workbook, with templates and resources to support learners' thinking and creativity, plus a PowerPoint presentation with clips and stills for you to use to scaffold and inspire critical thinking. In addition to the strand resources, many of the films also have their own Film Guides, featuring suggested questions and activities.

Culture Shock

Films in the Culture Shock strand will open a window onto the lives of others, both modern and historical, and will encourage young people to appreciate how changes of environment and significant life transitions can affect people. Films have been chosen with key themes in mind, including transition, immigration, refugees, loss, and sexual and racial discrimination.

This strand includes films suitable for Primary and Secondary aged students, including Academy Award nominees Carol (15) and Brooklyn (12); animated classics The Jungle Book (U) and The Little Mermaid (U); and the critically acclaimed Victoria (15) and The Wolfpack (15). 

The Cuture Shock strand resource provides support for learners to discuss the characters and communities in these films, and to analyse how key scenes are constructed for particular effect. Guidance is also on offer to build on each film's themes and to help individuals cope in new situations or environments.

Weird and Wonderful

Films in our Weird and Wonderful strand are for Primary learners. This strand highlights the power of imagination, through magical and fantasy worlds, talking animals and alternative realities, as well as exploring the wonder of the natural world. Films in this strand include the awe inspiring A Beautiful Planet, the magical Alice Through the Looking Glass, and a personal favourite of mine Swallows and Amazons.

The Weird and Wonderful strand resource provides support to help learners compare and contrast fantasy and reality, to experiment with forced perspective and to design a costume for a weird and wonderful fantasy character.

Black Star 

Our Black Star strand is for Secondary learners, and is the British Film Institute's Autumn 2016 celebration of the range, versatility and power of Black actors on film and TV.

Embracing the BFI's direction of illuminating on-screen talent, the films in this strand feature contemporary British stars of Black heritage, as well as actors from the African diaspora and throughout film history who demonstrate a real range and depth of storytelling. British stars featured in this strand include Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Zawe Ashton in the wonderfully evocative Dreams of a Life, and John Boyega - before he found himself in a galaxy far far away - in Attack the Block.

The Black Star strand resource supports learners in evaluating how characters are constructed, investigating The Film Value Chain and roles in the film industry and taking inspiration from the film(s) they have watched to research and create a treatment for a film about an inspirational Black or ethnic figure.

See It, Be It

The See It, Be It strand is for Primary and Secondary learners and focuses on aspirational and positive role models chosen with diversity in mind. Whether we're highlighting the characters, acting talent or crew, this strand will include representation of LGBT and ethnically diversity people, gender diversity and disability. I feel it would not be an overstatement to say that there is something for everyone in this strand, my personal picks are the fantastic documentary Speed Sisters (PG), the wonderful Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in A United Kingdom (12A) and the beautiful Moana (PG).

The activities in the See It, Be It strand resource encourage learners to discuss and analyse representations of diversity and to challenge stereotypes through their own filmmaking project or piece of creative writing.

Words Can Hurt

The Words Can Hurt strand, supported by the Anti Bullying Alliance, is for Primary and Secondary students and features films on the theme of wellbeing, including stories with anti-bullying messages to highlight the importance of treating everyone with respect and to encourage empathy for others. This strand includes familiar classics Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (U) and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (U) and those who wish to give their students a wonderful surprise treat with the less familiar The Crow's Egg (PG), Paper Planes (U) and Grandma (15).

In the Words Can Hurt resources there is support to encourage students to analyse character's decisions and motivations and explore wellbeing topics at a remove and demonstrate their understanding of appropriate actions by planning a filmmaking campaign to influence behaviour change amongst their peers.

Game Changers

Last but not least, films in the Game Changers strand will prompt young people to discover or learn more about significant historical figures, movements and events in order to gain an understanding of the ways in which they have shaped our world. This strand includes films to support learning across the curriculum including; exploring Shakespeare through Gnomeo and Juliet (U), O (Othello) (15) or Romeo + Juliet (12), experiencing Roald Dahl on screen with Danny, the Champion of the Word (U), The BFG (PG) or Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG) and historical game changers with Suffragette (12), Race (12) or Testament of Youth (12).

The strand resource supports learners to question the notion of game changers, to find out more about a person who has changed the course of history and create a persuasive speech in the role of a game changing Prime Minister.

For more support to use the strand resources and plan pre and post screening activities sign up for one of our Learning Through the Into Film Festival training sessions.

Whatever you choose to see at this year's Festival, we hope have a wonderful time and encourage you to share your experiences with us at @intofilm_edu and @GetIntoFilm on Twitter.

A note to all educators - Into Film have made the decision to capitalise the B when making any reference to Black people and groups, as will be done with other ethnic group categorisations. This important mark of acknowledgment and respect has been embraced by several high-profile sites and style guides over the last few years and is now an official part of the Gov.UK Writing about Ethnicity Guidelines.

Samantha Clarkson

Samantha Clarkson, CPD and Resources Coordinator, Into Film

A qualified teacher, Sam works with teachers, educators and professional bodies to research, deliver and evaluate training for educators of 5-19 year olds, enabling children and young people across the UK to learn through film and filmmaking.

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