Using the Into Film Festival to support learning

05 Oct 2017

6 mins
Festival Attendees (2014)
Festival Attendees (2014)

With the Into Film Festival just weeks away (8 - 24 November), two teachers who have attended in previous years tell us how they've used the free screenings, resources and special events to reinforce the curriculum, boost literacy and extend their students' experiences, detailing why this annual event has become such a highlight of their school calendar.

Andrew Denton, Meadows Primary School, Shropshire

I have been booking places at the Into Film Festival for three years now and the children have a great experience that they recall throughout the year. Last year all pupils in our school from Years 1 to 6 attended a screening - over 300 children. It soon became evident that for some, due to their difficult circumstances and backgrounds, it would be the only trip they made to the cinema this year. 

The screenings were a great stimulus for a variety of writing. We used film guides, review writing resources and postcards from Into Film's materials to support staff in following up on the screenings. The films in Years 3, 4 and 6 became the basis of weeks of work and children in years 1 and 2 wrote their first film reviews on the Into film postcards.

Some children joined our weekly Into Film Club following the screenings and it is evident that we are making selections for the Festival and screening films they would not otherwise see.

If teachers book early, they can plan to transform this enthusiasm into a wide range of learning experiences in the second half of the Autumn term, and I am sure they too will be asking to book again each year.

Joseph Glover, William Ellis School, London

The Into Film Festival's programme of unique learning opportunities that enhance the curriculum has made it a highlight of the William Ellis School Calendar. I set a reminder for the day tickets are released so I can secure the events that best suit the needs of my students - last year we attended five. The varied programme ensures that a large number of students can engage with films across the curriculum and in their personal development, adding to the engagement provided by our regular film club.

Last year, for example, Sixth Form students attended two screenings that linked directly to modules on the A-Level film studies course; Year 7 and 8 students who attended A Monster Calls did so because of the way the film explored friendship, as well as being a Year 8 class novel; and we used a trip to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a way into literacy intervention with students in Year 7.

Over 100 students participated in the Festival - for many, it was an experience they may not otherwise have been able to access. The boys who were selected for the special preview of Fantastic Beasts at Warner Bros. HQ especially felt like VIPs! A sixth form student who attended a preview of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that included a Q&A with a visual effects company was inspired to apply for a work experience placement and was successful. All the screenings were highly valued and allowed the students to think about their learning in a different way. 

The supporting resources were really helpful in contextualising the films. Using film to support literacy has made engagement with something challenging a fun and rewarding experience. Considering the themes and ideas, messages and values presented by a film text afforded students the opportunity to think differently about film and how it can help us in our daily lives.

The Into Film Festival takes place from 8 - 24 November. Screenings are first come, first served and all screenings and events are free. Find out what's on in your area and book your free tickets today!

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