Discover the benefits of running a film club in a non-school setting

11 Aug 2016 BY Chris Kidd in Into Film Club of the Month

4 mins
St. Andrew's Centre, Southampton
St. Andrew's Centre, Southampton

July's Leader of the Month is Chris Kidd, Director of Children & Youth Work at St Andrew's Centre, in Southampton. Chris has been running his club since summer 2014, and talks below about how doing so in an area with high deprivation has benefitted local young people and their families by giving them the opportunity to explore film and take part in filmmaking projects in a safe environment.

We started our film club back in the summer of 2014, although it has now morphed into two different clubs: one for teenagers that meets approximately once a fortnight, on a Tuesday evening, and the other for families with young children, which meets approximately once a fortnight on a Sunday afternoon. I love helping young people to discover films, especially when their socio-economic circumstance and disabilities prevent them from accessing films at the cinema.

Deprivation was one of the reasons we first started an Into Film Club, as we knew that the cinema was hard to access on public transport, and incredibly expensive, so many of the young people and families we work with were unable to experience it. We saw this as an opportunity to support their passion for film whilst overcoming the transport and cost barriers. The popularity of our two sessions certainly seems to validate this.

Being in a non-school gives us two main benefits: time and informality.

Firstly, we are not limited or pressured by a school timetable, trying to squeeze clubs into lunchtimes or running after school, when some young people have to use the school bus and so wouldn't be able to access the club. If we want to watch a three-hour film, we can - so long as we let parents know when we are going to finish.

Secondly, youth work develops a different type of relationship to that between a teacher and pupil. Whilst still having appropriate boundaries acknowledged by its nature, this keeps the club much more informal and relaxed for young people.

As a result of attending the film club, a number of young people have seen their descriptive and emotional language improve. Watching films has helped them to understand the world and their place in it more fully, with several teenagers saying they feel more confident in social settings due to the discussions they've had following films.

A large percentage of the children and young people who access our youth clubs have disabilities and/or additional needs. Subsequently, we have seen a number of them join the film clubs. Practically they enjoy our club because they are comfortable with our environment, as it is somewhere they are already used to. For the younger children, we are very clear that we can pause the film when toilet breaks etc are required, and for all ages we try to be very sensitive to how loud the film is.

More recently, two of our young people with disabilities and additional needs have been chosen to be part of the Into Film Youth Advisory Council. We were able to support them in making their application, and they are very excited to have an opportunity that they never would have dreamed they could manage before.

What's more, we were recently privileged to participate in the Into Film: Into Space filmmaking project. The young people really engaged with the concept of making a short film on the topic of space, which would then be watched in outer space by British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake.

They loved exploring the process of developing an idea, storyboarding, scripting, filming and then editing the film. The young people are keen to continue with this and have been looking at making another short film this coming autumn.

In terms of which titles have gone down well in our clubs, for the younger members films such as Shaun the Sheep MovieFrozen, and Despicable Me have been firm favourites, and for the teenagers, Pitch Perfect 2 and the Marvel films always go down well.

One piece of advice I would offer new Into Film club leaders would be to get the young people to help pick the films - they may well have a different taste in films to you!

Chris Kidd - Leader of the Month July 2016

Chris Kidd, Director of Children's & Youth Work

Chris is the Director of Children's & Youth Work at St Andrew's Centre, in Southampton, and has been running his club since summer 2014.

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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