How film clubs can open up the world for small communities

06 Jul 2016 BY Jennifer Skinner in Leader of the Month

5 mins
How film clubs can open up the world for small communities

June's Leader of the Month is Jennifer Skinner, from the small Scottish island of Tiree. Jennifer has been running her club since January, and talks below about how running it has benefitted the island's community, especially in a part of the world where social and recreational opportunities for young people are limited.

Our film club is set in a non-formal setting - its base is the cattle market here on the Isle of Tiree. My previous role was coordinating the film education programme at the National Media Museum and before that I managed a cinema, so I have been lucky enough to work in film for over 15 years and watch some of the young people that attended events and clubs go into careers in the film industry.

We have film-related activities before or after screenings. Our last one was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where we had a chocolate treasure hunt to find a golden ticket which entitled you to a go on the local chocolatier's chocolate fountain! Plus we designed our own sweets, coming up with some great names and what happened to you when you ate them. We have hosted an Into Film Roadshow and worked with the school and also pupils from the island next door, doing CPD with the teachers and sessions based in class, including activities around Arctic Tale and The Gruffalo.

There is definitely a benefit for the young people here's social development through being part of a film club. There are not many options of places or events where everyone can meet up. The nearest cinema is 4 hours away on a ferry, and running the film club not only enables the shared experience of cinema, but also offers a window into a wider world.

Some of our young people took part in filmmaking as part of the Into Film Roadshow and we plan to have more filmmaking soon. I think it's a great way to help young people here have a voice, especially as where we are is so remote. There is a lot of interest in connecting with people online through film so it would be great to give them the skills to do this. The island also has a beautiful light, which is fantastic for filming.

I have done some training through my role at the National Media Museum and have used the Into Film resources in lots of different situations, from my film club here on Tiree through to more formal education settings. I found the PowerPoint activities on film production really useful - the powerpoint has embedded clips and the students I worked with really enjoyed understanding more about foley artists and the other roles involved in making films.

As for our club's favourite films, the screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory got a big round of applause. Any of the Ghibli films including PonyoThe Glitterball is a great one to get young people thinking about camera angles and also animating a character. We made fox masks over the Easter holidays and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox which everyone enjoyed. I love screening Melies' A Trip to the Moon to young people; it's a great one to get a discussion going. I'm also a great fan of a musical, especially if we get dressed up too, or make something to wear together before the film, and then sing along.

I love cinema; I think it is magical; the shared experience, the waking dream; its accessibility as an art form, and in enabling access to new ideas and experiences. As such, being able to run a film club is brilliant! And since ordering films from Into Film is free, I don't have the pressure of meeting a certain level of audience to cover the film rental, which means we can be freer with what we programme, especially here on Tiree, where we would struggle to reach audience numbers in some age categories, as there are only so many young people over 12 years old on the island.

It is just the best feeling, putting on an event, engaging young people, and seeing their excitement afterwards.

Jennifer Skinner, club leader
Jennifer Skinner

Jennifer Skinner , June's Leader of the Month

Jennifer has been running her film club since the start of 2016, bringing film to the young people of the small Scottish Isle of Tiree.

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