In Their Words: Students on Shakespeare Filmmaking

19 Mar 2024

5 mins
In Their Words: Students on Shakespeare Filmmaking

We caught up with a few of the student filmmakers from Shakespeare Schools Film Festival 2023, delivered in collaboration with Into Film. We've included a short montage of their films on this page, but you can watch these films in full as well as all films submitted and the Best of the Fest video on the Shakespeare Schools Film Festival website. You can also see which Shakespeare adaptations are available to stream for free on Into Film+, enter your own films into our Awards (closes 31st March!) and Film of the Month, check out our training offer on filmmaking and more, and view our extensive range of teaching resources on Shakespeare and beyond.

You'll notice that two of the four schools we spoke to reworked Macbeth. But why, year-in-year-out, is this play so popular with the schools? It might be because there's something in it for everyone strong leading characters, action, war, history, drama, the supernatural… Plus it's one of Shakespeare's most accessible texts, meaning it can be studied in whole or in part across a broad range of primary, secondary and special provision settings.

But, without further (or much) ado, let's see what the young filmmakers have to say about their experiences and where they hope to take their skills following the project.

Into Film: What have you learnt about yourself, the world of film, and Shakespeare as part of the filmmaking process?

Sophie: I have learned that making a film is not as easy as you think! After making this film, I would definitely consider a job in the film industry in the future either an actor or director. I would like to learn more about how the cameras work.

Kai: I learned that I love acting and editing equally and that the world of film varies from project to project. It was fun to express in Shakespeare's words.

Tommy: I learnt that I'm quite technical on the camera/editing and I really like to dive into Shakespeare's work and pull it apart and give it a modern twist.

Lily: I learnt how to edit which really helps me with the future because I want to have my own YouTube channel.

Emily: I thought film studios had to be big and fancy with green screens and special equipment, but I have learned that they can be small and simple but still create masterpieces.

Ben: Shakespearean language is hard to remember but context, actions, and facial expressions make it easy to understand.

Krystal: Sometimes it can be challenging working with different people however you can learn so many skills and discover abilities you never had. You learn people skills and how to communicate.

Into Film: Were there any challenges along the way?

Izzy: I think the hardest part was trying to cooperate with the weather. Sometimes the wind would ruin the sound sometimes it was raining. This made continuity tricky. We were filming in November and it rained a lot but when you watch the film it looked like summer.

Lucy: When we were coming up with different ideas for scenes some people wouldn't listen to each others' ideas. We got better at listening and collaborating.

Daisy: When editing didn't save or the sound wasn't working we had to problem solve.

Ollie: I have a hatred of sand. And had to push through for one of the scenes in the film so we could get the filming done, but I am glad I did it in the end because I loved how it turned out.

Into Film: What did you most enjoy about making your film?

Erin: I enjoyed learning about A Midsummer Night's Dream and doing stuff at home. I read lots of book and articles about Shakespeare and spent time talking with my family. It was always a topic of conversation at home and I watched lots of different film versions of Shakespeare's plays. My sister had lots of Shakespeare quotes that she had put into a collage.

Freddie: I really liked making my costume because I got to be creative with a set of guidelines we came up with together and then do my own thing.

Lucy: I enjoyed the location scouting because it was fun exploring the school and coming up with different possibilities to film the scenes.

Charlie: It was great to see all of our hard work in the final product with our families and friends at the red carpet premiere. I was excited and proud of what we achieved together.

Into Film: Are you interested to make more films, even in your own time?

Emma: I would love to make more films. I have been reading Anthony Horowitz and think his stories would be inspiring to make into a film.

Lily: I am interested in making more films if I did I would choose horror/tragedy. I played a lawyer in the trial of the witches and this experience has made me want to be a lawyer when I'm older.

Year 6 Film Club: We have set up a filmmaking club in school every Thursday to make a film that we want to enter into the Into Film Awards.

Izzy: I would definitely make a film in my own time because it is lots of fun and you get to experience things around you from different perspectives.

Jazz: Yes, I would be happy to! Especially if I have my friends with me. It would be fun to do some horror!

Into Film: Have you got any advice for other filmmakers of your age?

Summer: Even if you get stuck or have a challenge just keep going because everyone by your side will help you.

Kai: When shooting outside, make sure you have good mics to hide the wind!

Erin: I would make sure that you always give all of your ideas and listen to everyone else. Make sure you understand the story really well. Know that you are part of a team.

Krystal: The one thing I would say, don't give up on it. I would say be creative, never give up, don't worry about what people say.

Video highlights:

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Warminster School, Wiltshire
Macbeth, Bensham Manor, London
Macbeth, Fulwell Junior School, Sunderland
The Tempest, Portfield School, Christchurch

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