Successful filmmaking at school - Part Three

22 Nov 2016 BY Simon Pile

6 mins
This guide provides quick and easy discussion tools and curricular links fo
This guide provides quick and easy discussion tools and curricular links fo

Into Film Teacher of the Year 2016 Simon Pile gives his advice on incorporating filmmaking into the classroom in a new three part series. Simon is not only the Assistant Headteacher at Anson Primary School in London, but has also been running their film club since 2009 - so he certainly knows a few things about the benefits of film and filmmaking.

Part three looks at the different ways to showcase and share young filmmakers' work, and the positive impact this can have on their confidence and motivation.

So, you've given your students a voice. They had something to say and have used one of the most powerful mediums to say it. You have a collection of animations, documentaries and dramas produced by the children - what now?

Student voice is only complete once the content is shared. Otherwise, the voice remains a silent one. It's a bit like producing the best cake in the world and then nobody tasting it. If you are giving the children a chance to say something, it must be heard.

Here are some of the ways we share film at Anson Primary School.

If you are giving the children a chance to say something, it must be heard.

Simon Pile, Into Film Teacher of the Year 2016 and Assistant Headteacher, Anson Primary School

We use our Film Club as our first point of sharing. Before every club screening we showcase one of the children's films. It gives students a chance to see films made by their peers; it gives the filmmakers a boost of self esteem; and it gives us all a chance to share issues concerning young children.

We also share films from other young filmmakers by embedding Into Film YouTube content into our screenings. Watching films shortlisted for the Into Film Awards gives the children aspiration and an insight into the quality that is needed to make an impact in a competition or with a wider audience. 

When a film is good enough and receives great feedback, we enter it for Into Film's Film of the Month competition. The process of entering helps students to realise just how much effort they have put into their production and how much we value it. 

Sharing with the whole school community is also important. We embed films on our school website and in our learning platform. We created Anson TV (nothing more than a webpage) to share the content the children are making. We connect parents to the content using text and social media. We also have YouTube Channels for the Anson Film Club, the Anson Pupils, and the school as a whole. 

This has resulted in over 60,000 views of some videos - an incredible audience for student voice.

Our biggest showcase happens in November, in line with the Into Film Festival. We run our own Anson Film Festival, and on the final Friday we gather the whole school to watch a compilation of the films made during the Festival.

The films are introduced on screen by members of the Film Club Council and include films made by children from Reception through to Year 6, and content from teachers. 

Seeing the culmination of all that work is always a powerful moment. 

In 2015, Reception children shared their green screen production of 'This Is Me', a short film telling everyone why they are special. Year One made animated films using sweets. Year Two put together some brilliant Georges Méliès magic while the whole of Key Stage Two covered issues of friendship, resilience, sharing and love using Into Film's 5,4,3,2,1 filmmaking techniques. 

In 2016 we'll be exploring six word stories, one minute films and trying to address the issues that really affect children by producing animated documentaries. 

Ask any filmmaker why they make films. It wont be to make money at the box office or to win awards. It will be because they have a story they want to tell or a message they need to be heard. Children are no different. Children don't make films to win prizes; they get deeply involved in the content, the story, the message. No matter how crazy, strange or imaginative their ideas may be, they want to make the film and for the world to see it. 

With the technology we have at our disposal in school and online, there are many ways we can make that happen. Their voices can be heard. 

Simon Pile headshot

Simon Pile, Assistant Headteacher, Anson Primary School and Into Film's Teacher of the Year 2016

Simon’s award winning film club caters for over 100 pupils every week, and his work as an Apple Distinguished Educator has mobile filmmaking grow year on year. He shares his work with film through writing, conferences and staff training.

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