How one young person championed her film club during lockdown

25 Feb 2021

6 mins
Sophie of Bessacarr Film Club - used for N&V on her lockdown film club
Sophie of Bessacarr Film Club - used for N&V on her lockdown film club

There are countless amazing Into Film Clubs, leaders and members across the UK, and with schools starting to return over the next couple of weeks, we wanted to celebrate some that have truly gone the extra mile in the recent lockdown and the last year.

Sophie (10) from Bessacarr Film Club in Doncaster has been helping to lead her film club throughout lockdown, coming up with innovative ways to run it online and devising a variety of fresh activities as well as generally encouraging and inspiring her fellow club members. In our recent interview with her, she shared some essential advice for other young people who might want to take a leading role in their own Into Film clubs, whether online or in person.

Tell us about your film club and how it has been run during the last year

Our club usually meets on a Wednesday after school and from September-December we were still able to do this as we drew up a socially distanced plan that made our club safe to continue. Since January though, Mr Smeaton and Mr Wood have recommended a film for us to watch each week via Film Club Fridays and opened it up to the whole of key stage 2 rather than just the club. Instead of our usual lunchtime review club as well, we started Bessacarr Film Fanatics where we discuss the film over Microsoft Teams. I have also continued to review every film I watch on the Into Film Website and am aiming to have done 100 reviews by the summer!

We also can't meet for filmmaking activities so have taken on the challenge of making our film remotely. We meet every Tuesday after school via Microsoft Teams and have rewritten parts so that we can do them at home. Fortunately, our film is about the original lockdown so that has made things a little easier.

How has your film club helped you and your fellow students throughout the last year?

Our film club has helped me and my fellow students by providing a space to catch up and share our passion of film. All of us have worked hard to make our club accessible even when we've haven't been able to be in school.

Your film club leaders are Mr Smeaton and Mr Wood - how do they make your film club special?

Mr Smeaton and Mr Wood make our film club special because they are funny, not strict and they show films that the majority of our members haven't seen! They have a real passion for film and Mr Smeaton has been running the film club longer than I've been alive! They always go above and beyond, and put a lot of time into making our film club as fun as possible!

What are your top 5 tips for running a film club online or socially distanced

Socially Distanced

  • Sit the young people with their classes.
  • Don't let the young people mix with anyone outside their class or year group

Online

  • Make a group on Microsoft Teams with young people who would like to discuss the film with others. Keep the groups small when online so that everyone feels comfortable and gets a say
  • When choosing a film during lockdown, choose something upbeat and funny
  • Encourage your film club members to write reviews and share them with their friends online

What are your hopes for your film club and cinema in the next 12 months?

My hopes for cinema in the next 12 months is they will be able to reopen and show films so that my friends and family can go and enjoy all of the new releases together! My hopes for my film club are that we are able to always continue, even if it is socially distanced like before Christmas. We also want to complete our lockdown film and then start a new film when we return to school.

Hats off to Sophie and Bessacarr Film Club for their continued commitment and success! Just recently, leader Daniel Smeaton was named one of our three lockdown champions, and both their club and member, Rebecca, were nominated for Into Film Awards in 2019. Both teachers are also Education Ambassadors for Into Film.

Nominees for IFCOTY and IFCMOTY at IFA 2019
Bessacarr Film Club in 2019

If you've got a lockdown story about your Into Film Club then feel free to get in touch, either through our website, or our national and regional Twitter accounts.

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