From scriptwriters to video editors and everything in between, students take lead roles in the growing number of film communities being established in public schools across the state.
Through the power of cinema, the ‘Film By…’ movement is embedding visual literacy and film-making into classroom practice in public schools across the state to provide a unique and engaging way for students to achieve educational outcomes.
Film By… has grown from a festival of films screened in a school hall to around 20 festivals screened in schools and cinemas across the state, including ‘Film By the Far West’ in Broken Hill, ‘Film By the Sapphire Coast’ in Merimbula and many places in between.
So far more than 1,000 student films have been created and a 15-hour registered training course provided to more than 700 teachers.
It all began at Miranda Public School in 2010 when then principal Glen Carter was walking down the hall and noticed the energy coming from Karen Beutler’s Stage 3 classroom.
In that room the students were buzzing with excitement, storyboarding for a movie about a superhero called Miranda Man who interceded in social situations.
“I couldn’t leave the room as the atmosphere was so electric,” Glen said. “What struck me was the impact the activity was having on the students – they were so engaged in their learning and having so much fun.”
Glen knew immediately that what Karen was doing in her classroom could benefit students at other schools, and after showing a group of local principals the movies his students had created, they were keen to get involved.
“I had seen the impact this program had on the students involved,” Glen said. “It was like someone had switched on a light to their learning that wouldn’t turn off, and I wanted this for students all over the state.”
And that’s what happened. Film By… went from being a festival of films screened in the school hall to around 20 student film festivals screened across the state this year.
Film By... is about more than just making films. It’s about improving student outcomes by supporting creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.
For teacher Karen Beutler, Film By... is authentic purpose-driven and project-based learning.
“Combining digital film-making tasks with traditional literacy objectives provides children with a clear, purposeful end-goal to aim towards,” Karen said.
“It enables them to appreciate that the creative process of writing – the planning, drafting editing and revising – is integral to the quality of that end goal.
“Visual learning is also inclusive learning and Film By... provides a level playing field for all students. Film is a universal language, and even children with learning difficulties and disabilities who struggle with any kind of academic curriculum can often to relate to film.”
The 2019 festivals kicked off with ‘Film By Invitation’ – a selection of the best Film By... films from last year.
The Interview Part II, a mockumentary about two leaders in the education department who are determined to be part of Film By... was premiered at the event. The film features Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Secretary Mark Scott and Deputy Secretary Murat Dizdar and actor and Film By... patron Bryan Brown.
Deputy Secretary Murat Dizdar said he is a great supporter of Film By... because the festivals provide students with an authentic audience to share their views and showcase their work.
“I am pleased to see Film By... festivals continue to expand each year with new locations, projects and initiatives to provide students from across NSW with a platform to share their opinions and views,” Mr Dizdar said.
“I attended the Film By... festival in Bankstown earlier this year and it was fantastic to see whole school communities – students, teachers, principals, parents and families – come together at Film By... festivals to celebrate and recognise the work of students.
“I have had the great pleasure of being filmed for a Film By... promotional video the last few years with students scripting, filming and editing the film – I was advised by Oscar, one of the students on set, not to quit my day job,” he said.
Watch The Interview Part II
Duration – 5:53
Read the transcript of The Interview, Part II.
Look out for these upcoming festivals
- Film by the Banks – 17 October at Bankstown Sports Club Theatre
- Film by Kidz at the Ritz – 21 October at Randwick Ritz Cinema
- Film by the Coast – 22 October at Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul
- Film by the Sea – 23 October at Event Cinemas, Miranda
- Film by the Bay & Basin – 25 October at Huskisson Picture Theatre
- Film by the Future – 30 October at Event Cinemas, Macarthur Square
- Film by the Sapphire Coast – 3 November at Merimbula Cinemas
- Film by the Far West – 5 November at Silver City Cinema, Broken Hill
- Film by the Eucalyptus – 6 November at Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub.