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Behind the Scenes

Film Club

Why is Important to Learn About Film?

We started our Film Club a couple of years ago. every month we watch an age and stage appropriate film for a number of reasons:


1) It linked in with our Literacy studies.


2) It was a way of coming together to reduce some of the isolation some were feeling when they first crashed out or main stream education.


3) To have fun - who said learning had to be all worksheets and no fun.  We want learning to be relaxed with a little nibble of something home cooked for the Orchard Training Cookery Club members. 

To stay within the law we are not allowed to charge for the showing of the films and we can't show them anywhere but within a home setting. Although we are a school - all be it a homeschool one - we fall foul the legal definition of a school and because we don't have our very own bricks and mortar which the children come to. Therefore, we are not allowed to show the films on mass in one place, like a village hall. We have to work with the law and watch at a home with friends invited over to watch a private viewing.   

We have two viewings of the film.


The first is watched in silence for start to the finish. Once the film has finished can you talk or ask questions. For many of our home schoolers this is a whole new experience. For some they have been to the cinema but their experience has been coloured by other children talking, running up and down the aisle etc. Their school experience of watching a film has been governed by the length of the lesson they are in. This has meant the film being broken up in parts and days, weekends or even half terms falling in-between sections and finally watching films on a TV station with adverts. All of which has broken the moment, broken the continuity of the experience and the concentration, so when they return the next section of the film they have lost the plot or interest or both. 

The second viewing is where we stop the film and answer questions as we go though.those of us who have poor attention spans tend to need this viewing to understand the plot and those with ADHD need to ask the question at the point where the question arises or they lose their understanding. 

Some come to both, some come to one or another. The order in which they are held is solely in the hands of the learner anywho can get to where and when. 


Why Watch a Film as Part of a Club?

Why a film club or why watch films as part of our education? The answer is the same as why red a book?

Understanding others is what education is all about. Understanding situation, different outcomes from the safe place of your arm chair allows us to grow emotionally without actually personally experiencing the physical or emotional harm dangerous situation pose to us. We can experience the thrill of excitement of being in a ship in storm without the real threat of drowning. we can learn what it is to be a prisoner of war without being a child solider. We can empathise with a refugee without learning our nice cosy life, town or country. 

The art form, of film, helps those of us with reading difficulties to access powerful story telling without the struggle of decoding every single word.  

Story telling is so essential to our understanding of who we are, how others think and what sort of manipulations and pressure are at play in what seems on the surface fairly straight forward scenarios.


We can talk about characters in the abstract without harming ourselves and talking about them without disrespecting them. For some of our learners, on the autistic spectrum, it allows us to prepare them for the difficulties of adulthood by discussing what different people might do in a situation for example why a young man might react differently to a women, to a parent, to a child or somebody who is much older person.

We don't just watch a film, there are links to our curriculum, for example Anne Frank, The Book Thief and War Horse are all linked to history. Dystopian novel that have been made into films like Hunger Games and Divergent fit into English. Films like Inside out and Wonder complement our Health Education curriculum.  So we are either taking a short cut or breading the tools we use to teach with deepening upon your view point. 

Film Set
Film Reels

Exercise For Free

Exercise For Free

Becoming a Film Critic!

Once we have watched the film, part of the session is dedicated to Film Critic Skills. This sits under Speaking and Listening whilst we are talking, understanding other people view points and accepting others might not like your best and most favourite film int he whole wide world might be a challenge for one or two. When we start to write about the films we are working in another area of the English curriculum. Here we consider things like:

Are: Are the characters believable? Are some characters a little 2D where some are more 3D, why is that important? 

Do You: Do you recognise any reference to other stories, films or TV shows? 

How: How would you change the film? How would you change the ending /  character(s) / the setting or the time period? 

What: What happened in the film? what motivated that character to behave in that way at tea pointing the story? what would you change? what was your favourite scene and why? What was right / wrong with the film? 

When: When was the film set? How did the film indicate this? Could this story line be set in a different time period? What would be different if the film was set now? When is the turning point in the action / story from what you thought it was going to be? 

Where: Where is the film set? How would this story change or the characters be, if it was set else where? Could yo set this somewhere else and still have the story work?

Who: Who is the main character and who are the secondary characters? How do we know this? Who is the film aimed at and why might that be so? Who do you identify with and its that the same as your favourite character? 

Why: why was this film made? is there a moral that we could take away form this film? why do we think the mood changed at this point in the film and how were we made aware of that change? 

Why do we think the director used black and white there and colour at this point of the film? Why was the director interested in telling this story? 

Coming Soon - in a Film Club Near You - Our Own Made Films!

A progression from watching films to making films was natural over the given passage of time. Whilst we were talking about the setting of the films, we often spent a lot of time on the cinematography. The techniques of the general composition of the scene, the lighting of the set or location, the choice of close-ups or wide angle, the angle and the movement of the camera to the integration of special effects. what we learnt here - we took forward in to our IT and photography. The quality of photography improved dramatically. 

Soon, we were asked for session on making moving pictures, so we joined the Schools Film Club and started making short Stop Action Motion films. 

Once they had cracked that it would only be a matter of time before they asked for something more. Therefore, in the summer of 2023, I took my self off to London to learn how to make films using industry standard equipment. 

And here my tale takes a very interesting turn - the brilliant young man who was leading the summer course had been home schooled, himself - and was very helpful with ideas and tips! He even offered to come down and help us make a short video quality film if enough of us could book.

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