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- 10.2.2016 17:48 -

How to bring film to schools? How to teach about film?

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On January 15, the first edition of the international conference Film Literacy Lab dealing with the topic of film education was held in Prague. 7 European documentary film festivals presented their film educational methods and started a creative dialogue on 'How to teach about film?' in the present-day cultural landscape. The event was initiated by Doc Alliance and served as an introduction to the online educational platform Doc Alliance Academy.

“Today’s children were born as digital natives and they are exposed to the media images from very early on, but they seldom have the adequate critical skills to interpret those images” – this is how Nina Numankadić, managing director of Doc Alliance Films, opened the first international conference Film Literacy Lab. DOK Leipzig's Luc-Carolin Ziemann, head of DOK Education, a year-round programme of screenings for schools, added that their audiences are getting younger every year, which could be the outcome of their educational initiatives. “Even children can watch an experimental documentary if you prepare them well and if you teach them to see,“ said Ziemann.

The prevalent model of film education at schools are optional courses, however, several countries have film education as part of the official curriculum. The criteria for the selection of films for film educational projects differ very much according to particular aims (talking about content, formulating the topic, recognizing the author’s intentions, analysing creative work). According to the majority of Film Literacy Lab speakers, teachers are basically a key part of the education chain in almost all European countries; in most of the countries, teachers‘ input and feedback are part of the process of creating the methodologies. Philippe Clivaz and Christian Georges from Visions du Réel admit: “Teachers are very much content oriented and we always have to make a compromise between content and artistic value when selecting films for educational purposes.“ Representatives from Doclisboa, Amarante Abramovici and Cláudia Alves, address exactly this problem – the lack of proficiency of the educators – with one of their trainings called 'Teaching with and for Cinema.' The workshop centers on a screening of a national premiere from the festival’s programme followed by a meeting with the director to encourage dialogue between them.

Jacek Wasilewski (University of Warsaw, Docs Against Gravity FF and Akademia Dokumentalna) demonstrated one of his lessons on media and propaganda which approaches films from an interdisciplinary perspective, using cognitive science, neuroscience and poststructuralism. Anaelle Bourguignon and Céline Guénot presented the newest addition to the existing activities of FIDMarseille. Last year they introduced the High School Awards, which selected motivated teenagers coming from different backgrounds to form a Student Jury during the festival. Šimon Bauer and Tereza Swadoschová introduced the educational programmes of Jihlava IDFF. The Media and Documentary creative writing seminar is aimed at university students of film studies and journalism to support quality media reflection on documentary cinema as it is rarely an agenda in the mainstream media. Marie Ørbæk Christensen from CPH:DOX presented the UNG:DOX programme, which provides an opportunity for high school students to participate in the festival, and DOX:ACADEMY, a 3 day course for university students to introduce them to special films and the filmmakers themselves. Dok Spotters is run during the DOK Leipzig festival and offers teenagers an opportunity to participate in the event as journalists and develop their critical skills.

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