A popular student film festival is going from strength to strength as it improves students’ digital literacy, creativity and collaboration.
Film By (previously Film By The Sea) is an initiative by a small band of dedicated teachers who firmly believe in the positive educational benefits gained from teaching film and film studies.
Now in its 9th year, Film By combines the Four C’s of learning – critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication – by teaching students how to develop, participate in and even lead film projects.
Last year, the initiative showcased more than 500 films from the 900 in its database, and this year it hopes to do more.
On 21 June, Karen Beutler, Film By coordinator, recently attended the State Film Festival at the Bryan Brown Theatre in Sydney.
The event, which celebrated the program’s best short films, was attended by NSW Department Deputy Secretary, Murat Dizdar, renowned Australian actor and Film By ambassador Bryan Brown and hundreds of other guests.
“The atmosphere was electric and the excitement from teachers, principals and students with their families who had travelled from all over NSW to attend, from as far as Broken Hill and Merimbula. Everyone loves a celebration,” Beutler told The Educator.
“We showcased films from all our 2018 festivals, and we tried to provide an opportunity to represent all the communities. their individual stories and aspirations.”
Beutler said the films represented the topics and events that students feel strongly about and can relate to, including some which were “just plain fun”.
‘Show and Tell’ – a film that was put together by a Year 1 class at Kensington Public School – which Beutler said was “clearly one of the audience favourites” – won the Bryan Brown Award.
“There are many tangible benefits for such a festival, and these vary from student to student, teacher to teacher, school to school and community,” Beutler said.
“We see the strengths in the power it provides for students to find their 'voice'. It has proven to be a level playing field, and although I hesitate to use that expression, I cannot find any other appropriate description.”
Beutler said all students grow, engage, collaborate, communicate and develop confidences and skills that other educational experiences often fail to achieve.
“Instead of tall poppies, this initiative grows gardens,” she said.
“The critical reflection that students engage in during the process of making a film is a vital part of film making process, but also a great life skill,” he said.