The fun project turning school kids into filmmakers

The ‘maker’ movement has taken many forms over the years, but one project is taking it a step further, allowing school kids to be filmmakers.

Glen Carter, principal of Miranda Public School, has been inspiring his students in a very different way – though a project called Film By The Sea (FBTS).

FBTS, currently in its 6th year, 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.
In 2014, FBTS launched a high school component of its project, attracting schools from all over NSW in a major festival culminating in 107 movies being submitted for judging. In 2015, FBTS High School expanded its sphere of schools through its primary school component, continuing to grow and inspire students in film making.
Carter told The Educator that the benefits of FBTS were “endless” but the greatest advocates were the students themselves.
“They love the learning as it is enjoyable and fun but they learn so much more than the technical aspects. They problem-solve, they worked collaboratively they work creatively and best of all they work inclusively,” said Carter.

“Every student has a role to play in film making as there are so many aspects to it. FBTS provides an authentic purpose to motivate teachers, students and schools into working towards a purpose and constantly strive to improve and critique and learn.”

So far, the project has run festivals in Sutherland, Bankstown, the South Coast, Narooma and even Toronto in Canada.
Karen Beutler, FBTS coordinator, told The Educator that learning about the experience of film making was an integral part of students’ learning and a key component of their English syllabus and of visual literacy.
“Students are highly visual learners, and their world is increasingly delivered through film and digital media so it is vitally important that they are provided with the skills to decode, analyse and critique visual images of all kinds,” she said.

Beutler encouraged any principals interested in sponsoring FBTS to get on board, saying the gains, both to students and schools, were “amazing”.

“It becomes an integral part of the yearly planning and does not 'add' to teacher workload but instead, if taught comprehensively with visual literacy, it can actually consolidate and reduce teacher planning,” she said.

Beutler added that she sees further interest in visual literacy growing over time.

“It’s the future of learning and if taught properly will provide students with lifelong lessons and empowerment. It is the key to a new world, and also provide a door to our own culture and heritage.”
To learn more about Film By The Sea, click here.