Into Film: Filmmaking Feature
Into Film is a charity that puts film at the heart of the educational and personal development of children and young people, and engages with over half of UK schools. Alongside a programme of Into Film Clubs, special cinema screenings, educational resources and training to support classroom teaching, fostering a love of filmmaking is key to their mission. Filmmaking can be hugely beneficial to young people of any age because it actively encourages creativity, socialising and the development of their own unique perspective on the world, as well as raising general academic attainment and providing the basis for future career plans. More specifically, it helps them to develop their teamwork, time management and problem-solving abilities.
When it comes to filmmaking, Into Film provide the first stepping stones to introducing a wide-reaching and potentially invaluable subject into the classroom. Six Sessions: From Story to Screen for example is a programme of filmmaking guidance, targeted at both teachers and their students. It aims to simplify filmmaking, enhance the development of filmmaking skills and give a clear structure on how to make a film in half a school term. As the name suggests, there are six individual sessions, each based around a key question that are accessible to young people of all age ranges. Meanwhile, Into Film’s Mini Filmmaking Guides explain professional filmmaking techniques and provide tips for applying them. There are also practical tasks to help anyone hone their skills and further develop an understanding of filmmaking.
One of the main appeals of filmmaking these days is that almost all young people already have a film studio in their pocket, with smart phones and tablets containing the tools to film, edit and share their own moving images. App technology gives everyone the opportunity to be directors, animators and actors, and even green screen technology can cost less than £1 using a piece of green paper and a simple app. There has never been a greater sense that anyone can get involved in the filmmaking process, which is why tools such as Into Film’s iPad filmmaking guide can also be the perfect first step to showing young people the joy of creating their own stories on screen. The guide takes advantage of the fact that most young people will need little or no instruction on how to capture footage with an iPad but helps make that knowledge deeper and the results more cinematic.
Beyond filmmaking for filmmaking’s sake, the techniques involved in the process can also be utilised to bring core curriculum subjects to life and facilitate deeper learning. Into Film’s work in improving literacy across all age groups demonstrates this idea best, with resources such as Film Literacy Activities and – related to the above – Filmmaking and Film Literacy Apps proving extremely popular. As a result, 99% of Educators in a 2019 survey said that Into Film’s offer had improved their students’ literacy skills.
Of course, the easiest way of promoting filmmaking is by providing the opportunity and incentive to try it out through competitions. One of Into Film’s two annual flagship events (together with the Into Film Festival) is the Into Film Awards, which celebrates the best of young UK filmmaking talent across all ages and in both live action and animation short film. All nominees are then invited to a glitzy ceremony in London attended by some of the biggest names in the film industry, from Daniel Craig to Naomie Harris.
An eclectic array of other filmmaking opportunities are available including a Film of the Month competition that invites young people to make any type of film they want, in whatever genre, and can be entered at any time of the year. In May 2020, Into Film launched the Nature in Your Neighbourhood challenge as a response to the COVID-19 school closures and as part of an extensive home learning campaign supporting young people, educators, parents and carers teaching from home. Hundreds of short films from children as young as 7 - made on their smart phones, tablets and cameras - were sent in forming a true ‘time capsule’ of young people’s experience during lockdown. The winning film entry, and the recipient of an extensive filmmaking equipment prize, went to 9-year-old Ted from Yorkshire. Second place went to teenager, Orlaith from Sevenoaks who had been self-isolating for 12 weeks for health reasons and third place was awarded to teenage siblings Anna and Ben who made their film using clay stop-motion animation. Into Film then selected a further 7 runners-up places that showcased unique experiences set against a montage of lockdown imagery including the UK’s support for the NHS, the Black Lives Matter movement, not being able to see their grandparents, Zoom calls, less pollution, a deeper appreciation of family and taking life at a slower pace. You can watch a great compilation of all the Nature in Your Neighbourhood winners at the top of the article.
More recently in late January, Into Film launched the final films for Moving Minds 2; a project that explores mental wellbeing through filmmaking by pairing professional filmmakers with young people across educational institutions including mainstream secondary schools, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs). The films explore a wide range of timely issues such as lockdown isolation, social anxiety and abuse, and can be a perfect vehicle for exploring these themes with other young people. With teachers and many other figures across society reporting the ever-increasing numbers of children and young people 'in mental health crisis' as a result of lockdown, it is crucial to engage with and actively promote youth mental wellbeing. Find out more about the project and watch the final films here: https://www.intofilm.org/news-and-views/articles/moving-minds-2-films
For more information on other aspects of Into Film’s offer, head to https://www.intofilm.org/