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A look at what makes a film funny and other events aimed at Higher media studies and modern studies pupils forms this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival schools programme on August 20-22.

On the first day, industry guests will analyse what makes a good comic film, addressing issues such as whether television formats transfer to the big screen and aspects of writing, performance and editing.

The second day's session will focus on how to get a film made.

The schools programme closely follows the curriculum but has the added glamour of getting to see new films first, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the modern studies film screenings event was a sell-out even before the official notice went out to teachers in June.

The Federation of Black Cowboys (66 minutes) and The New Patriots (18 minutes) depict contrasting contemporary portraits of the United States.

The former, directed by Eric Martz, is about a group of Brooklyn black men who, dressed in cowboy hats, spend their days at Cedar Lane Stables passing out the old wild west rules to New York's wayward youth. Mikey, who is 16, relates how he reformed when he discovered the stables.

In the accompanying short film, five military veterans discuss patriotism and terrorism.

If, as the credits roll, you puzzle over what some of their more obscurely titled film crew do, such as the dolly grip or the best boy, you can download an A-Z of jobs in audio-visual industries from the website of Skillset, the national training organisation for the audio-visual media.

And since you ask, the dolly grip is the person in charge of getting the desired shot using a moveable camera platform (called a dolly) and the best boy is the electrician responsible for ordering and positioning lighting equipment.

Edinburgh International Film Festival, August 13-24 (see careers section)

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