Teachers will be able to attend special cinema masterclasses and free screenings through a new club being set up by The TES and the charity Film Education UK-wide.
The Film Academy is open exclusively to TESTESS subscribers, and held its first event last night when producer Hilary Bevan Jones discussed her latest film, The Boat that Rocked. The club will provide teachers with free materials to help them use film in the classroom, as well as an online community forum and information archive.
Ian Wall, founder of Film Education and a former English and media studies teacher at Holland Park School in west London, said the aim was to give teachers opportunities to learn about how films are made and discover aspects of cinema that could help with their lessons.
"Film is a powerful educational tool that can help teachers bring alive key subjects," he said. "We want to give teachers access to the best possible training, resources and people to embellish their teaching."
Each term the academy will focus on a particular film or genre. The first is The Boat that Rocked, a British comedy about a pirate radio station in 1966 that battles against a government intent on shutting it down. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, its cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans and Nick Frost.
"It makes a great subject for the academy's first masterclass as many teachers will remember that period with great fondness and will thoroughly enjoy it," said Mr Wall.
Before producing the film, Ms Bevan Jones produced episodes of State of Play, Red Dwarf and Cracker. She also spent four years working as a teacher. Her masterclass, which was held in London's West End, included a preview screening, a question and answer session that looked at her journey from teacher to film-maker, as well as how teachers can use film to best effect in lessons.
"Whether factual or fictional, a well-made film can provide a succinct starting point for many subjects," she said. "The use of film as a tool for learning is invaluable."
FILM ACADEMY WILL ...
- be exclusive to TESTESS subscribers;
- organise workshops around the UK with leading directors and other film industry professionals;
- provide free classroom materials;
- offer giveaways to events such as film previews and film festivals;
- create an online archive and community that will help all teachers learn how to use film clips and film-making techniques.