English - Monk-ing about on film

30th September 2011 at 01:00

What is it?

"Primary English Resources - Media Literacy" contains two videos for key stages 1 and 2 (P1-3, P4-7), in which film writers and directors show and talk about their work.

Getting started

The first one, Reading Film: The Monk and the Fish, gives upper primary children an opportunity to view the short, enigmatic animation by Michael Dudok de Wit and to hear from him how the story and the animation evolved. De Wit talks about how he came up with the idea, starting with drawings of a monk which he thought would be a nice shape to use for a film. The early drawings were a bit messy, he said, but he simplified them to a clean triangular shape. Thousands of pictures were needed for the film. To make the monk look excited, he got him to raise his arms; for moments of greater tension, he made him jump about. De Wit is shown drawing the original pictures in pencil, which could have been sufficient, he says, but he decided to go over them with strong ink lines, using a brush, and added lots of shadow.

Taking it further

The second video, Reading Film at KS1: Dangle, for use in the classroom, provides the full-length version of the six-minute, live-action film and a lively and illuminating interview with writerdirector Phil Traill. He talks about where the idea for the film came from and how the script evolved. He also describes the process of creating a storyboard and the decisions behind the use of different camera shots. Sound plays a very important role in Dangle, although there's no dialogue and no music. There are also some very clever special effects.

Where to find it


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