‘You have to begin ahead’ –Sky Rose, See It Make It, 2015
Arts and Media School Film Club had two challenges, over the last three years. The first was, and continues to be, about progressing KS3 students beyond entry level filmmaking. The second challenge came from the aspiration of club members to make a feature length commercial movie, preferably in the horror genre. Somewhere in between, AMSI Film Club members have managed to document their progressive understanding of the pre-production, production and post-production conventions necessary for making a film, without compromising their ambitions to achieve commercial success. They have also shown their ability to reconceptualise their original paradigms of conventional, popular horror movies towards a more nuanced approach to their immediate context.
The film project Ghost, based on writing originally produced by Y8 students and later adapted by Y7 students, has served as a stimulus to discover how club members can make site specific short films that are relevant to the school community, as well as function as an extension of student voice. Club members’ concern for the persistence of bullying and their curiosity about the mind of the bully motivated a core group of club members to take responsibility for telling a story using moving images. Arguably, a responsibility much the same as embarking on the production of a blockbuster horror movie. Both require self-discipline and creative vision.
In recognition of their resilience, their collaborative work ethic, and for their commitment to pioneering film production in school, AMSI Film Club members have been shortlisted from a longlist of hundreds of schools from all across the nations, for Film Club of the Year (13 and Over), by the film education charity, Into Film. This is a red carpet moment. The Into Film Awards 2017 ceremony takes place on Tuesday 14th March at Odeon Leicester Square. Schools from across the country who have been shortlisted for awards in a range of categories will experience the euphoria of recognition and affirmation from celebrities, ambassadors and champions from the film industry who will lend their support and encouragement to a younger generation of aspirants.
Into Film is financed by the British Film Institute (BFI) National Lottery funding and is the UK’s leading film education charity. The organisation delivers an extensive programme of free curriculum support and teacher CPD as well as facilitating free film club resources aimed to promote young people’s understanding of film culture and the workings of the film industry. The responsiveness of Into Film programme coordinators to the developmental needs of AMSI Film Club, over the years, has been invaluable. Every school shortlisted for an Into Film Award highlights how much creativity and filmmaking talent is present among today’s schools and young people.
From AMSI Film Club’s early days of successfully building student audiences by screening popular films, to more recent months of developing film literacy and oratory skills through a series of workshops, peer-to peer video diaries and peer-to-peer presentations, a rotating team of KS3 AMSI Film Club members has pioneered a creative space for process based experiential learning. In such a space it is possible for young people to access their capacity for deep critical reflection, in conference with their peers.
To complete the present cycle of AMSI Film Club’s production ambitions, in March, club members will be mentored by representatives from three highly regarded organisations, to achieve the type of on-screen success necessary to signal the completion of their production Ghost. These organisations are RADA, Settle Stories and The London Film School. Look out for the results at the end of this academic year.
Martina Attille, AMSI Film Club Leader (2013-2017)
Special thanks to KS3 AMSI Film Club pioneers, AMSI Creative Arts Department , Jane Coulter (Into Film programme coordinator), Carys Wiliams (RADA Widening Participation & Outreach Coordinator), David Anderson (The London Film School Outreach Manager) and Sita Brand (Director, Settle Stories).