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The film essay

Exploring curricular filmmaking in the form of a film essay.

We have looked extensively at one-shot and five-shot films during Weeks 1 and 2 of this course but when you’ve mastered the creation of five-shot films you may wish to extend your students’ filmmaking capabilities by introducing different styles of filmmaking. In this and the following step we’ll look at the film essay and narrative films.

Take a look at the example film essay above. A film essay is an idea or topic explored through film. It’s very similar in structure to a written essay but is created in filmic form. One great advantage of the film essay is that it encourages young people to take ownership of their work and engage in active learning.

In addition to the film itself, which evidences topical knowledge, students can provide further evidence of their learning by writing or filming a commentary on what they were hoping to create, what they achieved and an evaluation of their success.

Here are our seven reasons why it’s great to make film essays with your students:

  1. Film essays demonstrate and develop visual thinking

  2. The reiteration of an idea through filmmaking helps students to retain topical learning

  3. Film essays grow ideas through images and sound

  4. Film essays enable young people to take control of, and responsibility for, their own learning

  5. A film essay can demonstrate how clearly a pupil has understood and reconceived an idea

  6. Student voice is at the heart of the essay film.

  7. They allow ideas and reflections on issues that are important to students be communicated in a logical way.

Life through lockdown would be a valuable topic of discussion for a film essay. Can you think of any other topics that would benefit from a project like this?

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Filmmaking and Animation Online and in the Classroom

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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