FILM EDUCATION CONFERENCE

WELCOMING SPEECH

Ioannis Pantis, Secretary General

Ministry of Education, Research and Religion

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, good morning. As a member of the Ministry of Education, Research & Religious Affairs, I am pleased to welcome you to this landmark two-day Conference and all the more delighted to open its proceedings. This conference traces the status of film education on a transnational level, in Greece, Poland and Hungary. Its major aim is to communicate cinema’s great learning potential and its inherent ability to contribute in the better understanding of school curriculum, most importantly, in the student’s social and aesthetic growth.

Certainly, there exists in Greece the need for education in the media. A broad kind of media education, which without neglecting the production of new audiovisual material, will prioritize and invest on those dimensions of education capable of creating spectators with critical thinking and reasoning.

Allow me to refer to the Hole in the Wall (HIW) experiment initially conducted in 1999 by Sugata Mitra, a researcher in India. Mitra placed a computer in the wall of a kiosk  situated in a slum in Delhi.  He discovered that the computer illiterate neighborhood kids, who were allowed to use it freely, learned quickly. They used the internet, read the news, and downloaded games and music. The experiment has since been repeated in other underdeveloped regions. Each time the outcome was the same. Within a few hours and without any instruction, kids were on-line and surfing the net. The experiment demonstrates how the proliferation of computer science affects societies from all over the world and may have positive outcomes, especially for the underprivileged. Computer science revolution and the variety and dominance of audiovisual products in cultural life, have redefined, amongst other advancements, the notion of poverty.

Today, more than ever before, there is discussion, on a global level, about education in the media, and about the State’s responsibility in establishing and stressing the importance of a comprehensive media literacy program. In Greece, there exist schools with considerable filmmaking activity encouraged by inspired teachers. This is an issue of significance that may lead us into something greater, i.e. finding ways to train teachers in film, and more broadly, helping students express creatively. Just two days prior to the conference, an Open Call, which addresses thematically the Ancient Greek theaters, was launched by the Ministry of Education. The  Call’s objective is to involve students in the production of short films offering tours in ancient theatres. The deadline of the call is on the 15th of April. Schools interested should submit a proposal indicating the ancient theatre or archaeological site to be introduced through film.

Apart from my current position, I am a Professor of Ecology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. I would like to tell you about an innovative approach we have had some time ago in a Postgraduate program. We conducted research on postwar films in order to select visual representations of the Greek region of Attica. We, then, compared them to current ones and were struck by how immensely natural setting has been affected within the last 50 years. Greek postwar films provide evidence of Attica’s profound transformation into an urban environment. In our case, we were mostly interested in what happens to natural settings. Visiting the archival films’ actual location, we discovered coast-lines utterly transformed. More precisely, film was used to make students understand the relationship between past and present in terms of pastoral to urban transformation.

Having past positions as Campus Provost of AUTH, and Head of its School of Film Studies, gives me the opportunity to say that Thessaloniki is privileged for having the Thessaloniki Film Festival and the School of Film Studies.  The Film School is the only one in Greece offering university level qualification in film. Combining forces and forward thinking, these two institutions are altering considerably school education in the Arts, and in particular Film Studies. This is something that needs nurturing. I, therefore, openly suggest to both institutions – I can see people in the audience from either side- to come together and work towards this direction. For its part, the Ministry of Education  wholeheartedly supports and assists programs of substance such as these. The Greek State is looking forward to a substantial and effective film and media education paradigm. This will motivate both the mind and the soul and, therefore, lead to more creative and more insightful observations of the whole world and of life.

Education in the Arts, and specifically in Film, due to the medium’s accessibility and interaction with society, has the potential to open up significant possibilities. Film education and cultural actions are key-parameters in allowing young people to express creatively and explore new ideas. And this is in what education should always be aiming towards. Allowing us to seek out and access  new things and frames of reference in order to evolve. Education is not just about knowledge. In the broader framework of education, cultural activities and all cultural engagement should become linked. More often, than not, this connection is lacking. In the last couple of years, due to the crisis, education is discussed, purely, on financial terms, if you may allow me to say. We constantly speak of costs and of cutting-off expenses. Unfortunately, little to nothing is said about quality, about the benefits of cultural innovation and action.

Economic crisis forced us into a fiscal approach of Education. This is not appropriate. We need to maintain an attitude and look deeply into what is trully substantial. The priority of these actions is simply the ethos of education. Without aiming at this, education will fail us and will fail the generations to come. Film and culture are fields we are indebted to support despite of our economic crisis. I support the idea that we must find ways to ensure any and all investment potential to provide our students quality education.

At the present moment, we are dealing with a refugee crisis, which is an issue of great importance. Think, for example, about refugee hotspots, found in Greek territory, and how culture and knowledge may come to their aid. Screenings for children in the camps are a definite idea. The Ministry of Education will support this kind of attempts, indeed. As I speak, we are in the process of ensuring these steps. Those actions have been presented at EU level. We will make an announcement soon. Likewise, the Thessaloniki Film Festival could, also, devise ways of outreaching, offer hope, together with the School of Film Studies.

Lena Rammou, Advisor of European Audiovisual Programmes MEDIA

Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Dear Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, my friends, good morning. Before proceeding with my speech, I would like to greet and thank the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education with whom it seems that we have many things in common. In fact, listening to his opening speech, I realized that we share the same concerns and line-of-thinking. That is because of EUFORIA program, the multifaceted film education action-plan, commencing, today, with the conference.  Amongst other things, this outreach program, which I am here to present, intends to involve twelve schools from within Greece in a hands-on filmmaking project, giving priority to second opportunity and multicultural ones. Bringing together schools from around the territory this project traces a route from Thessaloniki to Continental Greece leading, finally, to Athens. One of the main aims of the project, and ultimately of EUFORIA, is to engage both students and teachers alike and turn the trainees into trainers. Actually, this is something we have worked in depth in the new proposal we are about to submit to MEDIA, Creative Europe, the deadline of which is on the 3rd of March.

Regarding this new proposal, and out of respect to the refugee crisis, we chose to remain focused on issues of difference and immigration, matters of great concern to the Ministry, as well. In the succeeding EUFORIA, discussions, screenings and film activities seek to highlight the various aspects of the European migrant crisis and to provoke youth’s creative reaction. On top of all these, the 18th Documentary Festival, which begins in the 11th of March, pays tribute to immigration. Taking into account all the above and the Ministry of Education’s apparent wish to assist, I feel the confidence that the Ministry will encourage our efforts and provide support.

As an Advisor on European Audiovisual Programs (MEDIA) in the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and counting an 8-year long experience in Media Desk Hellas when it still belonged to the Ministry of Press back in 1997, I am here, today, with you, and would like to welcome you to the Conference’s proceedings. This two-day Conference and all other educational programming designed by EUFORIA were made possible through funding received by Creative Europe’s MEDIA program. We have been granted 150.000 euro. At this point, I would like to stress how important collaboration between EUFORIA and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) would be. Let us not forget, that AUTH is the only university in Greece offering a university level qualification in Film through its School of Film Studies. A synergy between us and the University, aiming at improving the prospects of film education’s development, seems rather obvious.

EUFORIA proposal was submitted to MEDIA’s Audience Development sector within the context of Media Literacy. When we received from MEDIA the letter informing us of our application’s approval and of the 150.000 euro grant, we could hardly believe it. It should be pointed out that out of the 39 submissions that managed to get to second round assessment those selected for funding were just 12, most submitted by educational institutions. It is rather odd that a Festival managed to pool through and to receive funding primarily aimed at education. Allow me to say that we feel really proud.

The Thessaloniki Film Festival, performing as leader and coordinator of EUFORIA’s transnational network, also, formed by Laterna Magica, a Hungarian cultural organization, and SAN, a Polish university based in Lotz, submitted the proposal. The name EUFORIA stands for European Films for Innovative Audience Development. The title, inspired by the Greek word euphoria, signifies the pleasure the viewer experiences through the consumption of audiovisual works.

I would like to share with you an extract from our assessment: “This project gives the opportunity to deal with questions of European politics and identity, and at the same time to get to know the medium of film as a tool of research. It has a high European added value of partnership between nations with similar backgrounds. It presents diverse strategies to reach audience (especially young and non-core), underlining its multilingualism, its web platform and the existing networks of partners. This is an innovative proposal on film and digital filmmaking.”

We much appreciate the European Committee for giving us this opportunity, especially in this time in history that our country experiences a major financial crisis and European funding represents valuable and essential resource. And, since our funding resource is MEDIA, which aims to support initiatives that can generate a real impact for the sector across Europe, I believe that I should say a few words about it, before revealing its deeper connection with EUFORIA.

Why does the European audiovisual sector need assistance? Each year, in Europe, approximately 2 billion Euro are being spent on audiovisual production through national policies. This number corresponds to almost 600 film productions per year. Out of these 600, how many reach the big, or, even, the small screen, and how many will we, after all, watch? Think, for instance, how many European films, apart from those English speaking, the average Greek watches. Think, also, how many out of those that he will, eventually, watch come from European countries other than the major ones. At the same time, 90% of the box office’s profit in our continent comes from the American film industry.

The disproportional distribution of European films and the minimal access European audiences have, in reality, to their own film histories, result in audiences feeling alienated from their own and their neighbors’ cultures. Maybe, before thinking of competing with the American film industry, we should try and make European films prevail in Europe. This is what MEDIA aims for since its inception and implementation in 1991.

And as is natural for society to progress, similarly the audiovisual sector is bound to face significant technological, financial and societal changes sparked by globalization. The preservation, as well as the adaptation of European social and cultural values requires, among other things, an ever-evolving European film policy.  The demand for cultural diversity and voices of different origin manifests the need to maintain public funding for cinema. Yet, and contrary to all expectations, European creators are still encouraged to produce works attractive to audiences worldwide. All the while, it is demanded of us to provide answers to questions like, “In what way could different cultures and countries come to respect one another?”, “How could we manage social cohesion and deter communities from social exclusion and competition?”, and many others.

What is for certain is that film’s proven ability to communicate and make difference be understood, creates bridges, equally important to its impact on national cultures and economies.  Perhaps, we should have been talking about European cinemas, and not just about a single European cinema, keeping in mind the diversity and the universal values found in every European country. I am sure that within the framework of a cultural policy focusing exclusively to culture, communication could have been better.

To respond to international competition, both on financial and commercial levels, we should turn our unique characteristics into our comparative advantage.  Polyphony, multilingualism, our deep historical routes, our social sensitivity, our cultural essence are elements that the European cinema should and must communicate.

The goal is not to imitate the American cinema. I believe that under the creative guidance and expression of the European AV sector’s professionals, it is possible to achieve unity, to consolidate European values and vision. The significance of audiovisual expression is obvious and, further, validated by 21st century’s progress and civilization. We are glad that MEDIA succeeded entering its 5th implementation stage in 2014, lasting up until 2020, and anticipate its outcomes. The comparative advantage of the European audiovisual sector is its human capital, the creative origins of its film professionals, and the respective national and European policies.

Thank you for your attention. Please excuse me for taking my time. I wish every success to the conference. Thank you.

SPEACHES

Media Literacy and Media Education in Hungary

Dr. Peter Muszatics, DLA Budapest University of Theater and Film

Main Organizer, CineFest – Miskolc International Film Festival
Curator of CineClassics Series

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am here to speak about Hungary’s media education landscape and media literacy level. I would like to start my presentation with a short historical overview. Everything started in the 1960s with Bela Balazs, the leading film theorist of the 20s and 30s. Balazs wrote Film Culture, one of film theory’s fundamental textbooks worldwide. Although he wrote it in German, he also translated it himself into Hungarian. In time, Film Culture became a basic reference on the topic.

In the 1960s, simultaneously with Hungary’s film growth, a movement made its appearance that intended to teach film culture to kids and students. It evolved as a response to this new approach adopted in the fields of film history and theory. There was another book, like Balazs’ one, which, also, proved of great significance to education. Written by Istvan Bolcs,  this book focused on film history and film culture. After all, discussion in the 1960s was about film and its history, not about media. At that time, the approach was different. Istvan Bolcs’ book, which was widely used in Hungary, remained popular for almost 20 years. Mostly used in high schools, and by certain Hungarian universities, it was rather a book for film enthusiasts teaching in this field.

In the 1970s things were in decline. There were no teachers and no real interest in the field. Then, in the 1980s, a movement appeared aiming at raising consciousness on film history and film theory. During the 1990s, certain groups, operating under the name Motion Picture Education, ensured support from city authorities and, even, from the State. These groups worked towards building a framework for film and media education. In 1995, the Hungarian government established the National Core Curriculum (Nemzeti Alaptanterv), which is, basically, the national education program. For the first time, media education was incorporated in national education. From then on, it was possible to teach film history and media in high schools and almost in all Hungarian schools.

There was a very enthusiastic start, but, at the same time, it was a difficult one. The intention to teach media came with the realization that they were becoming more and more important to kids. As media entered everyday life, it seemed extremely important to give students the keys that would enable them understand and approach media in the right way. Mozgokep- és mediaismeret (Motion Picture & Media Knowledge), a book written by Laszlo Hartai, was used as basic reference material – it is still in use and quite popular in high schools, even today. However, media was never taught as an independent subject in school, but, mostly through the subject of literature and for one hour per week. This might not be much, but, it certainly was something. It, also, meant that things were moving towards the right direction.

So, what kind of media education was the one I have just referred to? First of all, it aimed in providing kids basic motion picture knowledge and in introducing them to film history.  Pedagogical methods were employed in order to show kids how to use the camera, the microphone, and generally media equipment. More than simply illustrating the use of media and mass communications, this type of media education went on to establish the connections between the various media outlets as focus was not just on film and television. New media, like the internet, were also included.

As already said, it was mostly through the subject of literature that teaching on this particular field was made possible.  Within a context as such, film adaptations of famous novels were examined, as well as the expressive means different art forms employ. Even though reception was enthusiastic during 2000 and 2005, the long-term prospects of media education in Hungarian schools seemed bleak. There weren’t enough teachers, and those who wished to teach media didn’t have the appropriate skills.  No doubt, there has been a much promising start.  In reality, however, this media education scheme proved difficult to implement, especially in the countryside. As it turned media education existed in theory in the national core curriculum.  Practice showed that there were major flaws.

Nevertheless, media education has always been a main issue in the educational agenda and year after year some really inspired and enthusiastic teachers made a difference  by running projects worth mentioning as examples of model practice. Buvosvolgy, Magic Valley in English, is one of them. This project/program has its own homepage, buvosvolgy.hu, which is quite extensive. You can check it out. It was established two years ago and its vision was to show-case media in practice. It’s important to note, that the program is available to the entire country. Run by a center located in Budapest’s 2nd district, it provides to students from around the country access to media. They can visit the center and use the available equipment in order to learn mass media in practice. It is aimed to kids aged from 9 to 16, primary and secondary school level.  There are, even, free buses that take students to Budapest and ensure attendance from afar. I quote the project’s mission: “Teach children how to use media in a more conscious and safe way”. These words are important: consciousness and safety. They are important because during the last decade, and especially during the last couple of years, safety and media use have become major issues.

What do students do in this project? First of all, they are involved in the making of a film.  Kids use the studio to make short, simple films. They, also, get the know-how of a news report. It is very important that they become familiar with the production of news. They make radio programs, try their hands in broadcasting, create their own ads and even have access to and make use of mobile communication methods.

I consider this to be an effective project, but, at the same time, it’s a single project. I think Hungary and other European countries need more projects as such. I should point out, here, that media education differs widely from place to place in Hungary. Contrary to kids in the capital, kids living in small villages of Eastern Hungary have less opportunity in terms of media education, of reaching new media methods, of seeing and understanding how media function. There exist huge differences.

Moreover, the field of media education calls for an ever increasing number of teachers, both enthusiastic and knowledgeable. One hour per week of media education is not enough, just the opposite. There should be more teaching hours.  A research, conducted and published a few months ago, by Mr. Laszlo Szekely, the Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, is quite an extensive study looking into media education and media literacy in Hungary. The results of this study are far from satisfying. They indicate that the challenge is bigger than ever before. Kids need much more help in understanding the ways in which the media landscape develops around them. This becomes evident when we look into media’s incessant progress and effect over kids’ everyday lives. Just think of the internet and of mobile communication methods. In other words, the challenge is great. And the situation becomes even more complicated if we add up the level and the amount of information kids have to absorb and comprehend.

According to this study, helping kids understand the world, in general, and approach it in a critical manner, is of great significance.  It is essential to assist them create a distance between what is real and the man-made reality of media world. I know this is cliche. However, and especially in countries like Hungary where media education is not considered as important as in other countries like France, Germany or Britain, things have to change. In my opinion, this is a matter of emergency since kids are somehow in danger.

The study has provided evidence for 833 teachers currently teaching media education in Hungary with just 27% of them being qualified. I do not think that having a degree in this field is the most important thing. If a teacher is enthusiastic and knowledgeable, it’s okay. But the fact that only 27% of the teachers are qualified is an impressive statistic. There are other projects run by film distribution companies interested in education, in setting up film clubs and in outreaching young audiences. My colleague, Emese Erdos, who is here, will speak in detail about these.

I would like to finish by saying a few things about Son of Saul, a film directed by Laszlo Nemes. This brilliant Hungarian film is competing for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. It was quite popular in Hungary where it had more than 150,000 admissions. I know that this doesn’t sound much, but, according to Hungarian standards it is huge. In Hungary, 150,000 admissions represent a big number. Regular screenings with film introductions and Q&As were planned in different cinemas.  The film made great impression to teachers and teachers used the film to reach out to kids. You might know the film. Though a hard and brutal story, the film  has its own original approach to the Holocaust. It might alter the Hungarian media landscape due to its appeal to youth. As for media education, the challenge is bigger than even before, and not just in Hungary. I think it’s a European problem. Thank you very much.

Key Theories and Critical Approaches on Film Literacy. Interconnection or Interruption from Media Literacy?

Eirini Andriopoulou, Member of EU Media & Film Literacy Expert

Secretariat General of Information & Communication, Directorate of Mass Media, Audiovisual Archive

What is Film Literacy?

Film Literacy, Film Education: It is a basic tool for passing from mere viewing to a deeper cognitive procedure, which does not exclude however the feeling of visual pleasure. It consists a fundamental element of media literacy that is, it involves the following parameters:

  1. technical skills → access to linear and non-linear content, multiple formats
  2. critical and cognitive skills → filtering and evaluation of media messages, critical content analysis of media and the medium itself, in relation to seminal environmental factors
  3. social, communicative skills → facilitation for content creation by relevant media stakeholders, by viewers – users-consumers (especially minors), turning them, thus into active communicators and content providers. Active citizenship skills are also included under this strand.

EU Reports and Studies

In 2012: European Study “Screening Literacy in Europe” funded by Creative Europe/MEDIA, action Film Literacy. The British Film Institute was in charge of the EU Consortium. The outcome was an EU report mapping film literacy in typical and non typical education in 30 countries in the EU.  (http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/studies/literacy-country-profiles_en.pdf)

In 2015: Framework for Film Education in Europe (http://www.bfi.org.uk/screening-literacy-film-education-europe). Also, under Creative Europe/MEDIA. It set the ideal scheme and content of a Pan-European framework for film literacy. Greece was partner to both Consortiums, through FLAG Group.

International Mobility …

Film Literacy goes beyond teaching mere creative production skills, although they consist a major part of it. Ultimately, it offers original, innovative and challenging methods for a brand new audiovisual alphabetism that uses moving image as a main didactic tool.

Film Literacy invites and challenges educators and students towards an alternative “reading and writing” of filmic content and narrative, based on their own experiential knowledge and personal affiliations.

This a posteriori affirmation contributes to a maximum understanding and comprehension of the worldview (social knowledge) as well as reinforces cooperative learning and student-centered pedagogy among educators and educated. By and large, it promotes arts and culture through an alternative, critical aesthetic viewing and by setting challenging questions on modern society.

Key Critical Theories

Main premise: Nowadays, children are NOT media illiterate since they have their first media interaction from early preschool age, they are the so-called “digital natives” in relation to their old-school parents who are digital immigrants. The basic theoretical school of thoughts on film literacy in typical environment and lifelong learning  are (Bazalgette, 2007) are the following, known as the 3Cs.

  1. Critical Approach

Besides primary level reading, there is also the possibility of a multi-level reading (eg. obvious vs latent content, formula, formulaic structure, environmental and temporal issues, use of media language, connotative image, and other content analysis methods). It uses Textual and Contextual analysis tools intertwined with Audience Studies and  Mass Media & Communication Models:

  • Compares the content of a filmic work that is literature – based with the original work (distinguishing features of each genre, commonalities and differences in the plot / storyline, characters, setting etc.)
  • Offers comparison among filmography of the same director / film movements (eg. Dogma 95, neo-realism, Greek weird cinema).
  • Offers comparison among different directorial approaches on a given topic (eg. refugees crisis)
  • Offers recognition of a narrative genre and its concrete characteristics (short film docs, experimental film, historical documentary)
  1. Creative Approach

It is by far the most popular approach in Greece.  Indicative examples include:

  • Olympia International Film Festival / Camera Zizanio, MYTHOS Project
  • Youth4Greece – Safer Internet.gr
  •  VideoMuseums – KARPOS, EDU TV
  • Student Competition of Short Films, Drama Festival, Edu TV, ERT, Cyprus
    Embassy
  • MEDEA AWARDS, EDU TV
  •  Film Workshops Chania Crete

All in all, “learning by doing” as a pedagogical methodology combined with experiential engagement are, nonetheless, the most entertaining aspect of film literacy, since they are based on a dynamic communicative procedure. In other words, students actively take part to all stages of production of filmic works.  This approach, engages a subjective reading & writing: Students extend and promote new ways for approaching a film in content analysis, new means for artistic expression, that often are different from the adult’s eye.

Towards common paradigm & crossing paths …

Media & Film Literacy: They engage an inter-scientific approach in contextualization methods. They use facts and schemes from:

  • Audience Development Theories
  • Mass  Media and Communication Models
  • ICTs / New forms of content  / content convergence / new media platforms
  • Social and cultural studies on film  analysis (Laura Mulvey, Freud)
  • Linguistics, Semiotics and Structuralism (F. de Saussure)
  • Audiovisual / Media Production Theories

This paradigm may be compared with the relationship between… a blind and an elephant! Both sides can sense the presence of each other in the room but in a latent form (Tyner, 1992).  As a result, both actors (communicators and viewers, in our case) do not have full knowledge and a holistic picture of all the formative parameters thus, often are lead to wrong judgments and one-sided assumptions.

In Greece, there is great need for an assigned body in the form of an Observatory that will be engaged in self-regulatory and co-regulatory actions and will act as monitoring body of all actions on media and film literacy on a national level. It may also, deal with some or all of the following intertwined media & film literacy issues :

  • open & effective access to audiovisual works / archives / media artefacts
  • creative management & utilization of archives in the context of cultural education (productions based on primary and derivative content)
  • facilitate procedures regarding copyright issues of audiovisual works for educational use in typical and non typical education
  • provide pedagogical models for teaching media literacy in the curriculum (dilemma between cross-curricular or autonomous course?). Handbooks, guidelines etc.
  • advise on the most appropriate narrative genre in the classroom (short film,
    feature films, kids films or adults ?)
  • ensures adequate and up-to-date lifelong learning and capacity building of educators and media professionals in media

However, the most crucial and important element of all is the content itself that is, the audiovisual works that have pedagogic character and are addressed specifically to children. This shall be:

  • Classified as appropriate per age/ theme / education level / artistic criteria / polysemy of storyline / special effects / directorial movements
  • Relevant and fit the occasion / subject
  • Can be accessed from a technical point of view and of high quality
  • Can be easily and burden-free retrieved in the context of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and databases
  • Available on an easy-to-use format (live or On Demand)
  • We shall also have the freedom to chose from a variety of film genres (classical vs popular cinema, national vs international)

To Conclude …

We shall not forget that film literacy (shall) remain always a pathway for a “Joyous Wisdom” or “Gay Science” (Nietzsche), offering cultural and aesthetic sufficiency. And this shall be the driving force behind any grass root film literacy action, in order to have sustainability and maximum impact to user’s cultural and media identity.

The Secretariat General for Media and Communication, through its assigned department of Audiovisual Media & Archives, is the main public service, key media actor that shapes the EU agenda and coordinates the European a/v policy  (EC, CoE). In the same context, it is member of the EC Media Literacy Expert Group (DG CONNECT), shaping media literacy policy from a holistic point of view.

Polish System of Film Education: Main Tendencies Filmoteka Szkolna (The School Film Archive): A Successful Idea of Film Education

Dr Malgorzata Jakubowska, Professor

Department of Audiovisual Culture and Medias, University of Lodz, Poland

Filmoteka Szkolna (The School Film Archive): A successful idea of film education

The presentation focuses on Filmoteka Szkolna, which is the film education programme run by the Polish Film Institute since 2009. It is Poland’s first nationwide film education programme (for pupils aged 12-19) available to all secondary schools. As a state cultural institution, the Polish Film Institute is subject to the Ministry of Culture & National Heritage and Filmoteka Szkolna is about 50% financed from the budget given by the Ministry.

The project is based on a collection of 121 Polish films accessible free-of-charge to all     (14 000) middle and secondary schools in Poland through the website:  www.filmotekaszkolna.pl.  The main goal is to enable young people to approach cinema consciously and critically, to understand the meaning of film in artistic and social life; its role in the discourse of the state’s  history and creative output, and to teach basic techniques and approaches of film expression. The collection is divided into 54 topics, such as: ‘Camera morality’, ‘Crossroads of history’, ‘New aesthetics’, ‘Around national stereotypes’, ‘Between fiction and reality’, ‘Painting inspirations’, ‘Equality, Diversity, Democracy’. The programme is related to curricula of such subjects as Polish art, history, and citizenship. I will draw on the main tasks of FILMOTEKA SZKOLNA, its tendencies, evolution and new perspectives, as well as on the methodological structure of film box (topic) for teachers and pupils.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be here and to participate in Euforia Program and its conference. Today, I would like to provide some insight into Polish film education, its tendencies, and briefly refer to some of the most important Polish projects.

Poland has a long tradition of filmmaking marked by directors like Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Krzysztof Kieslowski, Roman Polanski and Agnieszka Holland, whose work abroad has significantly contributed to the achievements of World Cinema. Polish cinema has, also, been known for cinematographers such as Janusz Kaminski and Slawomir Idziak, whose creative output is appreciated worldwide. Their accomplishments have set standards of excellence that are being followed by new generations of Polish filmmakers.

Now more than ever before, it is necessary to develop film education for new generation Polish viewers. Youth should not just simply watch and try and understand films. They should become aware of film’s contribution in shaping contemporary audiovisual culture and in reflecting European heritage.

Film Education in Poland is highly prioritized and dealt by the Ministries of National Education, Science & Higher Education and Culture & National Heritage, all of which cooperate in this field trying to meet future challenges and work out solutions.

To begin with, I would like to explain how Polish education is structured. In Poland, education is centrally managed by two institutions, the Ministry of National Education & General Vocational Education and the Ministry of Science & Higher Education. National Education policy is discussed and carried out centrally, while its administration is decentralized.

Full-time compulsory education refers to children and young people aged from 6 to 16, whereas part-time compulsory education provided either at school, or, at the employer’s premises, concerns 16 to 18 year olds. Full-time compulsory education spans nine years, with six years spent at primary school and 3 years granted to lower secondary school. Upper secondary school, which is not compulsory, is attended by the vast majority of population and refers to 16-20 year olds. Higher education is autonomous and covers only a few fields of study including that of filmmaking. It is structured with 3-year long undergraduate degrees and 2 year long postgraduate degrees. Adult education is, in general, governed by both public and non-public institutions.

Poland’s film education system can be traced back in higher education, in education for schools and education for viewers. I would like to conclude this part of my presentation by referring to higher education and education for schools. Actually, the most significant one as far as our subject is concerned. (visuals)

Higher education’s filmmaking degrees depend on the Ministry of Culture & National Heritage. Here, you can see our film school, the National Film School in Lodz, Wajda School etc. What needs to be stressed is that higher education, qualifying students as film critics and experts in cinema & media culture is taken care by the Ministry of Science & Higher Education. In other words, the Polish education system separates decisively theory from practice, which in my opinion, is not the best solution. I think it is better for students to be able to navigate both areas. Here (visual), are some of the most important Polish universities offering degrees in Cinema, Film Theory and Media.

Film education is, also, promoted by various organizations and institutions active in the fields of culture. The Polish Film Institute and the National Film Archive are the most important ones. It seems, however, that there is insufficient collaboration between the two organizations and museums like the Cinematography Museum in Lodz etc.

The Polish Film Institute is the newest film institute in Europe. It was established in 2005 in accordance to the cinematographic law voted, at the time, by the Polish Parliament. Its structure and mode of operation emulate other European support mechanisms for the film industries. The declaration, adopted by the Council of Film Institutes in London, in 2003, has, amongst other things, determined the mission of the Polish Film Institute: “State film-institutes in Europe exist to support national and European film culture and industry.” The Institute’s principal aim is to provide Polish film industry with a modern support mechanism, spanning from the development of film projects to promotion, distribution and circulation of Polish and European films. The main idea is transparency and providing financial support by means of grants and expert-commissions. Here, (visual) you can see how budget is structured. What needs to be underlined is Polish Film Institute’s activity in terms of film education.

I would like to focus on one of Poland’s most extensive and interesting projects, called Polish Film Academy. This project, which provides access to information on Polish film history, films, directors, actors etc. from a variety of sources, has its own website, available in English, too. Here is the platform. (visual) This project offers a two-year course concentrating on the history of Polish Cinema. The course involves 24 screenings and 12-14 lectures given by Film Studies experts from all over the country. The experts, who deliver the speeches, come from different universities and cover a variety of subjects. This way the participants are being introduced to multiple subjects, issues and perspectives. An interesting and very appealing part of the course is that having to do with students meeting the artists. There are 12-14 sessions planned with artists that students enjoy immensely. The course ends with an exam. On the project’s website, apart from academic resources such as articles, essays, interviews etc., there are, also, available short videos of the lectures. These video lectures allow students to recall the lectures’ main points, rethink the issues under question and revise for exams.

The Polish Film Academy is organized in different Polish towns, some of which are Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz.  Aimed mostly at Humanities students, the project is, also, open to the general public. I know from experience that many of those who decide to attend do it because of personal interest and a wish to know more about film. Moreover, Polish Film Academy was formed so as to respond to the needs of other student groups, like Erasmus.

The University of Lodz has incorporated Polish Film Academy as an optional course in the curriculum. Whoever chooses to take this course is expected to complete the semesters with a passing grade.  Many students from the fields of Journalism and Humanities attend the course proving the project’s masterminds, who thought it would happen so, right.

The second presentation, I have prepared, refers to a project that is dedicated to schools. Run by the Polish Film Institute since 2009, it has engaged teachers, educators and students aged 12 to 19. It is the first nationwide film education program in Poland that is open to all secondary schools. As a state cultural institution, the Polish Film Institute is subject to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Fifty per cent of its annual budget comes from the Ministry. The rest is covered through cooperations with various public and non-public institutions.

Initially, the project was a package of DVDs and books. The collection consisted of 121 Polish films and was organized under 54 topics, some of which were and still are: “power of symbol”, “camera morality”, “crossroads of history”, “new aesthetics”, “around national stereotypes”, “between fiction and reality”, “painting inspirations”, “equality”, “diversity”, “democracy” etc. The program is linked to school curricula, and particularly to subjects such as Polish literature, history and citizenship. Let me underline, here, a problem, also, observed by the previous speaker. Film education does not exist as a separate, autonomous subject in school curricula.

I would like to proceed with Filmoteka Szkolna’s evolution, tendencies, various perspectives and methodological approaches. One of the basic rules regarding the original collection was that it would comprise mostly fiction films. Here is (extracts/visuals) Andrei Wajda’s “Ashes and Diamonds” and two other short films. In the process of time, the idea of providing knowledge solely on fiction films seemed insufficient and, therefore, documentaries were gradually added to the collection. It is very important to think of ways to attract students’ attention in this particular area. Here is the documentary “Brat” and “A Short History of Round Table” (extracts/visuals). There is, also, a commentary section, with comments made by Film Academics and by film students. This section proved very popular. Another attractive aspect of the project is a competition in which students from different secondary schools make a film which comments on camera use. Making films about this topic was highly appreciated.

The collection of films is accessible free of charge by all middle and secondary schools in Poland through the program’s website. Once the activities and the services, I have just described, complemented the initial package of DVDs and books, teachers were instantly drawn to the platform and logged in to organize screenings during their classroom sessions.

Teaching resources and other instructional material like film reviews, articles, interviews, lesson scripts and methodologies are made available through the platform. Here (visual) you can see the website. It is in Polish and what is interesting is that there is a link leading to Polish Film Academy.

To support schools using Filmoteka Szkolna’s films in class, there exist three-month Online       Courses offered to teachers and pupils alike. Designed to give useful advice and instructions, these courses have educators comment on work done online. The greatest advantage of Film School is the network of 23 teachers that it has built. Those teachers, based across Poland, function as lead practitioners and provide directions to other teachers who wish to make use of the platform. Those upper education teachers and pupils, who make use of the platform, also, participate in various initiatives, directly or indirectly linked to film, such as school film clubs, festivals, workshops, urban   games etc. Up until 2014, the Polish Film Institute has equipped approximately 17 schools with film screening and editing spaces. These spaces, which amounted to 30.000 zlotys ca 6.600 euro each, were gradually turned into local centers for film education.

The School Film Archive Academy aimed both at students and teachers takes place in Warsaw Film School. It mainly organizes film workshops for schools across Poland. The workshops are designed to introduce the basics of cinematography focusing on film narration, editing, film language and style. In the School Film Archive Academy’s website, teachers find instructions on how to design and implement student film-editing workshops. The platform has, also, 6 short films relating to film/documentary, script-writing, camera use, the microphone, editing etc. I would like to show you a film from this section. The idea behind it is very simple. It originated from Krzysztof Kieslowski’s film documentary “Talking Heads”, wherein the director asks the same three questions to different people. Similar to Kieslowski, students asked different people the following questions:  “Who are you?”, “What do you want?” and “What are you afraid of?”

Last, but not least, is School Film Archive’s Cinema Therapy. This is an excellent title for a section focusing on the sociological and psychological issues film raises. It is aimed only at teachers and it involves lectures and discussions on ethics, social and political problems.

To sum up, the School Film Archive‘s budget is approximately 600,000 zlotys annually (ca. 140,000 euros). About 250 schools attend this project and what is important is that they are not only city-schools, but, schools from the countryside, too. Moreover, 1.000 schools take advantage of the services provided and about 7,000 teachers log in and use the platform.

I think that both the Polish Film Academy and the School Film Archive are models of good practice for developing film education. Thank you for your attention.

The failures of EU audiovisual policy: Can European Disintegration be Reversed through Cinema Narratives?

Dr. Sophia Kaitatzi-Whitlock, Professor of Politics & Political Communication

School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki ©

 

  1. Introduction

This presentation focuses on three issues. First, the challenges posed by the digital regime to public communication and the battle for human attention. Secondly, the impact of the ‘Television without Frontiers’ (TWF) policy, that has been applied in the European Union (EU) for the last thirty years (1989-2017). I assess the damage caused by this legislation on societies, polities and on the European audiovisual and cultural sectors. Thirdly, I launch a proposal for the creative role that European film-making could play, through its narratives, in bringing the life-stories of mixed European families to the fore, the children of such families being ‘doubly European’. I argue that by screening stories of this particular population group, film makers could inspire a new European integration process and contribute to the revitalizing of European  society.

  1. The Effect of Digital Regimes and Frameworks on Human Attention

Exorbitant amounts of digital information and stimuli are off-loaded constantly and delivered, often forcibly, to overwhelmed ‘recipients’[1]. Such intense processes overload and confuse sensory and cognitive systems, encumbering human bio-rhythms. They affect all but are particularly grave for children and the young. The younger generations lack the experience of analogue content and transmissions and, hence, lack also a measure of comparing between analogue and digital signals. They are more impressionable and vulnerable to massive, speedily circulating messages. As a result, those born in the digital era are more likely to be misled when processing, decoding and interpreting information of all kinds, especially visual stimuli. They are less well equipped to decipher multiple layers of meaning, and more exposed to loaded, volatile, manufactured messages.

It is therefore imperative that media education enters the general school curriculum. Such skills aid students to navigate through and rationalize a highly complex digital regime, to become active users, aware that the audiovisual ‘world’ is a construct that can be “undone” or redone. Otherwise, the consequences may be severely detrimental. This suggests the radically changed framework of information and communication habitats within which we must continue operating. Another key aspect of the new regime is an inherently acute and incessant competition for human attention, sought by all those who share out, market and supply information.

  1. Television Without Frontiers: A Failed Framework Policy and its Impact

The EC/EU entered the terrain of cultural policy with the renowned ‘Television Without Frontiers’ directive, adopted in 1989. The TWF directive was launched as a tool towards a borderless audiovisual ‘promised land’. In the 1980s it was argued explicitly or suggested implicitly that European citizens were going to enlarge their horizons, learn and benefit from the creative capacity of other Europeans through symbolic exchanges of their own films, documentaries, TV shows and audiovisual products more generally. Notwithstanding linguistic, cultural and material discrepancies, Europeans would ostensibly enjoy a cornucopia of rich audiovisual services and in this way they would soon start to understand better one-another, which would create the much needed rapprochement. According to the rhetoric of the overarching economic and political project for the integration of the EC/EU, the peoples of the continent were to become  familiarized and forge bonds with each other irrespective of historical conflicts or divergent material interests. In short, this framework policy was projected as the mechanism for the much sought-after European integration process. But the claimed objectives, rhetoric and ideology of this policy never brought tangible results.

Official statistics reveal that most non-English-language, European audiovisual creations tend to not get screened in EU member states national broadcasting outlets. With the exception of occasions such as film festivals and fringe film-clubs, theatre viewing of other than national creative works is rare or simply impossible. The policy was in other words an utter failure. Who gained from this? The TWF was successful strictly for the commercial profits of American content exporters and of the dominant European media. More precisely, this was a policy which served the profit interests of the Motion Picture Export Association of America (MPEAA), i.e. Hollywood exporters, and of a handful of EU commercial broadcast media companies such as RTL, Canal Plus, Sky Television, ITV and Mediaset.

In effect the TWF policy undermined the European public interest in symbolic public goods directly. Implementation monitoring studies demonstrate (a) that the single largest portion of non-national programmes screened on European channels are made in the USA, which are, by definition, irrelevant to EU citizens’ immediate interests or concerns; (b) that common transfrontier public spheres devoted to Europolitics failed to be established in which Europeans might have shared and exchanged views on their complex supranational res-publica; (c)  that because of emphasis on commercial profile and on global audiences, but also due to uneven competition, the commercial trans-frontierism implicit in TWF gave rise to hegemonic ‘mega’ EU channels. These largely disregarded European citizens and the European project. So, they did not serve the socio-political interests of citizens, and failed to address their concerns across EU member states[2]. Moreover, a negative consequence of this shift afflicted European audiovisual production directly[3]. Creative national cinema industries, which had been flourishing until the introduction of the TWF policy, were harmed economically. Regional audiovisual sectors of EU member states were also damaged, irreparably in some cases.

Culturally and politically TWF counteracted political communication exchanges and knowledge-sharing among Europeans through their audiovisual spaces and creations. De facto lack of transmissions and exchanges resulted in keeping Europeans ignorant[4] and separating and alienating them from one another culturally. So, contrary to the slogans of ‘trans-frontierism’, TWF was actually lucrative only for dominant global-sized market players. Arguably, it delivered the coup de grâce to the European integration process. Indeed, a process of social alienation and of sociopolitical disintegration in Europe was set in motion by this market-lead and market-driven policy. Such an instance of extreme alienation was seen recently in the suspicious stances towards Greece adopted by media and politicians from central European countries, that culminated in manifestly hostile pronouncements during the refugee crisis.

Contradictory Goals and Paradoxical Results

It is remarkable that in the ‘protectionist’ ancien regime of international trade relations, cinema goers had many opportunities to watch foreign films, including European works. They could watch films originating from countries all over the world. Thirty years ago Europeans did actually watch films from different continents. People in Greece remember enjoying superb films from France, Italy, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, India, Cameroon or Peru. In our time, films of such diverse origin are almost extinct both in cinemas and on broadcast networks. So, in the past we had ample cultural diversity. What is the true situation in the present era of liberalisation? Hungarian, Italian or Polish-made films are not readily projected, if at all, on Greek channels, whether commercial or Public Service Broadcasters. On the rare occasion that such films are included in TV schedules they tend to be placed in odd transmission zones. The truth is that non-national and non-Hollywood origin films are extremely rarely shown. So, since the TWF policy Europeans are culturally impoverished and condemned to monolithic and monopsonistic Hollywood product outlets.

Between these two periods came first the European TWF  policy and secondly the European capitulation at the closure of the Uruguay Round of GATT trade negotiations for the liberalization of services also of cultural sectors. By sacrificing its cultural sectors and by failing to defend them Europe sold its soul. But this is already turning into a boomerang effect. It is precisely because of the TWF policy that the public spheres of EU member states continue to be nationally segregated and introverted today. Europeans gained no common audiovisual space, nor any transborder symbolic publicness. Instead we witness lowest common denominator shows, Euro-scepticism, nation-centric approaches, insulting projections against other Europeans and even rampant intra-European racism[5]. This is not what Europeans wanted, nor what they deserve. Yet they are condemned to follow these dangerous paths. Certainly things didn’t turn out as proclaimed. At a European level we are currently witnessing widespread euro-scepticism, deep intercultural alienation, incidents of nationalistic provocations and even intra-European racism[6].

  1. The Art of Cinema – Moving Art as Movement

Cinema as an art form and a medium encompasses a sui generis language of the moving image which renders the artistic output of capturing storytelling. Focusing on cinematic aspects helps us identify and appreciate their immense communicative and dialectic significance for human relations. This is vital, since, as European co-citizens, we are currently challenged by paralyzing impasses. At best we are facing a critical turning-point as regards identity and ideological, socio-political, and even financial problems. The point concerning the ‘European identity’ and its primacy could be condensed in the phrase: ‘Love it, or leave it!’[7].

Even if we are not yet confronted with a definitive impasse as concerns the future sustainability of the Union we are undoubtedly at a crossroads. How different individuals appreciate the situation is a matter of insightfulness and perspective. As usual some see the glass optimistically half-full or pessimistically half-empty, while others consider it empty and broken. To even engage in discussing options for the future sustainability of the EU puts us in the first category.

If things are as miserable as the pessimists suggest, what role can be played by citizens as stakeholders? What must we change, and most crucially: how? What can we deliver to new generations of Europeans, those holding expectations, faith and hope in the idea of a united, fair, peaceful and developing Europe? For the time being (2016) European polities are fraught with bitter rivalries, misery, prejudice and hostility.

Could cinema intervene in this stage and create a significant new communicative space? How could it become a vehicle for overcoming the European impasse, and act catalytically as a bridging force? Is cinema powerful enough to remove European socio-political complexities and conflicts? Could it perhaps bring Europeans together mentally, emotionally and culturally and inspire faith in coexistence and unity? More than ever before, we are ‘lost in translation’. Widespread introversion prevails, while acute problems remain unresolved, especially in financially subjugated and vulnerable countries.

The disastrous alienation is certainly attributable to the failure of the TWF policy to deliver on its pledges about providing European transfrontier flows, and whose provisions instead boosted primarily trans-Atlantic commercial interests. Channels screening low-cost and ‘lowest common denominator’ US programming benefitted financially, since Hollywood offered unbeatably competitive prices[8].

Thanks to this essentially ‘anti-European directive’ the transmission of European creative films and content were reduced drastically, just like artistic films from around the globe. Viewers are offered a ‘force-feeding’ of products by dominant monopolies. So, they are deprived plurality and quality of choice and in the name of ‘cultural diversity’, at that. But as mentioned Europeans enjoyed ample cultural diversity only in the past regime. By contrast, nowadays, there are hardly any opportunities for younger Europeans to watch European film-making other than their national cinema, since major distribution networks consider European films unprofitable and reject them. This outcome is the ‘achievement of the ‘TWF’ directive, in conjunction with the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement which surrendered Europe to Hollywood’s monopoly.

The point is that such negative realities were policy induced. Bad policies, in conjunction with key non-policies, determined the central conditions which undermined the notion of ‘European identity’ and disallowed expressions of feelings about it. These policies are ipso facto co-responsible for euro-scepticism, for the prevailing emotional marginalization of citizens and for fueling mistrust among Europeans. Such ill-conceived policies and propagandas can hardly promote ‘Europeanness’.

Nevertheless, there are eternally powerful atavistic values in life, emotions capable of demolishing all kinds of barriers. ‘Love’, as they say ‘conquers all’, mobilizing mutual care, affection, solidarity. Such fundamental human resources could and should become the new point of departure. This is where we need to start all over again. Assuming, demographically, that around one third of Europeans belong to mixed-origin families or ancestries, we trace a crucial nexus of commonality. People from mixed family backgrounds are both de facto and de jure transnational and ‘trans-European’. They are, precisely speaking, ‘doubly European’. People born say in Greece of Swedish and Greek, or in France of French and Austrian parents, and so on, form a very special category of European stakeholder-citizens. Bi-ethnic, multi-ethnic and ethnicity-transcending categories of individuals tend to be multicultural and multilingual. Naturally, this sociological category, is best placed to defend the stakes of Europeanness, defining a more comprehensive European identity in cultural, but also in political and material terms.

In doing so, they may help European societies at large to abandon backward looking nationalism, to overcome sterile, stereotypical attitudes and to emerge as a sui generis, yet brilliantly fortifying vector, leading towards fertile and creative transnational processes of veritable osmosis. Besides, this population component is increasing with time and can, therefore, claim to constitute the core of Europeanism.

Thus, precisely this particular segment of Europeans represents Europe’s most dynamic constituents. Those fighting  towards affirmative, transcultural and peaceful prospects. Due to transnationality and to cultural differences, or even clashes, there may be gripping, original or fantastic stories to be told on cinema. Due to their strangeness or originality they are probably worthwhile stories in themselves. Yet, they are equally worthwhile just in that they narrate and project aspects of cross-European profiles, thereby addressing the question of European identity.

This transnational anthropology of Europeans has been largely neglected in cinema narratives and scripts. Yet, such life stories may interweave the biographies of sidelined Europeans with those of the other Europe, that which we are in search of. This is a de facto and de jure more tightly interwoven group and, hence, it is a dynamic vector of the imagined ‘European self’. Such human geography defies disinterestedness, introvertedness or euro-scepticism. The stakes of emotional togetherness are raised with them. Fiction and documentary films could benefit by being involved with this sociological component of Europeans. They stand implicitly for an integrating and fair European future. Film narratives and scripts could draw substantive content, inspiration and momentum from such an integral, heterogeneous, yet sidelined component.

The EU might reinvent and reconfigure itself by foregrounding this human geography, thereby setting a new European osmosis in motion. Bi-ethnicity will then emerge as a focal point in coding and representing compound imagined identity[9]. Serendipity, fate, passion, mystique, desire, as expressed in cross-cultural relationships, may then turn into new thematic epicentres of a deeper and broader self-exploration. Such a cultural movement will generate, in turn, a fresher, innovative European cinema capable of breaking barriers.

Time and again we have been challenged to ‘love Europe, or leave it’. It is time that we face this challenge head-on and that we tackle these tasks. Otherwise, we shall remain entrapped in limiting and destructive ethnocentric obsessions, in corrosive, backward thinking. Moreover, this kind of cinema might benefit or revitalize even the European public sphere because it will be grounded and built on cultural policies designed and realized through the lives of daring Europeans, at a grassroots level rather than by alienated or corrupt Eurocrats. This suggests a cultural and a film policy for the people in favour of human and civic interests.

As Europeans we have every legal and moral right to actively protect and defend our cultural identity, heritage and interests, since we are the key stakeholders of the European project. We must defend it insightfully, sensitively and creatively. Otherwise, as Europeans we run the risk of extinction. Our cultural identity and distinctiveness remain at stake as long as we do not act in coordinated and creative ways, or with the ingenious resourcefulness necessary, deriving from people.

Along with this proposal I have elaborated on the issue of ‘attention’. This is of major importance currently because nowadays almost everyone can transmit messages. An unprecedented plethora of contents flows around, fiercely competing for split seconds of people’s attention. In these circumstances the degenerative phenomenon of ‘infoflation’[10] arises, which results also in the segmentalization of ‘publics’. Such a counteracting force endangers the dissolution of publics as mental and emotional commons. This implies that it is imperative that we curb splitting processes and individualization trends.

Put it differently, to even conceive of common identities and their projections, we need to maintain our public spheres and public-group-congregations. We need also to focus our attention on collective, relevant and meaningful discourses and to design smart, pertinent solutions. These may only be achieved through resourceful, insightful synergies and social networking such as film co-productions among citizens.

  1. Concluding Remarks

The TWF policy has been a patent failure in every stated objective and in every respect: cultural, linguistic, social, political and economic, particularly as regards audiovisual sector producers, creators, artists and employees. The disintegration of the EU has started and is gaining momentum due also to these essentially commercial policies. In the face of broad intra-european divisions, as a European citizen and scholar I explored options for new, radically integrative film practices and audiovisual policies. Policies that could stop the rapidly growing alienation, that could re-join broken lines of communication among Europeans. This is the only way towards regaining understanding and respect for each other and towards solidifying the Union.

So, the first step must be to abolish the failed, disastrous ‘TWF audiovisual policy’ and, secondly, to launch a new integrative and overarching communication policy. Thirdly, we need to propose new narratives and a new method for the reconstruction of Europe. In every case, for a humanist and a democratically imagined European identity we need to place people at centre stage.

If Europe is to remain united and solid, it is high time to restart the European integration project through cultural osmosis. Through learning and understanding each others’ differences and sensibilities. So, Europeans need urgently to re-invent togetherness. To achieve this we require a new set of proactive cultural and human-centered films policies, (documentaries and fiction) which will highlight the real needs of real people and which will emphasize their solidarity. We need to break the supremacy of commercialism and the walls it has erected against us. Such policies will favour European cultural creation and its truly transborder circulation across cultural frontiers.

[1]   See: Kaitatzi-Whitlock, Sophia, (2013), ‘Changing Media Ontology and the Polity’,  first chapter in ‘New Screens and New Regulations’ (Nouveaux écrans, nouvelles régulations), Muriel Hanot & Pierre-Francois Docquir, (eds), Brussels, MEDIADEM – Conseil Superieur de L’ Audiovisuel (CSA Belge). See also: ‘The Political Economy of ‘Infoflation’, paper presented by Dr Sophia Kaitatzi-Whitlock at the 50th IAMCR conference, Leicester University, July 28, 2016.

[2]   The set of nationally grounded, ethocentric, yet globally transmitting channels include BBC World, Deutsche Welle (global) and France-24. The hegemonic, non-EU focus of these channels is more than blatant, though in varying degrees.

[3]   See Vasconcelos, A-P. et al. (1994), Report by the Think-tank on Audiovisual Policy in the European Union Luxembourg, OOPEC.

[4]   Debony D., (2001), Perceptions of the European Union: A Qualitative Study of the Public’s Atitude to and Expectations of in 15 M-S and in 9 Candidate Countries’ , Summary Results, (OPEM – S.A.R.L.), EU Commission, June 2001. See also : Kaitatzi-Whitlock, Sophia, (2011), ‘The Political Economy of Political Ignorance’, in Janet Wasko, Graham Murdock & Helena Sousa, (eds), The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications, Chicester, Wiley-Blackwell.

[5]   See: Kaitatzi-Whitlock, Sophia, (2014), ‘Greece, the Eurozone Crisis and the Media: the Solution is the Problem’, JAVNOST – THE PUBLIC, 3-4/2014.

[6]  These are often incited by dominant media or even provoked by EU elite figures. See Der Spiegel, (2013), ‘Biltzeitung: die Brandstifter’.

[7]   Britain has experienced incocnclusively this paradoxical dilemma for three decades, since Margaret Thatcher who set in motion an unprecedented line of questioning and manipulative stances, favored by Eurosceptics and the extreme right. Prime Minister David Cameron took the risk of calling for a referendum, leading to ‘Brexit’ and perhaps to havoc in the EU .

[8]  Vasconcelos, A-P. et al. (1994), Report by the Think-tank on Audiovisual Policy in the European Union Luxembourg, OOPEC.

[9]   This is the story and the cultural legacy of ‘Digenis Akritas’ in Byzantium and in modern Greek literary and demotic tradition and folklore.

[10]  See: Kaitatzi-Whitlock, Sophia, (2014), ‘E-waste, Human Waste, Infoflation’, chapter 5 in ‘Media and the Ecological Crisis’, Maxwell R., Raundalen J., N. Lager Vestberg (eds), Routledge, N.Y.

School Cinema

Dimitris Spyrou, Filmmaker – Artistic Director

Olympia International Film Festival for Children & Young People

This is such a great occasion, meeting you all here and participating in the discussion for Film Education. I would like to thank the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and especially Mrs. Argiro Mesimeri from the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum for the invitation. I am, also, grateful to Mrs. Rammou, who despite the difficulties of our times, managed to secure the resources necessary for the realization this programme and its conference.

Filmmakers, when shooting a film, have to have things planned, to have their storyboard. Though they might re-consider during filming as per the initial synthesis of a scene, the storyboard remains an important practical tool, not to be ignored. In the same spirit, I will present what I have prepared for today’s gatherring, omitting however some of the issues I originally intended to address, since they were already covered by other speakers. Instead, I will make some references, which I do not have in paper.  Therefore, keeping my speech on the side, I will resort to it just in case I block.

Speaking of cinema means speaking of art and aesthetics. We have been discussing, here, film education and no references have been made yet to film aesthetics and content, screenings criteria and the people deciding on what should be screened in school screenings. Moreover, nobody commented on the need for film production aimed primarely at children and teenagers and for different distribution channels doing the promotion. I will expand on these issues trying to stress their importance.

Before proceeding, and because today and tommorow it is the Academy Awards (Oscars), – I think that the Oscars do not always correlate with aesthetic appreciation -,   I would like to wish the best to our Hungarian guests for Son of Saul, an astonishing Hungarian production that deserves to win the Academy’s award for Best Foreign Language Film.  I am, also, very fond of another nominated film, O Menino e Mundo, for which I have got the distribution rights in Greece. Hope it gets the Oscar, too.

Dear friends, the Olympia Film Festival has accumulated 19 years of experience implementing educational programs that aim in initiating children to some other kind of cinema. Not the dominant one, but the one that will enable them to understand and respect other cultures, to break free from nonsensical ethnocentricities thinking all other as inferior, to develop critical thinking, to value team-work etc. Great effort has been put into all that and for more than 19 years. Actually it’s been 26 years of active involvement with departure point being the making of The Flea. I had worked, before, both as a filmmaker and as an actor, but since The Flea I had never done anything with children.  Although The Flea did well on an international level, it would have been even better if I had some special training or education on films aimed at children or teenagers. The process of filming was an experience in itself and taught me a lot. This is why I do everything I can to spread knowledge and introduce this particular genre to emerging Greek filmmakers.

Therefore, it’s been 26 years that I struggle with these issues. Before sharing with you my thoughts, I would like to show you a 3 minute short just to take a glimpse of the atmosphere in the Olympia Festival and its Camera Zizanio. Apart from the scheduled film screenings, what brings great energy to the Festival are its multinational film workshops, in which children from various different countries participate. This year, we have had children from 13 European countries participating in a project called Mythos. Let us have a look.(video projection)

As seen in the video, for children to be happy knowledge should be related with joy rather than sadness. This is exactly what I think the mission of cinema should be both within the school’s limits and outside. For instance, if it is for film to enter school in the context of a subject that will add extra work and stress for achievement, then it is better not to enter at all. This is a conscious conclusion. Film education should be something vivid, un-restricted and multidimensional in terms of expression. In other words, it cannot be seen just as one thing, and definitely cannot be limited in any given taught material.

To begin with, speaking of film education for the entire country may be premature when the overall number of Greek filmmakers is just too small to cover the needs that will arise. Consequently, there should be a different procedure. To my opinion, film education and children’s films are both interdisciplinary. They demand the collaboration of many individuals. People from the fields of education and the film industry should come together and receive proper training in the learning potential of film and its beneficial application in education. These people should be open to new teaching approaches and practices.

To motivate children’s imagination and insight means providing the tools for allowing children to critically approach the arts, but most important school itself. And not just school, but, also, their neighborhood, their home, the world, everything! This is cinema’s mission. This is what cinema is. Otherwise, there is no meaning. Would there be any purpose in art, if art was not subversive? Could art be any other way? This is how I perceive the arts and their purpose. An insightful look into the world that surrounds us, into its procedures and mechanisms. A vital need to proceed in syntheses that reinstate justice, that communicate ugliness in order to introduce new ways of seeing life, human relations, society’s structure.

Which are the films screened in Greek schools at present? It was mentioned before that the Aesthetic Education Department, which supposedly regulated on film material, ceased operating after 2009.  For me, it was hyper-conservative. Nonetheless, the existence of a department as such is essential to provide some kind of structure, except that it needs to function with proper aesthetic and pedagogical criteria.

What do students watch when taken to movie theatres?  Why should they watch films in movie theatres? It is certainly not the same watching a film in school screened by either a good, or bad projector, to watching a film in a movie theatre, which is a new environment altogether after that of family and school. Going to the cinema is a social occasion. It is not possible to request us to rent O Menino e Mundo for screenings in schools, which mostly disqualify technology-wise. This is an image-based film heavily dependent on music. If you miss on image and sound then it is a whole different film from the one the director made.

It is because we have began discussing film education that we should closely consider all these. Otherwise any school teacher might think that it’s all about a film projector in school and a rented DVD, irrespective of copyright law and license. Is this the film education we are aspiring of? Is this the ethos and aesthetic appreciation we are aiming for? We have to be responsible. And by this I am referring to myself and whoever else is actively involved.

The educational programs run today by the Olympia Festival have evolved from an informal educational process, which can be traced back in 1992, five years before founding the Festival. Our first film-education attempts were project-based and were entitled Expressing through Images & Sounds. At the time, myself and Nikos Theodosiou, who will address the audience later, realized that the children in Athens were not familiar with their neighborhoods, their neighbors. They ignored the historical development of the districts they inhabited. In collaboration with Vyronas Municipal Authorities and the district’s 3rd High School, we decided to use documentary and film to motivate children to open up to society. Through the creative process of filmmaking, children became familiar not just with the technical issues involved in the production of a documentary, but, also, with migration issues, as Vyronas shelters an extensive refugee community, and with the songs their grandfathers brought over to Greece. This is how the documentary Vyronas, Memory & History came about. Most important of all,  children became familiar with the world, their own world. Social relations changed significantly. Conduct between the children and the lonesome old, found in Vyronas parks, was restored.

Another documentary we did – I am deliberately referring to the different issues explored in our programs – focused on the unknown archaeological sites found in the Prefecture of Ilia. Children used to visit Olympia’s archaeological site and museum. They, also, went to the Temple of Epicurios Apollo. However, they remained ignorant of other important, though smaller in-scale, archaeological sites. Through our documentary project they got to know and appreciate them.  Moreover, children lacked the confidence and the reassurance that archaeological authorities will respond to their enquiries. They felt uncomfortable asking the Custodian for things regarding their research subject. Our aim was not simply to show children how a documentary is made and have their creative output. More than that, the project was seen as a vehicle for children to socialize and to learn about local community, the public and the private sector. Children ended up going to the Prefect, to the Archaeology’s Custodian, to the local newspaper to request assistance for a publication they prepared and even arranged their documentary’s screening.

What do we expect from cinema in school’s environment? This is a complex issue, hard to put down in just one thing. What is education? Is education something general and abstract? What are we aiming to achieve? Isn’t education about understanding what is going on today with migration?  What is it about?

Since there is an ever-growing issue with refugees, exacerbated by the extreme right and handled by some in a perilous manner, shouldn’t we intervene and attempt through film and its practice to let children know of its size and intensity? To let them know the story of Greek migration, to enable them understand what solidarity and what being a foreigner means. Isn’t cinema a powerful tool ideal for raising public debate on issues of major importance as such?

Cinema is like a living organism. The same applies to its technology, which is constantly advancing. In order to do in the past the sound mixing I overloaded the trunk with equipment, while, today, you just get a tiny box and this is the entire film and the sound. Many things has changed and will change in the future.

Of course, this is technology that led, on the one hand, to the democratization of film and, on the other, to film’s depravation in case there are no proper screening standards. This is something we need to pay great attention to.  It is important that we use technology to our benefit and that we avoid any major compromises in screening quality.  The sociable character of screenings in movie theatres should not get lost. Children should come watch a film in Olympion rather than limit the entire viewing experience to school.

I must say that some of the resources necessary do exist. However, children should, also, become familiar with professional filming equipment. They need to be taught how to decipher and not demystify the image so as magic is not lost. If magic is lost, then cinema ceases to be an art. We must treat these things with respect. We have to love cinema and not consider it simply a job that will earn us personal gratification.  Either we love it and understand how it functions, or, we don’t.

I would like to conclude by saying that we have to offer film education resources to teachers. We must show teachers how to approach film starting with basic information regarding the film itself and cinema in general. This is valuable material. Then, there is the teacher with his own expertise and individual charisma, whom, given a well-researched material, will find productive ways of using it. Truth is that we should contribute as much material and information as possible.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to address the teachers, being the majority in this hall, and inform them of the educational resource we are currently preparing for O Menino e Mundo. This resource consists of a plethora of information and is accompanied by instructions for use. I have already made it clear in my speech that films screened in schools should come with complementary film learning material. I doubt that a teacher is, for instance,  aware of the different kinds of animation employed in this particular film. We ought to provide teachers with background information, introduce the different types of animation, propose key scenes for shot-by-shot analysis, and discuss aesthetic choices. Shouldn’t this material be available to teachers and students? I am not even referring to symbolism, to filmmaking devices, character and time within narrative structure. To Nana Vasconselos, voted leading Latin-jazz musician the last three consecutive years. To include a DVD with the musician performing live in Rome so that the audience understands better this kind of music. I will stop here. I am overtime. Thank you.

 

Specialized Film Festivals as a Necessary Tool for the Development of Media Literacy Education

Nikos Theodosiou, Writer & Filmmaker

Artistic Director, Camera Zizanio

First of all, I would like to thank the organizing committee for the invitation. This two-day conference develops in an unexpected way and this is of great importance. Honestly, I feel this strong urge to throw my papers away and speak of things entirely new, as the approaches we have had so far were the least to say intriguing.

I must admit that each time I am invited to speak about film in school or about media education, I feel like a damaged clock in the sense that I am some way bound to say things which I have endlessly repeated for years now. If I were 100 years old, I am sure I would say the same as today, ‘I was young and now I am old.”

The issue of film in school is not anything new. Discussion about it began 90 years ago. I was impressed to learn earlier, when listening to Eirini Andriopoulou’s great introduction, something I wasn’t aware of. That the European Union is examining film literacy as an autonomous issue, separate from media literacy and fortunately not as a subsection of it. I always disagreed, even was hostile, with film literacy being a subsection of media literacy. There can be no media literacy without film literacy. Film is art. The means are the vehicle, and it is the means that change and not the medium itself.  In other words, you cannot place the carriage before the horse. Firstly, what is encouraging is that there is a distinction between the art of filmmaking and film education. How positive this might be we are about to discover in time. However, if no provisions for education in the means are made, then things will eventually turn problematic.

Letting this damaged clock, I referred to previously, transport us back in time we reach 1926-1927, the period in which the subject of film education was initially addressed by the great French pedagogue, Celestin Freinet.  Certainly, the pedagogical nature and potential of film is even older. It was, basically, introduced by Edison in 1894. What Freinet did, in 1926-1927, was to use film not as a teaching aid in the service of other subjects, an approach that definitely improves educational potential, but, as a tool for creativity in the hands of children and teachers.  There was this inherent quality in film capable of connecting all school children from within the country, or, from all over the world.

Actually, it is a tool that breaks school barriers and limitations. It opens up school to the community and reinstates knowledge not as exclusively endowed to teachers or books, but, as something that derives from the individual’s interaction with society and contact with others.  Freinet’s philosophy and desire for a modern school was, in fact, what allowed film to become a formative element in the overall consciousness regarding media in education. He is maybe one of the most influential education reformers. One aspect of his reforms was printing press in school, while, at the same time, he introduced gramophone and film, which out of the three developed the most.

Moving to 1952, the issue of audiovisual education in school is being addressed for the first time in France. In a conference realized the same year and entitled, Film in the Service of Modern School and Life, Freinet states that without doubt film is, or, must become a powerful educational mean. Meanwhile, he becomes conscious of something extremely important, the contradiction that exists in film as it is, ultimately, an image, a projected representation and therefore an illusion of life. On the one hand, film allows children to experience worlds and things beyond their own, and broadens knowledge and its horizons. On the other, film  rather functions in an informative, demonstrative manner, without motivating the child to act. This inconsistency is one of the things that needs to be resolved. I am referring to the issue of passive and active learning in terms of film education and how we would manage to overcome it. To perceive film not just as a one-dimensional thing, the end-product screened in a movie hall, but, acknowledge it, also,  for the creative process that it is, which may engage anybody, children and teachers.

Essentially, this is what we are aiming to achieve through the educational programs we run in the Olympia Festival. I will expand on this later. Beyond any doubt, the pursuit of the ways in which film could enter school might have provided the sought after answers. One wonders what exactly has happened from 1926 up until now. Following what has been reported by Greek speakers, as well as by speakers from guest countries, we realize that not much was done and that film remains an outsider as far as formal education is concerned. Film education knocks on doors and, though some small ones open, it persists being the outsider in terms of the official framework.

In the long process of questioning film’s position in formal education, there came new technologies and the beginning of digital era wherein each individual, – you can clearly see what I am talking about in this photo from the Olympia Festival –, each child has a different camera, either a DSLR, or a mobile phone camera. New media have changed what was known. It is not anymore about the 9mm Pathe Baby camera Freinet had.

This era is fast-paced with rapid developments taking place especially in the area of film and filmmaking. New things constantly occur on a daily basis. Besides camera development, we have reached new extremes in image reproduction methods having mobile phones, smartphones, equipped with high definition cameras. Making use of a mobile phone, a child is now able to record, edit and instantly upload videos for millions to watch on the net. You understand the unlimited possibilities these new media offer.

What has survived in this era wherein even film aesthetics have taken a new turn? Television has provoked dramatic changes in the field of film aesthetics and in the actual filmmaking process, especially with documentaries sometimes evoking   news reports. I won’t go into that. In reality, what remains firm in this ever-evolving technological world is film and that is because film is essentially art.

Let us come closer to film. Usually, when we speak of film, the filmmakers, as well as the rest of the world, refer to the movies. However, it is the individual parts of the movie, its formative elements, the ones we need to pay attention to like direction, cinematography, sound, script, actors, setting etc. The aesthetic appreciation of these formative elements allows us to detect what is substantial and what is not in a film. Let us not forget, that art is what motivates the individual transcend everyday life in order to reach greater levels of existence. As a matter of fact, the lack of aesthetic criteria in film content, is what makes film a purely commercial product, in some ways impressive and appealing to the youth, but mostly incapable of assisting society move forward.

Nevertheless, even when we do treat film as a work of art, still there appears no cohesive picture of it.  I will show you a short video. It is, basically, the revival of a guy in Paris. I have included it in one of the last films I have made, called The Passages of Film. It is a reference to the 120 years of cinema. They were celebrated last year and coincided with the triumph of digital era over the classical age of film with the announcement of 35mm prints ceasing to be released.   I have prepared a 40 sec extract. (video screening)

With this extract I wanted to speak of all these things film is. It is life, isn’t it? It is not about what pre-existed, but, about life at present and what is to come.  Any attempts to approach film and its education should take into account life at present. The life that we observe taking a step forward and two backwards, a puzzling life. Truth is that we need to discuss about children and their education. Yet, who are these children? The ones alive? The ones with a name or the anonymous ones who have flooded the islands?

Any approach aiming for audiovisual literacy – speaking of which, I consider film as its determining factor -, cannot do otherwise than be highly dependent on film.  Issues having to do with the creative process, the acknowledgement of film as a taught-subject, aesthetics, entertainment or anything else relevant to film are being treated by us, in the Olympia Festival, as matters of creative engagement. Children become themselves the creators. This way they do not only learn how to handle the available means for their artistic ends, but, also, familiarize with the process required. Film, then, becomes understood and opens up children’s perception of the world. Naturally, it turns them from being passive observers into being active citizens determining the future, just as Freinet advocated.

Of-course the audiovisual education we are referring to is part of an ever-changing world and, therefore, it should be dynamic and adaptable. No way could it evolve into something like an ex-cathedra type of instruction based solely on books written about the subject of film.  It is essential that it remains updated since the means involved constantly progress, as does the world around us. Personally, I believe that an ideal field for processing the new, for researching and developing new teaching practices is that of specialized festivals.  In particular, I am referring to the experience gained through the Olympia Film Festival for Children & Youth and its sub-section, Camera Zizanio, a film festival screening films done by children up till the age of 20. In Camera Zizanio the youngest ones we have had were 4 year olds.

The Festival has made all that was necessary in order to be able to run a youth orientated international workshop for audiovisual creation. The films produced are presented and assessed. This is where multiple approaches and diverse experiences come together, where the old encounters the new, where teachers and students collaborate and experiment to create. Within this vivid, multiethnic and multicultural environment, this enormous laboratory, new pathways develop.

I would, also, like to refer to the Olympia Film Festival as an action field whereby various events, screenings and workshops take place. This action field is attended by people passionate about education and teaching, film professionals and most important by children, who actively participate in seminars, workshops and whatever else is on schedule. The environment is intriguing due to its cultural character. For anyone who is able to realize the great potential this brings, the gathering of all those different cultures creates an osmosis that is necessary for the creation of something new and greater.

In this environment, we host screenings, meetings with the filmmakers and workshops for the production of audiovisual works, like the 5-day ones scheduled during the Festival period.  I won’t go into great detail concerning Mythos Project, but, I would like to say that it is aimed at children from other countries. The 5-day workshops intended for children from Pyrgos and the general public, require 3 hours attendance per day and result in the production of a short film. The multicultural workshops of Mythos project focus on contemporary myths such as the crisis we are currently experiencing, and not just the economic one. In brief, we, also, run seminars and master classes. In this photo you can see Nikos Kavoukidis, one of the most influential Greek cinematographers, in an excellent session about film photography. Through all these activities, training is provided to both teachers and students. Participants explore new pathways. Educators experiment with new teaching methods and even challenge each other through ideas exchange. All these make up for the identity of this huge lab where the new and fresh is produced. Activity is not strictly limited within the Festival’s period and outreaching is attempted in the entire Greece, wherever possible since the Festival is not centrally supported and thus receives no funding from the Ministry. Let us hope that this will change someday.

As already said, we aim to spread our activity as much as we can both within the country and abroad. To do so, we sent children from Greece abroad to attend festivals and film workshops. We organize transnational workshops, like the one in Germany, in Dortmund. We sent over an educator with a group of 6 children and they sent to Greece the respective German group. The groups engage in the production of a documentary. The workshop’s outcome was the production of three documentaries in Germany and two in Greece. This is just a sample of what we are doing.

The Festival is a wide cycle involving a plethora of activities. In essence, a spiral that gets broader and broader. This is how we perceive it. This is our next Festival poster. You are all welcome to come. Thank you.

 

The Academy of Young Artist: Photography workshops for children

Dr. Artur Chrzanowski, Researcher

Faculty of Visual Arts, Academy of Fine Arts, Lodz

Good afternoon everybody. I realize that the main topic of this conference is film education. So far, we have had examples of activities regarding the visual arts. Let us now return to the fine arts, something way before film education, nonetheless, fundamental for what has come to be known as visual culture.

I will talk about the Academy of Young Artists, a project run by the university the last couple of years. Especially for this project, an art lab was established by Lodz’s Academy of Fine Arts with the mission of designing and implementing workshops for both children and adults. There is a variety of projects on offer I would have liked to refer to, but, my aim, today, is to present the Academy of Young Artists.

This project is aimed at children and teenagers of primary and secondary school level, aged 6 to 11 years old. Mainly focused on primary school children, the project is structured on the following basis: children attend a series of art workshops in various studios and classes of the academy’s different faculties. For instance, children are doing painting, drawing, sculpture, composition, design, as well as, photography and multimedia. The goal is to develop their imagination and creativity, and to familiarize them with fine arts techniques, contemporary artistic expression and experimentation. It’s not just that the whole thing is very unique, more important it brings forward the academy as an institution open to kids. Working each month in different faculties, departments, children attend the Academy for one semester, because that is the duration of the project. Being taught by faculty staff through-out the semester, they acquire skills and become familiar with the Academy’s educational environment.

The project may be understood as supportive to primary school education. Children attend classes at university, but, they, of course, carry on their official education in school. Within the university’s context, children perform as university students and become familiar with its different functions. The art teachers, doing the classes, assist children to handle new experiences while exploring a variety of mediums.

During the course, children spend time in the following five faculties of the Academy: the faculty of Textiles and Fashion, the faculty of Graphics and Painting, the faculty of Sculpture, the faculty of the Visual Arts and, finally, the faculty of Design. Workshop attendance is measured in credits. Thus, children are treated like university students and this is not just about it. They, also, get notes and have an index of results as they are examined in their final presentations. A final exhibition, open to the public, is organized to present to family and friends individual achievement.

I will proceed, now, with my presentation, which is, in fact, a presentation of the workshops. Of course, we are not going to watch the whole of it because it’s pretty long due to the various techniques children experiment with. Although the workshops are not directly linked to film education, they are fundamental in building up an aesthetic appreciation and skills that are necessary for expressing in film. Let us not forget that film is a synthesis of arts. By providing hands-on experiences in different art disciplines, the Academy broadens children’s understanding of the arts and, therefore, of film’s multi-dimensional artistic nature. Here, are images of painting and drawing exercises taking place in our studios. (images)

The Academy of Young Artists is a project that lasts long. To be able to fit everything in within a semester, we have to plan workshops in weekends, too. As students attend school, workshops, running during weekdays, take place in the evenings.  The project is partially financed by the Ministry. Parents, also, have to contribute to admission fees. (images)

This is an image from the Photography workshop. Kids are at studio trying to work with camera, light and available equipment.  Normally, they use their own cameras to take pictures.  Here, in these images, kids do something different.  Handling a professional camera, they experiment with the effects different types of light have.  They learn how to organize the image in terms of long exposure and light. Children do enjoy working together as a team, trying to organize composition. This is really important as pictures depend on children’s collective effort. Some kids take photos, while others pose, or, position the lights. Just observe the variations in those photos, the way light influences composition.

What I have noticed, at the conference, is the concern about what’s coming next.  This made me think of our Academy not having a Film faculty. It might be a good idea to come together with a national film school in order to discuss the prospect of professional film workshops.  Working towards the creation of a Film School could be our next step. (images)

Regarding the rest of the images, what we have got, here, is photography workshop’s next stage, which is taking pictures together with the kids. This is great fun. It pleases children a lot to open up and propose different perspectives and solutions. The actual outcome and children’s background thinking lead in turn to in-depth discussion.

Here is another topic having to do with long exposure pictures. (images)

As you can see, this is fun.  For them, to get the knowledge that they can create an image by playing with light and working on composition is really good, because all they usually do is to take pictures with their phones and cameras. These pictures depict the activities taking place within the workshop from another point of view. They present how children are working, focusing on their use of light.

The idea behind the Academy of Young Artists is to allow children experience various disciplines and techniques, to broaden arts education so as it becomes available to all levels of education. Normally, in primary school, there isn’t anything as comprehensive as that offered by the Academy of Young Artists.

Attendance is required to lectures wherein children, also, watch video and photography art, and participate in discussion. Upon course completion, the Academy and its various faculties organize an exhibition during which children are awarded their diplomas and visitors, family and friends, have the opportunity to admire their creative output. This is an image from the event. This is our director. She is the patron of this project.

I have come to the end of this short presentation of the Academy of Young Artists. The experience of being here made me realize that the only way to develop further what we are already doing is to move into other media. Thank you.

Cinema and School: Conversational and Crossing Art-form Events in Cinemas for Young Audiences

Emese Erdos, Head of Educational Programmes

Budapest Film

Good morning. My presentation is about Budapest Film and its programs for young audiences. First of all, a few words about the company. We are exhibitors operating six movie theatres with 22 screens. Let me introduce them:  (images)

Corvin is the biggest one. It is a classical movie theatre, like a multiplex – though not a multiplex.  Nearly in every cinema, we have DCP 35 mm blu-ray DVD players except from Kino Cafe, which is the smallest in the group. Thanks to EUROPA cinemas, Kino will, also, be equipped in May. Corvin Mozi was built in 1922. Its buildings, which are quite old, accommodate 6 screens. This is Corvin and this is its most spacious movie-hall.

We have 5 art cinemas, one of which is Muvesz, built in 1910. It is our pearl, as it is the most artistic of the group. Then, it is the Puskin Art Cinema, where we run Puskin Kucko, the children’s program I will describe in detail. Puskin has 5 screens. This is its biggest hall with a capacity of 225 seats. Toldi, is the one aimed at intellectuals. Mostly 30 to 50 year-olds attend its screenings and university people. In the evenings, it hosts lots of parties. Kino Cafe Mozi, the smallest in the group, is my favorite.  Kino Café that re-opened in October is, also, known for its coffee shop and its breakfast menu, which is very popular. Suli-Mozi originated from Kino Café, as it was initially located there, and Taban Artmozi opened last year.

Nowadays, Budapest Film is re-opening some its cinemas. In fact, there has been considerable progress given the number of cinemas that closed in the past. However, Budapest Film (before FŐMO) used to operate more than 120 cinemas in the capital. Now, it operates just six. Off-course, compared to the past, this is not such a good number.

We run 2 programs, one of which is Puskin Kuckó. This program is aimed at the little ones and their families. The other one has to do with school movies. I’d like to show you our advertising spot. It is screened in every cinema just before the children’s programs start and it was made by university students. I must say that we benefited greatly from our collaboration with the University of Arts & Design as students create lovely advertising shorts for us and for each one of our cinemas. (video screening)

Puskin Kuckó runs from September till May, in Puskin cinema, and it is designed for families. Operating on weekends, every Saturday and Sunday at 10.00, it is attended by children aged 3 to 10. During summer, it is closed because the weather is so appealing that everybody spent time outdoors. (video screening)

When we introduced the program in 2011 our first ever activity was cinema for the youngest. We screened classic cartoon animation, puppet shows, and TV series. It was just this and a low-cost ticket. A year after we realized that we should open up the program adding drama activities. We understood that the little children, who came in and saw things they enjoyed, would return to relive the experience.

To this day, the program has expanded to include puppet shows, concerts and a weekend play-corner where children become familiar with film through art drawings inspired by cinema, have face-painting done, and participate in drama workshops. Every half year, we host a drawing competition for primary schools and kindergarten where there is an open call and contestants send in their creations. The topic is on films and children shows. We receive lots of lovely drawings.

Our partners are MOME, the University of Art and Design, which I’ve already mentioned, and UPC. The latter supported us for 3 years, but, not anymore. Having UCP’s support was extremely important as it is public TV in Hungary. Another of our collaborations is with the Hungarian Red Cross. They help us with volunteers who assist in the play-corner and we, in return, provide them space for blood donations. We have, also, joined forces with the Children Programs’ White Pages, with blogs and magazines. I should point out, here, that we try not to pay each other. (images)

Puskin Kuckó is advertised mainly through Puskin’s website. Each of our cinemas has its own website. We are on Facebook, cinema posters in our theatres inform the audiences of our screenings and outreach activities, and 3.000 catalogues are printed and distributed annually. Moreover, we send our weekly program to 3,000 newsletter subscribers, in-house CCTVs display the program for everyone to check and a Led Wall, located in public space, is used to advertise Budapest Film cinemas. (Current of images)

These are images from activities, photos taken at the puppet show. At the end of the show, children ask questions, touch and play with the performer. He’s a great singer and dancer, a real performer. This is a Christmas cartoon character.

The School Movie Program is focused on schools and student groups. I’ll show you last year’s spot. (video screening)

This year’s spot is shorter, because we have learned from our mistakes.(video screening)

The School Movie Program, which began in 2011, runs in all our cinemas. From day one we insisted on important, quality films and not just anything. 450 movies are being allocated to the program, when at the beginning there were just 30. The program is attended by approximately 150 schools. They come 1, 2, 10, 20 times and attendance gradually grows.  Unfortunately, we operate only in the capital. The countryside isn’t really aware of the program. We would like to have it run in entire the country, but, we don’t have cinemas elsewhere.  At least, program details are available on online for anyone searching for information and inspiration. If the government supported the program, we might have had a chance in the countryside.  At present, however, it is only for the program’s catalogues that we receive financial support.

The program is structured as follows: there are the optional and the fixed screenings. In the optional ones, teachers pick the film they are interested in and the screening time, either in the morning, or, early in the afternoon. In the fixed ones, guest speakers are invited to contribute to film discussion and we have Q&A, too.  We may, also, offer advice to teachers on what to watch depending on children’s age, the theme they are after, its pedagogical aspect or value of entertainment. (images)

Suli-Mozi Extra is the program Suli Mozi runs. It is about Hungarian films and has been around for four years.  In Puskin Mozi, students have the opportunity to meet the film’s director, leading actors or the editor. Recently, students met Son of Saul’ s lead actor Rohrig Geza. He is a great guy and he has been in Suli Mozi four times. Talking about Son of Saul, it was extremely interesting having kid’s reactions and feedback. We have had 12 and 14 year-olds who understood the film quite well, but, we, also, had 18 and 19 year-olds expressing negatively about it. Even those who disliked it felt something happening after talking to the moderator and Rohrig Geza. Indeed, something seems to be happening during these interactive sessions. Maybe not always and surely there may even be times that it complicates things. Generally speaking, however, this session-type, if combined with an in-school discussion, will definitely affect and leave something to the students.

The Discover Cinema program is for the smallest ones. We have animation, puppet films etc. We have documentaries, too, where teachers can request discussion to follow the screening. Taboo films are for us a big issue. There are things school-masters don’t want to assume responsibility for. They don’t want to speak about. Students do. So students are brought to us and we show them taboo films. Within the context of literature n cinema, there is recommended reading. We want students to read the recommended books, watch their screen adaptation and then compare the two modes of artistic expression.

In Suli Mozi, we, also, host tributes on a variety of themes. Schools come to our cinemas to watch films on victims of Communism and the Holocaust. For some time now the same movies were screened over and over again. It ended up being boring for the students. They were great films, but, after watching them for the fifth time, it was not good. We needed to broaden the context and provide wider choice, films focusing not solely on particular historical instances, but, rather on entire historical periods. So, we recommended more films.

OFOE Film club, already in its third year of operation, is the creative outcome of a collaboration between us and a Head-Teachers’ Association. Meetings take place every two weeks. We watch the films with the teachers and we let them know how they might make use of them as teaching tools. This year, Hungarian film creators (directors, film editors, actors, casting directors) were actively involved in the program. Unfortunately, we cannot afford having over foreign film creators; it would be great to be able to do so.

There is another program linking film to different curriculum subjects. For instance, a history, math, or, art teacher may seek advice on what films to screen as part of his course syllabus.

Melodica Movie is the newest addition to our educational scheme and something we are still working on. The program focuses on two films, Belier Family and Moonrise Kingdom and hosts a music workshop before each screening. Participants don’t need to have a music background. It’s all about rhythm.

Drama workshops are available to little children and are offered as part of the planned screening. This is a program for primary and secondary school students. Apart from the drama activities going on, there are, also, quizzes with questions referring to three specific films, Hugo, Moonrise Kingdom and Despicable me.

Slamovie is the point where slam poetry meets film. We had it only once, but, if we manage to find the resources necessary, we will continue on having it. Focusing on the theme of immigration, the program introduced the film, The Visitor. Children really liked it. I think that was because the story was told in a language secondary level students could understand.

Two years ago, we joined the Young Audience Award, which takes place every year in Europe. It’s always in May. Twelve and fourteen year-old children watch three films and then choose the one they liked best. The event is live-streamed and those attending can watch each other. Last year, it was in Wroclaw, Athens and Budapest.

Budapest Film has 27 distribution partners. This means that the films are not given to us for free, nevertheless, their cost is low. Ticket admission for the school movie is a bit less than 2 euro. We would like to have it for free, but, this is not possible without financial support. OFOE Film-club admission costs a little more than 2 euro. For Melodica Movie’s music workshops we sought the collaboration of the Melodica Music Group and we have set a young audience award with the Hungarian Film Foundation.

Regarding the work done on taboo films, there is a book publisher assisting us by recommending authors active in youth literature. The publisher books the authors to come and speak to the children. Festival orchestra is a new partnership. In general, we are interested in the relationship between music and film and intend to explore it even further. Another of our intentions is to collaborate with a very nice short-film festival next year.

This year, we did considerable media work. Fortunately, radio stations, public channels, commercial TV channels were helpful in communicating to the public our activities. Cultural websites were, also, supportive recommending Suli Mozi and Kucko. It seems that they have realized how important it is for children to be film literate.  (images)

We have a website, we have Facebook, we have posters, catalogues, flyers, advertising spots etc. Here, you can see the films and the catalogues. These are some photos with Rohrig Geza. He was not giving a presentation, I must stress. It was rather a discussion. Students were really listening to him, asking questions and expressing their opinions.

Thank you for your attention.

A picture is worth a thousand words – case studies

Valerie Kontakos, Filmmaker-Producer, New York Film Academy

Exile Room

Good afternoon. I would like to thank the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum – Cinematheque for their effort. It is extremely important and I hope there will be progress in the long run. I will proceed with my presentation in English.

I’m going to speak a little bit about what we do at Exile Room, which is a non-profit cultural organization, founded in Athens seven years ago. Our primary interest was documentary screenings, as there was no public access at the time. It was just television and nothing else. I, personally, come from a documentary background. I’m a producer and director. That was my life before I moved to Greece, and the idea of not being able to watch a documentary on the big screen was like not being able to watch a film in a movie theatre. The ability to show documentaries in a quality setting – a large screen with a good sound system – and to give them the respect they deserve became a matter of great importance to me. It was another form of filmmaking, so to speak.

We started showing documentaries at Exile Room, which is basically a loft in Athens, seven years ago. I think the place was formerly used to make stockings – I’m not exactly certain but it was definitely part of the local light industry. Today, however, Athens is changing. There is a certain amount of gentrification taking place, which is common in most big cities with financial ups and downs. Older people are moving out, healthy businesses and new people such as me are moving in, finding new uses for old spaces.

As mentioned earlier, it was important for me to be able to show documentaries the way I feel that is proper. But that’s when the question arose: “What do we show?” I felt that, since we are in Greece, one could see Greek documentaries more readily than foreign ones. Greek documentaries were almost exclusively available at film festivals (like the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival) and a couple of other movie cases in Greece.

I decided to go with foreign documentaries in order to instigate a discussion on documentary on a global level. It was my love for the genre that brought this effort about in the first place. Seeing documentaries was great. Being able to discuss and share them with other people was even better. Soon after, I thought, “Why don’t we take it a step further? What if we start offering workshops to people who are interested?” So we did!

The first doc-specific workshop took place over the course of two months. The first month was theory, referring to the history of documentary, the different classifications and their backgrounds. The second month was hands-on filmmaking. Participants had one month to work on their subject-matter and finish their film. At that point, I realized the participants were exclusively adults. “So how do we show to children what is happening?”, I wondered.  It’s not just the films you watch in the movie theatres and it’s not just the cartoons you see on television; there’s so much more out there.

That’s when we decided to try animation. We started with a couple of workshops for young kids, aged 6 to 10, as well as teenagers. We tried different things with each group to see what would work best. The important thing was to give them the tools they needed to tell a story; any story; it didn’t matter. There shouldn’t be a reason. The important thing was to be able to create and express an idea, an emotion. To understand that animation and visual storytelling was a means of communication.

The children who attended those workshops responded very well. We would show them animation from various parts of the world and discuss it with them.  Then, they would start talking about what they wanted to do, no matter how basic. Money was definitely a factor, so we had to keep it small and used stop-motion techniques, which allows you to do just about anything.

That went quite well.  What happened next was that teachers started asking us if they could take those courses, too. That was very exciting because it meant that educators were beginning to realize this was a tool they could use to help their students express themselves.  This was a way of looking and analyzing the world around them and not just their immediate surroundings. They went above and beyond that, giving the world around them new meaning through their own perspectives.

So, all of this started building up and I’ve brought one for you to see. (video screening)

These were teenage students attending the workshop who, basically, wanted to work on a different level; the younger kids were more into play-dough, drawing etc. With teenage students, you realize there is more of a social awareness issue. What they did was shoot in the area around Exile Room. Through observation, they became part of the neighborhood. They weren’t just passing by, they were actually identifying with the location and the people around them and that’s a very important filmmaking tool. On one level, there is the artistic and the aesthetic element of it, but there’s a social side to it, too. There is so much to be said and done and it’s our responsibility to give students the tools to communicate that. Film literacy is absolutely necessary in the educational system. It does help children complete themselves while growing.

I’d like to leave you with this thought: watching films is essential for film literacy. That’s number one. You have to be able to see films under the best possible conditions, because that’s where your visual vocabulary will ultimately come from. Then you have to be able to discuss and analyze them, because that’s what loving cinema is all about. That’s the bottom line. It’s all about passion and I think that comes across when you’re teaching and trying to share it with other people. That’s a basic component of film literacy. The other important thing is to be able to offer people the means and the vocabulary to express themselves, which is all about the practical stuff. It’s about knowing how to put your message across and how to create your own method of communication.

Both are very important and I would consider myself lucky if I could help organize other such efforts to promote the exchange of ideas, experiences and mutual learning that will hopefully take film literacy one step further. Thank you very much.

Open Archives in Hungary

Marton Kurutz, Film History Senior Researcher

Hungarian National Film Archive

How did Hungary’s Open Archives come to life? How are the documents, referring to the World Wars’ period, preserved and managed, and how can we make the most out of them through digitalization?

First of all, let’s take a look at Hungary. Hungary is a small country located in Central East Europe and Hungarian, its official language, is a language that nobody else understands. This country hasn’t influenced much of EU’s cultural life due to communism, which determined 40 years of Hungarian culture. Imposing a lot of restrictions, communism prevented us from having clear perspective on history.

A century ago, Hungary was one of the most important members of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Three times bigger than its present size, Hungary was inhabited by lots of nationalities like Romanians, Slovakians, Serbs and Croatians. Multi-lingual and with a constant growth in industry at the time, Hungary influenced significantly European culture. The general archives, like the National Library and the National Museum, were founded back then.  Few decades later, the first media archives for photos and films came about. Unfortunately, Hungary doesn’t have a sound archive so far.

What are the most common problems with these old, extensive national collections? Maybe you have already dealt with some such as delays, rigid structures, complicated and rigorous rights. Copies are expensive and slow. Not to mention, the problems that occur when watching a movie on the big screen or listening to a sound documentary. It is not an inspirational situation. Therefore documents, information can’t reach audiences and audiences, especially users and researchers, can’t have access to them. The result is frustration, because deep down this is a situation of un-accessible sources/knowledge.

Today, I will present the Open Archives, the first ever sources in Hungary. To begin with, I would like to refer to the most popular section of the Open Archives, which is the Newsreel Archives online. Users have access to more than 9,000 short reports, footage, but can, also, watch entire newsreels, conduct research under theme, person or place,  write  comments, or add tags to footage. All films are freely linkable, embeddable and may be used for education or entertainment purposes. Editors don’t review content. They make available all that the newsreels collection comprises. One may watch all reports having to do with the Nazi and communist periods.

A major consideration in the project’s mission is the transference of collections, thus of heritage to youth through communication channels such as Facebook etc. As you can see (visual), this is a report about the Greek Prime Minister, Eleftherios Venizelos visiting Hungary in 1929. Let us move to the website to watch the short report. This is a silent newsreel.

As already said, Hungary doesn’t have a Sound Archive. Just a year younger than the Newsreel Archives, Gramophone Online is more or less a national sound archive. It provides access to all gramophone sound recordings from the beginning up until the end of the gramophone era, around the 1960s. Both digital archives were made possible by John von Neumann House. John von Neumann, a Hungarian mathematician, was one of the inventors of the first computer 70 years ago in USA.

As Hungary doesn’t have a National Sound Archive, there aren’t any original discs in the Gramophone Online collections. Gramophone Online is experimental and functions as a private collection archive. Every collector can share his own gramophone discs, without parting from them, by leaving digital versions of original recordings. The collection is searchable by title, name, genre, performer, nation and professional text. If you log in, you can send comments to the editors and add text to the tracks. As in Newsreel Online, all Gramophone Online collection is linkable, embeddable and shareable.

The user listens to the restored version, but can reach the original work, too. By pressing a button, other tracks of the gramophone disc become available and may then be heard. At the bottom of the page, copyright information appears. As you can see, here (visual), there is a track of a Polish song recorded in Berlin in 1906. We will listen to the online version. Following the tag “Poland”, there appear all 12 Polish songs. Here is, for example, a very interesting recording of 1906 (inaudible). It is a Jewish song. The collection includes more than 5,000 tracks, mainly Hungarian, but, also from the era of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

Next is, to my belief, the most popular of Hungary’s free archives, the Fortepan. It’s got its name after Fortepan, the biggest Hungarian raw film factory, known before World War as Codec Company. Fortepan‘s website doesn’t have a sponsor. It is just donors and volunteers who make its operation feasible. The 6-year old archive is open to everybody and its main concept is similar to that of the other two: to collect and share memories of 20th century in photo.

The users do all the work: correspondence, scanning, uploading, re-solution, tagging. This co-working schema has built a very exciting and interesting community. Editors handle all film formats in a totally professional manner. Original camera negatives or paper prints, in several sizes and materials, are kept. Each day, about three articles referring to Hungarian past appear in the archive. Content descriptions are available in English, too, so material is usable by foreigners. Here (visual), is a photo from 1934 depicting a mosque located in Thessaloniki. There are the following tags: Greece, architecture-mosque, religion-dome, architecture-heritage. If we pick Greece, we are re-directed to 84 photos, and if we try to find Hungary and narrow down research to photos by color tag then we can get solely color Hungarian photos. Users can freely download these high-resolution pictures, available in 5 to 10MB resolution. They may, also, print and use them everywhere or share them with colleagues across Europe.

Laterna Magica, the fourth archive, is  EUFORIA’s  partner and  one of the conference’s collaborators. This archive pays tribute to an old Hungarian and East European passion: the slide show. A one or two meter long film with several frames and subtitles, the slide show has each frame telling a part of a story. The aim of the open society archive supporters was to rediscover and share all surviving slide films. You can find here all genres: fables, propaganda, literature, music etc. Most of the films are visible and, though current ones are limited, there are about 5,000 films from the 20s till today. This (video screening) is an instructional one from 1965 about Greece.

Last, but not least, is the Film Archive. There aren’t any professional films, just home movies from the 20s till the 80s. Thus, the archive, which handles entirely non-professional film format, consists of 1,500 films about traveling, everyday and family life. In this field (visual), you can cut out from the file any long footage, save it in “My profile” and then share, embed or buy at a very low price the broadcast version online. Content description is done through tags usable as links, too. The foundation plans to bring the entire archive to the European market and share its content free, in high resolution, spreading the collection across Europe. The reason is that there is a lot of non-Hungarian content in the archive, like this road movie (visual) about Greece in 1979. This is after the tag Greece. You can find a lot of footage about Greece.

That brings me to the end. I hope that you enjoyed the presentation having to do with Hungary’s most important Open Archives and that the ideas, or solutions presented, may prove useful for your own national open archives. I think that it’s just about time for all of us to free our sleeping archives, and eventually link our contents. To conclude, I will screen the advertising trailer of the Newsreel Archive, which started in 2009 with this short film. (video screening)

 

 

The concept of audiovisual literacy in School Curriculum and teachers’ teaching practices. Models for introducing audiovisual literacy in Greek Education

Stavros Grosdos, Phd, Pedagogical Faculty of Aristotle University

Primary Education School Advisor

The notion of audiovisual literacy

In the following text, I shall address the question asked on screen: The ways in which audiovisual literacy may become integrated to school curricula. Under no condition do I imply that it becomes a taught-subject in school. Don’t be scared. On the contrary, I should say. I would, also, like to clarify that I will make use of media literacy term as opposed to film literacy, because I believe that the first is a wider in meaning definition while film literacy belongs to the field of audiovisual literacy. For film literacy to reach any of its goals, work shall begin with the development of media skills. This is my standpoint and, of-course, the question posed above, is not anything new. It is written in a report done for Melina Programme in 1995 (Ζέρη, κ.ά, 1995). It is amazing that 21 years past and the goals set by the report, not only haven’t been reached, but, they haven’t even mattered to the Greek State.

Let us agree on a couple of things before I proceed presenting my model. What is audiovisual literacy? It has three directions. The consumption and the critical approach of audiovisual works, as well as, the skills demanded for their production (Γρόσδος, 2010).

Do not underestimate the consumption of audiovisual works, considering it as a skill of minor significance. Whatever we do, either in formal, or, informal education, audiovisual works need to be attractive. This is of great importance. If attractive, then children won’t abandon them. Screenings designed for school, or, as part of extracurricular activities, need to be both attractive and entertaining. This should become a main consideration, whilst assessing a project, its design and implementation.

I’ve the impression that the increase in and the progress of digital media, has contributed in the loss of the movie theater’s social character. It would be interesting to know how many ten, eleven, twelve year olds from Thessaloniki, have been in this particular movie theater, or, any other.

School should not just make films seem fun. It should introduce them to students. This may seem evident, however, what are the criteria, on the basis of which, children choose films? Thinking of the child-viewer, it will be interesting to find out about the opportunities children have to watch films -not necessarily quality ones -, but, great in variety. At the same time, we should bring back to life the social character of movie theaters, limiting, thus, the dominance of PC and TV screens. For the child-viewer, film is entertainment, something playful.

Speaking of the child-critic, what we, basically, expect from the unsuspected child-viewer, who approaches audiovisual creations emotionally “I like it”, “I dislike it”, “It makes me happy” etc, is to embed the film’s substance. An initial step towards this direction would be giving children access to films. This way, children will start, even by comparison, examining audiovisual works through various angles. Yesterday, the first speaker referred to this, as “cultural approach”. This approach will better accomplish its goals, if children engage with both the technical and cultural characteristics of film. It is not enough to say, “Come I will show you how to use the camera”, “I will show you camera movement”, and then say, “Come and shoot a film yourself”. It is through specific activities that children develop critical attitude towards media influences.

Once the child-viewer becomes familiar with film narrative and techniques and, thus, critically approaches content, he/she may then turn into a child-producer. However, the production of an audiovisual work is not a target. What we call media literacy or media education or even literacy, a dated term in disuse, is the incision between the consumption of audiovisual works, their critical approach and their production. Best way to achieve audiovisual literacy is to work towards all the above mentioned directions. The model I intent to present is based on these directions. The child should perceive film as an “art event”, and not as the “product of a given technique” (Γρόσδος, 2010).

Audiovisual literacy in Greek Education

I will attempt an overall assessment of Greek education. More often than not, Greek education, both formal and informal, treats the audiovisual product not as a work of art, but as the outcome of a certain technique. The State operates, as far as media literacy is concerned, as a spectator. However, and as we’ve previously said, spectatorship is not such a bad thing, on the contrary. Why does the State assume a role as such? I will begin with, school curricula. I have read them extensively, both their general framework and each subject’s individual guidelines (Διαθεµατικό Ενιαίο Πλαίσιο Προγραµµάτων Σπουδών. Αναλυτικά Προγράµµατα Σπουδών Υποχρεωτικής Εκπαίδευσης, 2002). Not one reference is made in school curricula to audiovisual literacy, whereas references are made to other forms of literacy like the mathematical, technological, linguistic etc. There is, also, no reference in the curriculum subjects’ individual guidelines. I am referring to an Educational Framework designed in 2002 and implemented since 2007. This is our national education programme.

The Educational Radio and Television is a small-scale department in the Ministry of Education. Due to fierce media competition, what has been there produced in the past and linked to certain curriculum subjects has become extinct. Anyhow, Educational TV has no real power, as it cannot any take decisions and initiatives. Recently, the Ministry of Education called a body of experts (headed by Ms Rea Valden) to prepare a proposal introducing Audiovisual literacy in education.

Luckily enough, there are the universities. The Faculty of Education of the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens does really good work. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for other Faculties. They haven’t even understood what media literacy is all about. There is the Film School, here, in Thessaloniki, that engages with some of media literacy’s issues and school where individual teachers and school cultural-advisors take initiative. Actually, a number of projects have started from within schools. I would, particularly, like to mention the School Advisor of the Directorate of Primary Education in Eastern Thessaloniki. Other advisors in Western Thessaloniki and in the region of Chalkidiki have been active and have taken initiative. Nevertheless, these are all sporadic attempts and lack in building foundation. Truth is that formal education’s absence from this particular field has given to informal education the opportunity to grow. This is not necessarily bad. On the contrary, it is great and it is even greater when there are collaborations and programmes such as EUFORIA. Though, for something to be achieved in the long-run there should be coordination from a-top. I dare not suggest that there should be a department within the Ministry of Education looking into and coordinating matters having to do with media literacy.

In cases where formal and informal education joined forces, the results were excellent. Karpos in Athens is such a case. Having film educators, film professionals, teachers and academics, working under a common scheme, Karpos has made considerable progress towards the direction of film literacy. Museums, through inspiring outreach projects, have contributed much. Moreover, festivals and various competitions seem to be in fashion. The most well-known, who doesn’t know Olympia Festival? Next to Thessaloniki, there is Serres competition and many others. I have some doubts regarding the festivals. A festival committee, detached from children’s own creative environment, decides on content quality. Regardless of creative outcome, good, or, bad, children’s participation in festivals and competitions is of great importance. Were media literacy’s goals achieved during the production of audiovisual works? Was the audiovisual work approached in terms of technique or as an artistic pursuit? These are the things we never hear about in competitions. Moreover, why shall we have just film competitions and not advertising or interviewing ones? Are they not audiovisual products? Don’t they contribute in the development of media literacy skills?

In Greece, there is a great disadvantage for all things happening both in formal and informal education. They are not assessed. Do we agree that human activity has to be assessed? I maintain that it should be always assessed. Assessment, you know, doesn’t only help the one being assessed. Most important, it helps all those coming after become better. Project results should be properly assessed and then published for others to be able to use. EUforia Programme’s results should be examined, evaluated and disseminated once it’s over for all Greek schools to benefit from. All initiatives in either formal or informal education should leave their trace. This trace is greater than the initiative itself. Think about it numerically, a Programme as EUforia can’t include all, but it will leave a trace for many to follow.

What becomes evident from all the above, is that Greek education is no stranger to film literacy and media literacy programmes. Programmes that have run through formal and informal structures.

The suggested model 

As per the question addressed at the beginning, the ensuing usual inquiries are the following: Should media literacy, or, film literacy  be a taught-subject in school? Should it be mandatory, or, optional? Who’s going to teach it? Someone qualified? A Film School graduate? A teacher? What kind of qualifications should one possess in order to teach? How many teaching hours should there be? What about educational material and resources? Will there be selections of approved audiovisual works, as well as, prohibited ones?

If we begin by trying to answer these questions, we will make a great mistake because they are sub-questions. I assure you that those were the questions posed when the arts were first introduced in primary education. It’s been a couple of years that art, theater and music teachers managed to find employment in primary education. What did we do? We gave them an hour per week. Regardless of good intentions, these teachers still haven’t found their place in the educational system. Why? Because after having decided that they were the experts, we made no other effort.

The answer to everything might be having an open interdisciplinary educational programme. What does this mean? That we take no consideration of the above and that we focus on just one thing. All decisions regarding teaching are taken by the teacher. The teacher is the one setting the goals, as well as, the content and methodology of material taught. Of course, the teacher needs to be trained accordingly. Even, then, after having received training, the teacher won’t be an expert. One may ask, “Don’t we need an expert?”, “Don’t you think that Film School graduates should teach in school?”  Film School graduates and teachers should collaborate. This is a model we have seen in practice in Melina Programme. There was the expert from the field of the arts who, together with the teacher, designed and implemented projects. Though, this proved to be a successful model, it made us think that the teacher could perform what expected on his/her own.

Where will the teacher find resources? Where will he/she find teaching aids and methodologies? What about the goals to be achieved? What about teaching content? Content files may be the solution, instead of a rigid educational programme with unbending guidelines. Think of the following, an educational programme indicating a specific collection of films to be taught under a certain approach. This would be a nightmare. There was an attempt, for something similar to what I have just described, with literature, when literature became a taught-subject in primary education. What was the result? We lost all these creative teachers, who took initiative in order to make children feel passionate about literature. Restricted by limitations, the official education programme imposed, they unable to take initiative and propose alternative courses of action. The answer is Digital Content Files. These Content Files will constantly be updated with material provided by the teachers themselves. In a few years time, the Content Files will become huge, consisting of knowledge that will pacify any of the above mentioned considerations.

Why an open interdisciplinary educational programme? First of all, because children should become aware of the great potential of film and of the pleasure film consumption is capable of. For this to happen, for children to become film, media smart, they should be able to choose. To be able to choose, children need to become familiar with a wide range of audiovisual products and with strategies that will help them read behind the lines, what we call critical literacy. When Menis Theodoridis in Going Cinema (Θεοδωρίδης 2001), juxtaposed Dumbo the little elephant with Charlie Chaplin’s The circus and asked the children ‘what do you feel about these scenes” instead of “what was the director’s aim?”, he captured their attention. He, then, asked them, “how did the filmmaker manage to create this feeling?” This is critical literacy.

What follows is the stage of creativity, of production. To reach production, children should first become viewers, then critics and lastly creators of their own audiovisual works. However, to realize all the above, resources should become available. I felt envious, yesterday; hearing about what is available in Poland. My Polish colleague referred to an application giving access to numerous films. Greek teachers do not even have the obvious, the generic material.

The approach of audiovisual works in the frame of a school subject is likely to end up in a restricted selection of visual texts. This means that some will be chosen, under certain criteria, while others will be excluded. This may, also, lead to formalistic and rhetoric readings. The student-viewer’s contact with audiovisual works should be a personal affair. Therefore, the readings of audiovisual creations should be entirely open and dependent on the student’s own, personal assumptions, as is happening in literature. All activities, or, projects, having to do with film literacy, either lasting for some hours or, for longer, should be for students to enjoy and receive enthusiastically.

Last, but not least. Why do I propose an open interdisciplinary educational programme? This is because film is multimodal and, therefore, communicates with viewers in many and diverse ways.  Most other means of expression communicate in a direct, one way manner. In films communication depends on image, text, aesthetics, human performance, dialogue, body-language, sound and music. However, all these, I have just mentioned, are included in school curricula. Why, then, should media literacy be an individual subject and not linked to other curriculum subjects in order to perform supportively and be present in all aspects of school education. For instance, when there’s a hands-on activity involving the production of a student short film, script-writing is our starting point. Script writing is not immediately related to film, as it is, first and foremost, an aspect of creative writing (Γρόσδος, 2011; 2014). Creative writing, though, may be taught through the subject of Language in order for the audiovisual work to be produced. Yesterday, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education referred to a programme called Children Guiding us to Ancient Theaters. Before students proceed with the guided tour’s narrative, a level of historical empathy should be achieved in History class. Moreover, and prior to everything else, research should be conducted. How else would it be possible for students to present an ancient theater? This is what I mean when I suggest that media literacy shouldn’t be an individual subject in school curricula, but, that it should be linked with all other subjects and integrated in all school activities. To do the settings for a film, one should be involved with stage design, and therefore, with the Arts (Γρόσδος και Ντάγιου, 2003).

To sum up, my main points were the following: The first was the open interdisciplinary educational programme, I proposed, in which the teacher, assisted by Content files, will decide on how to teach media literacy. The second is the perception of film as multimodal. This was expressed in an educational programme (Πρόγραµµα Σπουδών για την Οπτικοακουστική Έκφραση, 2011) written by Menis Theodoridis and a team of education advisors in 2011. However, this programme, which was not intended for long-term use was never put to practice, even on a pilot level. It set goals, proposed activities and methodologies, designed courses of action for the production of audiovisual creations, but, that was it. It was limited as per its content.

Speaking of content, when it comes to audiovisual literacy there are two directions, with the first including not just film narrative, but, also, the arts, photography, television, animation, sound recording, video art etc. Moreover, film literacy cannot and should not stand on its own. It should be addressed in the wider context of mass communications literacy. As per the goals to be set, in order to reach the stage of producing audiovisual content, you have, first, to go through the critical approach stage.

Digital narration has drastically altered the educational landscape. How do we understand digital narration when it comes to students? Nowadays, it is more common than not, for students to have and use digital cameras. What is of interest, here, is that students do not only have the means to produce audiovisual content, but that they are, also, able to go public with them. The ability to post what was digitally produced, poses new challenges as far as media literacy is concerned. For example, there is the issue of ethics. Does a child have the right to go public with digital content consisting of instances from other children’s personal lives? Digital narration, having brought forward issues as such, reinforces and makes even more urgent the need for media literacy.

Twenty years have gone by, during which opportunities have come and gone. The Melina Programme (Θεοδωρίδης, 2002), was not simply an Arts Programme implemented in a significant number of Greek schools. All in all, it was an extensive research, an action plan focusing on what can be done with the arts in Greek education.  Melina Merkouri used to say, “Won’t I find in each school one crazy enough to commit to the arts?” The crazy one was found. The issue is what we are going to do with the rest, the reasonable ones. The Melina Progamme was not about arts education, it was about teaching through the arts. Basically, it aimed in linking the arts with school life. Another lost opportunity was the Going Cinema project (.Θεοδωρίδης,2001). I am referring to the project’s first two years. This is because the initial focus on film’s critical approach was quickly abandoned giving way to film production and technical frame. Lastly, the 2011 educational programme may as well be considered as another lost chance (Πρόγραµµα Σπουδών για την Οπτικοακουστική Έκφραση, 2011).

To conclude, I have spoken for an open interdisciplinary educational programme, a consecutive passage from child-viewer to child-critic and to child-producer, Content files and most important a wide educational framework in order to fit in all the crazy ones that exist in Greek education.

Bibliography

Γρόσδος, Σ. και Ντάγιου, Ε. (2003). Γλώσσα και Τέχνη. Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδόσεις Πανεπιστηµίου Μακεδονίας.

Γρόσδος, Σ. (2010). “Οπτικοακουστικός γραµµατισµός: Από το παιδί-καταναλωτή στο παιδί-δηµιουργό”, Επιθεώρηση Εκπαιδευτικών Θεµάτων, 16, 54-68.

Γρόσδος, Σ. (2011). “Εικόνα και γλωσσική διδασκαλία. Η διδακτική αξιοποίηση πολυτροπικών κειµένων”, Νέα Παιδεία, 138, 63-83.

Γρόσδος, Σ. (2014). Δηµιουργικότητα και δηµιουργική γραφή: από το παιδί γραµµατέα στο παιδί παραγωγό κειµένων. Στρατηγικές δηµιουργικής γραφής. Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδόσεις Πανεπιστηµίου Μακεδονίας.

Διαθεµατικό Ενιαίο Πλαίσιο Προγραµµάτων Σπουδών. Αναλυτικά Προγράµµατα Σπουδών Υποχρεωτικής Εκπαίδευσης, (2002). Αθήνα: ΥΠΕΠΘ-Π.Ι.

Ζέρη, Π., Θεοδωρίδης, Μ., Κατσούλης, Η., Κουµέντος, Γ., Μήτσου, Γ., Πιτσούλη, Θ., Σαντοριναίος, Μ. (1995), Έκθεση Συµπερασµάτων της Επιτροπής Οπτικοακουστικής Έκφρασης του προγράµµατος “ΜΕΛΙΝΑ – Εκπαίδευση και Πολιτισµός”, Αθήνα (αδηµ.).

Θεοδωρίδης, Μ. (2001). Πάµε σινεµά; Πρόγραµµα γνωριµίας µε τον Κινηµατογράφο. Αθήνα: Υπουργείο Πολιτισµού – ΥΠ.Ε.Π.Θ. – Φεστιβάλ Κινηµατογράφου Θεσσαλονίκης.

Θεοδωρίδης, Μ. (2002). Γνωριµία µε την οπτικοακουστική έκφραση. Προτάσεις του Προγράµµατος ΜΕΛΙΝΑ – Εκπαίδευση και Πολιτισµός για την καθιέρωση της οπτικοακουστικής παιδείας στο σχολείο. Η Λέσχη των Εκπαιδευτικών, 27, 33-38. Πρόγραµµα Σπουδών για την Οπτικοακουστική Έκφραση, (2011). Στο Πλαίσιο των δραστηριοτήτων Αισθητικής Αγωγής για όλες τις βαθµίδες της Υποχρεωτικής Εκπαίδευσης. Αθήνα: Υπουργείο Παιδείας και Διά Βίου Μάθησης, Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο.

Film Enters Classroom: A visitor changing teaching process

Panos Kourtides, Linguistics, Greek Literature

5th High School of Neapoli, Thessaloniki

Good morning. Thank you very much for inviting me and for giving me the opportunity to speak in this conference. Before I start, I would, particularly, like to thank the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum-Cinematheque. My random encounter with it, a few years ago, led to an inspirational collaboration  that produced what I am about to present.

I may be one of those fools in education, Mr. Grosdos, previously, referred to; that’s because I’m passionate about film, a cinephile myself for years now, and because I have been working as a literature teacher since 1998.  Considering all these, I should admit that what is about to follow is a synthesis of what I value the most, teaching and film.  I’m, especially, pleased I am addressing the audience after Mr. Grosdos as, I, more or less, agree with him. Having said so, my focus is on what can be done practically in order for film to enter classroom.

My presentation, as you can see, was originally intented for classroom-use. The visual element is always prominent because I address children and, therefore, I have to find ways of making things appear more attractive.

Film enters school, enters classroom, like a ”visitor” that is about to change the teaching process. The case study, you are about to witness, emerged from collaboration with the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum-Cinematheque in an outreach educational program that the Museum runs linking film with school subjects. For the program to be implemented, it is crucial that teachers work closely with the museum’s film educators, prior and through-out the duration of the targeted project. In my case, during literature class, a literary extract is being selected and turned into script. The filming of the adapted literary extract takes place in the Museum’s studio. Students are divided into groups and perform like a filming crew. That is the way in which this particular educational ”scenario” is designed.

One of the main aims of education, today, is to engage the recipient, who is the student, in creative discourse.  Communication is such a big issue and it becomes more and more complex as time goes by. Children are overloaded with visual stimuli.  Those visual stimuli need to be incorporated in school. Otherwise, education won’t be effective. So, how could we help secondary education students involve in creative dialogue, especially in the subject of literature? How could literature become more attractive to students and informative of other forms of expression, like audiovisual expression? How does the reading of a literary text affect the student’s emotions, and how does its film adaption influence the student’s perception? The truth is that the written word – those working in education face it day after day – is under crisis with children not being able to hold a pen properly. Children can’t write.  A solution to that may be to invest on audiovisual literacy maintaining, though, a balance for the audio-visual part not to work at the expense of the taught subject.

What Joseph Conrand said in 1897 that ”…by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel- it is before all to make you see…”, seems to have little to no effect in our days as literature doesn’t interest students much. For myself,  though, and for the projects that I run, it  stands as a point of departure.

My presentation moves mainly upon three axes. The first one refers to teaching and film. Due to my own passion for film, I find that those two have a lot in common.  They, both, reach out to audiences that are very demanding and hard to win. As a teacher, you  are expected to communicate educational material, just as film communicates creative vision.  This is the first angle, and an angle that helps me personally strengthen my teaching. The second axis is film as a learning tool for literature, and the third is film’s ability to provoke within school teams emotional response and measure interpersonal relations. It is with this third axis that I wish to conclude.

I’ve already spoken about education and film. It is my belief that every teacher has his own teaching method, a school of thought he refers to, his own, individual approach, just as a filmmaker has. When preparing for class, it is essential that the teacher directs his lesson plan, like a filmmaker does with script. This realization proved fundamental, as I have since changed my way of teaching to a certain extent.

Now, let’s get to the main issue: Film as a learning tool and as a means to overcome difficulties observed in the subject of literature. To begin with, we need to admit that whilst those two expressive means (literature and film) are structurally different, they share common principles. Film language and its visual codes make literature more accessible to students. In class, I may start with literary text and then move to its film adaptation, or, do the opposite. Use a film adaptation to introduce  a piece of literature piece and to provide theory framework, as is expected by school curriculum. Through processes as such, students visualize concepts hard to understand otherwise and, some learning difficulties are overcome.

Reading behind the lines of new school curricula, the one referring to secondary education at least, there appears to be an orientation similar to the one I have already described. Indicatively, I’ve selected some of new school’s aims and objectives, set by the new curricula and the Pedagogical Institute. The subject of literature is expected to familiarize students with all kinds of literacies including drama, media literacy etc., and to identify historical context, place, time, character and storyteller’s point of view and intention. Film may be very useful in simplifying things through the visual aspect.  Reflecting the emotions caused by any piece of literature, prose, poetry, or the performing arts, film may help students engage in constructive dialogue with literature. It may, also, help literature outreach for new readers and literacies.

The project I will present, which is intended for a three-month period, may, also, run for either a week or two. It focuses on a literary text and   could evolve into something that lasts longer.  The core philosophy is the following: approaching literature under the axes, already presented in previous power-point, and strengthening those axes by having them transcribed to film literacy. Next step is moving on to a comparative analysis of literary and film texts. Despite of their differences, both mediums share similar principles. Therefore, literature and film are not disconnected from one another, but, in discourse.

There is a theory part in high school’s literature that is really hard for students to understand, except if we make them visualize it. To defend the argument that follows, I will make references to three models of literary theory. My intention is to meet those two arts, literature and film, on their common ground, which is narration and to do so on the basis of three narrative tools:  Gerard Genette’s narratology, the theory of intertextuality and Roland Barthes’ narrative structure.

Using Barthes’ fundamental units of narration to familiarize students with visual literacy we, also, reinforce the ways in which literature is perceived. We start by searching for the basic functions of the text, the meaning in the progress of events, and narrative’s structure. Narrative structure has a fundamental, as well as a complementary role. For instance, for each accident there is a cause. Barthes model is extremely useful because it simplifies and decodes narrative structure in a very specific way, building a sketch map for students.

Moving on, we look into the text’s references, in other words we try to find additional information that shape atmosphere, for examples generic elements of character, time and space. Underlining these information, students come up with the narrative’s main body, with that which will then be turned into a story-board.

There comes a part, related to theory, students can’t easily understand. According to Genette’s narratology, we try, very often unsuccessfully to make students distinguish between writer and narrator. This is what puzzles them the most. Does the narrator participate in the events? Does he not? Does he focus on some things or characters more than others? Does he know more about a character or does he know less? All those considerations having to do with what is anticipated, with lack of narrative time, its actual duration etc. are quite difficult to be answered without some kind of a tool. Film smoothes down these issues as it reveals them through images. Transcribing all these meanings, like the narrator’s point of view etc. , into film language, shots, camera angles, framing, cross-cutting, we make it easier for students to understand and learn.

This approach, which moves from the literary to the visual, may, also, happen the  other way around starting with film and the analysis of its formative elements, and then turning to the actual work of literature. This methodology is entirely based on intertextuality, on the ways in which different forms of artistic expression communicate with and inform one another. Moreover, it may, also, involve the screening of just another film in order to ensure students’ understanding of film language before any quest for literary meaning. For instance, while speaking of literary heroes, characters, we could ask students perform a casting for finding the protagonists, the secondary characters and the extras. Students should, also, think how body language and movement reflect personal characteristics, how camera angles, shots and music communicate the characters’ psychology and emotional climax.

Whatever I search of with students in literature, the same I do with film. In this example, I am working on a text taught to 2nd Grade High-school students, The Flowers of Hirosima, written by Edita Morris. Our approach while turning literary extracts into film is the following: we  are looking into location, how we may depict the environment where action takes place, how filmic time unravels as opposed to textual time, which of the text’s images are the most vivid and acoustic ones, what is implied and anticipated, what kind of shots we may use to convert written word into image. Narrative, narrative techniques and writer’s point of view that are especially difficult to students, we convert into camera angles, point-of-view shots etc. that allow us to better understand the characters and the nature of storytelling.  All in all, we analyze narrative structure in terms of film, speaking of camera use, lighting, sound, lack of sound, pauses etc. This way, children, who are more familiar with image due to the visual culture they are living in,  find it easier to identify climax, wherever that is, conflict, culmination of conflict. They, also, identify the emotions film generates through character performance.

We proceed with the language of literature and of film focusing on what they both have in common. Our procedure is based on the pattern determined by school curriculum in terms of project work implementation. First of all, we place main issue within context through research, then we advise the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum for sorting out and categorizing our ideas, we spot the text’s extracts that would be interesting for students to visualize, we split into teams (scriptwriters, cameramen, costume designers etc.) so as to be able to perform as a filming crew and proceed to creative output. There is, of-course, feedback on all stages and a final project assessment. On the left you can see a poster children made inspired by the filming of extracts from “The flowers of Hiroshima”. [image]

To conclude, I have chosen not to show you the film adaptation I attempt with students the past five years on The Flowers of Hirosima. Instead, I will share with you an instance that I believe illustrates the way in which film made me realize some vital things. After all, education’s new orientations place emphasis not solely in the development of cognitive skills, as did the previous education plan, but, also, on the student’s emotional and psychosocial growth through carefully designed projects and social school. Today, focus shifts from the adaptation and filming of literary extracts, to the my presentation’s third axis: how could film assist teachers in approaching the emotional world of students and improve emotionally charged situations, how could film perform as a tool for empathy.

What you are about to watch are two short extracts from what we did last time at the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum-Cinematheque with one of the Museum’s Educators, Mrs Delidaki. The subject of difference/diversity that the educational program dealt with derived from a literary text, taught in 2nd Grade High-school. Due to lack of time, I couldn’t engage students in a 3-month long project. Instead, I decided to work on difference and to arrange with the Museum that we film an ad-type short with the students expressing themselves on the issue of violence, on how they perceive it and what they propose we do to eliminate it.

There is something in this video that made an impression to me and Mrs Delidaki. Before taking my students to the Museum for an educational program,  I have had with them in school a theoretical conversation about violence, verbal violence that is. While in the Museum, the student whom you will notice sitting on the right – I have taken permission for this reference of mine– pleasantly surprised me as he let go of himself and expressed freely. His parents felt particularly happy about this, as Kimonas is an introvert, rarely expressing himself.  Having certain personality traits I won’t talk about, Kimonas finds it hard to emotionally connect, and, thus, become part of school’s social environment. Although at school, we prepared what students had to say during the educational program, Kimonas ended up saying something totally different expressing, however, genuine feeling. I have known him the past two years and whereas I am in the group against school bullying, he has never approached me to say that there is something going on.  This extract, filmed in the Museum, proves the potential of film in making children feel secure and express themselves. The extracts shown from Prayer and the Yellow Bicycle, helped kids, on the one hand, open up and talk about things, and myself, on the other, to intervene and improve classroom atmosphere. I would like you to pay attention to the way the student sitting next to Kimonas reacts when he listens to what Kimonas is saying and how awkward he seems to feel.  [Video Projection]

Thank you very much.

Bibliography

Barthes, R. 1988(1990). Εισαγωγή στη δοµική ανάλυση των αφηγηµάτων, Εικόνα-Μουσική-Κείµενο, µτφ. Γιώργος Σπανός, Αθήνα :εκδ. Πλέθρον.

Genette, G. (2007). Σχήµατα ΙΙΙ,Ο λόγος της αφήγησης:Δοκίµιο µεθοδολογίας και άλλα κείµενα, µτφ Μπ.Λυκούδης. Αθήνα: εκδ. Πατάκης.

Κιούκας Α. (επιµέλεια) ( 2002). Η κινηµατογραφική αφήγηση – Μια ιστορία µε εικόνες και ήχους,Τόµος Α-Β, Θεσσαλονικη: Φεστιβάλ Κινηµατογράφου Θεσσαλονίκης.

Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο. ΝΕΟ ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟ (Σχολείο 21ου αιώνα) (2011). Νέο Πρόγραµµα Σπουδών, Εκπόνηση Προγραµµάτων Σπουδών Πρωτοβάθµιας και Δευτεροβάθµιας Εκπαίδευσης και οδηγιών για τον εκπαιδευτικό «Εργαλεία Διδακτικών Προσεγγίσεων». Αθήνα: Υπουργείο Παιδείας και δια Βίου Μάθησης.

Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο. (2011). Βασικό Επιµορφωτικό Υλικό, Μείζον Πρόγραµµα Επιµόρφωσης. Τόµος Α-Β, Αθήνα: Υπουργείο Παιδείας και δια Βίου Μάθησης.

What is Cinema, the art of image, or, the art of speech? What is cinema’s purpose?

Dimos Avdeliodis, Director

I would like to congratulate you for this initiative. Albeit State’s lack of progress on this particular field, at least, there is still the opportunity to exchange ideas and engage in productive discourse.  Let us not forget that discourse is the first step towards progress and that each step we take is very important.

I am really pleased with the interest expressed in here. I would like to refer to a word used by Mr Grosdos, pleasure. Mr Kourtidis has, also, expanded on the notion of pleasure, though in a different manner, showing love and concern and that’s what is important. It is self-evident that the art of film, the arts in general, offer an all-emotive experience that could alter human consciousness. Moreover, nowadays, we are all aware of the access provided by the internet. Cinemas, theatre, as well as, the rest of the arts have all become accessible to the public via the net.

Consequently, what is central to today’s discussion is the following: what exactly would be that which would enter school curricula and in what way would this happen? In order for this to be assessed, one should be familiar not just with the particular art medium, in which case it is film, but with the arts in general. Let us not forget that film is nothing more than literature, the art of language, and that the first ever film was Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad. In both epic poems, a bard sings and through his signing images are generated. It is as if the audience is watching a film. The verses are sang in such a manner that the audience stops listening to the words. The bard, himself, does not place emphasis on words. He performs so as to lead the audience turn words into images, ideas, emotions. Therefore, Odyssey and Iliad are indeed a primary source of film. In other words, if Homer lived today, he wouldn’t compose verses, he would express through film.

It is on a basis as such that we can initiate discussion on what art is, as those two ancient lengthy tales constitute the root of all narrative forms. We know well enough, through proof provided by numerous studies, that the ancient dramatists imitated Homer. In terms of drama and narration, they did nothing more to what was already there. Simply, a new narrative structure was introduced, a structure resembling that of the opera. Discursive scenes were followed by the chorus, which heightened dramatic action by providing character insight, underlining key elements while downplaying others, altogether representing collective consciousness. The thought and rhetoric of the chorus can be traced back in Homer’s body of work. Even Euripides’ deus ex machina device was not his. The idea was introduced by Homer in Odyssey with the apparition of goddess Athena concluding the drama. It was as if Homer said “I have had enough. I have composed 15.000 verses. Now, I am bringing down the God and I am finished.”

Homeric poems constitute an inexhaustible source for everything ancient thought has pondered on. Homer, the father of Western literary tradition, and later in time other ancient dramatists including Aristophanes, did not just invent oral verse, but went a step further analyzing aesthetic and philosophical qualities in order to understand how  language functions and the way in which it may become an object of study. Instead of being attributed to divine inspiration, narration was carefully looked at in order to become embedded, processed and finally assessed. In other words, Homer and his successors have treated language and its usage not as something deriving from the divine charisma of skilled artists, but as something that is possible to be understood, learned and handled by everyone.

That is actually the core philosophy of education and it is not by chance that Homer is considered the educator of Greece and one that had a great impact on Greek culture. A culture that constantly reproduced the models presented in Iliad and Odyssey. This becomes evident while researching historic time. Think of Aliviades, he doesn’t do anything else than imitating Achilles. The model of Achilles is built by Homer. Agamemnon derives from the model of Kreontas etc. Aristophanes’ comic heroes originate from Thersites. There is no archetype that doesn’t exist in the cosmos of Iliad and Odyssey. Fundamentally, this means that if we wish to examine the function of art, its original intention, we would have to retrace what was written back then. More specifically, we would have to refer to Aristotle’s Poetics  and to its exemplary introduction by Ioannis Sikoutris where the subject of art is addressed as an all-time history of dialectic thought, which hasn’t ever since been confuted. Even those who partially tried to overturn it, like for instance Syd Field with his Paradigm Theory in Screeplay, were not aware of Sikoutris, who remains dialectical and who, by using Aristotle’s Poetics  has found a way to create interesting plots. Field’s approach basically removed the dialectical character, which still remains open and unconstraint, and narrowed down scriptwriting to a prescribed method. For example, in page 10 there should be the first plot twist. In page 60 there should be the second plot twist. The idea of Plot Points is something that limits possibility. Most misunderstandings having to do with Poetics, as well as with other works ancient Greek thought produced and Enlightenment spread to the rest of the world, originated from poor translations. From words that couldn’t be translated in Latin or Arabic and whose meaning was altered. Many mistakes occurred. Today, that Ancient Greek are approached differently, we have become aware of these discrepancies which led to misinterpreting the fundamentals of human thought and intelligence.

A word may instantly portray an individual and thus create an image that cannot be then removed. Same way, in the arts, the slightest divergence in meaning may result in losing substance of what was supposed to be said. Losing substance of secondary importance incidents and facts may not call for dispute, but if the dialectical spirit is lost then we should re-examine since in dialectical processes there is a pursuit for agreement. Dialectics is not something vague. It means that there is discourse about a specific subject, for instance between us and that we wish to establish the truth through reasoned arguments. If you are convinced by my argument and consider it rational, then I may take it a step or a couple of steps further always aiming in overcoming disagreement and reaching group consensus through rational discussion. The point is for all of us to establish a precise definition of the subject, that being either an idea, a happy or dramatic incident. Unfortunately, we, humans, constantly living under the threat of death while dealing with everyday life, use reason to defend ourselves, to learn about the root cause of things, to achieve a deeper understanding so as to handle fate. An individual doesn’t do art just to have fun. Surely, in the course of creation there is fun. One takes delight in ancient drama because there is the convention of catharsis. For instance, the ancient poet focuses on tragic incidents such as murders or suicides and we become engaged by what unravels without being ourselves sadomasochists.

Why? Primarily, because this is a product of representation and it doesn’t have anything to do with naturalism. I would like to make, here, a remark regarding naturalism. In relation to the arts, naturalism, wherever it was introduced, meant destruction; the destruction of art that is a unique human tool.  Take Roman conquerors and what they did to ancient theatres. Regarding theatre almost as equal as chariot racing and gladiatorial contest, they’ve turned murder into something real and not into an act of mimesis. Gladiator fights were naturalistic representations of reality that excited spectators precisely because of their true and not mimetic nature. What reality shows do to us today. They show participants doing whatever and expect viewers to fall victims of their own voyeurism and enjoy this absolute naturalism as some kind of an art, just because it’s on TV. Total degradation, total confusion as to what art is and is not. As things progress, we realize that this type of naturalism may someday lead to extreme phenomena with people committing murder in the name of art, why not? This would be even more convincing. The whole world would remain stuck in TV to watch the murder taking place. Imagine how exciting this might be or not? Has the individual been born for those emotions of fear and constant terror? Or, has the individual been born solely for a pleasure feasible in a paradise we have all forgotten of?

We have forgotten it because we have learned a lot and became extremely smart, we are knowledgeable. We know everything. Everything is available. However, we cannot distinguish dark from light, truth from lie, right from wrong. We cannot see the difference because at some point we got confused.  Today, all are wise, all know everything about medicine, the sciences, cinema, the arts, whatever is out there. Each has an opinion and it is there that confusion exists as in all inane things one might say there might be something right, nonetheless scrappy. Feeling impressed by what is essentially scrappy those listening tend to accept as equally right all the rest.

Why are all people frightened of violence? There is nobody that is not afraid of violence. Even those who act violently are themselves the most frightened ones because they are afraid of the other. Deeply ignorant, perceiving the other, the unknown, as something dark and threatening, they respond aggressively to defend themselves.   We have reached the point where 90% of today’s art is about violence, fear and terror. Why this lust for fear and terror? Maybe because it sells? If so, why does it sell? Is it because, people are constantly frightened for their individual, as well as collective, integrity? We are afraid for us and our families, for our friends, our national identities. Too much fear. To eliminate fear, we aesthetisize it. Watching violence in a film or an artwork does nothing more than making violence appear acceptable, almost natural, something we could reconcile with. This is where it has come to. That is the use of art for constantly reproducing something totally harmful, even criminal, as it deconstructs human consciousness, the prospect for peace, love, empathy, respect, as was mentioned by the child in the video screened previously. Respect, such a big word voiced by such a small child.

These are things we all wish for. However, it is only when we are young that we have a sense of what we truly want. Gradually, as time passes, we become poisoned. We consume poisonous art, same way we consume processed food, without making any assessments due to lack of evaluation criteria. Within this framework, which unfortunately exists and functions perfectly, confusion emerges.  Nonetheless, it was this confusion that led in the past Europe to First and Second World War. The only continent mature enough to handle humanity’s fate, Europe has had a rough time, a bitter experience. And, though, good intentions and attempts for the past to be avoided exist, confusion persists and intensifies whatever is there to be resolved. Confusion is the fear being instilled in us. It means that we cannot think and decide according to reason.

Amongst others, I, also, hold responsible all those products feeding our bodies, eyes and ears. Gradually, we are brainwashed to believe that all is happening naturally and that things cannot be done differently. This means we have lost control as individuals, as well as collective identities etc. Except those individuals and groups that continue to perform in a positive manner, all the rest have become brainwashed and cannot do otherwise. I, myself, was brainwashed before cutting down on TV. Addicted to watching the news, I poisoned myself, day after day.  In other words, time that may be used productively to live life and create, is lost since it is being turned into something poisonous that occupies human mind and leaves space for nothing else. Therefore, we are far from what we were originally made for. We do not use anymore our ability to create. We passively accept Media’s mash. I should admit that I do not hold anything against media. It is not media’s intention to poison us. This is happening because we have found ourselves within a competitive system wherein everyone strives for survival. For those working in the media sector, survival means selling this poisonous mash. Let us not forget that, this is a sector offering employment to a significant number of people.

It seems as if things run on autopilot. In this particular case, however, no autopilot exists. We sail the ocean on board of a rudderless vessel. Once in a while, world leaders gather up to take decisions on important issues. Decision making takes so long that issues remain unresolved while in the meantime new problems occur. Not a man on earth wishes to be on a rudderless vessel. (Comment off-microphone). That is the essence of my speech. Most were said on the subject by my esteemed colleagues. Personally, I couldn’t speak of the issue without tracing back the reasons behind this whole situation. Returning to film, I should say that it is primarily narrative. Many, though, believe that film is image. It is not. We perceive it as image. Film is narrative. It is through narrative that image synthesis is made possible. Images are organized under a given signification system and in such a manner so as to convey meaning. Therefore, language/narrative is the primary source. Even when watching a silent film, it is the visual narrative that dominates over image itself. That is because images are knitted together to produce text. It is through the images that we understand text and textual meaning.  When Orson Welles made Citizen Kane, he combined text with image. The film, which was unanimously praised by the critics, was to become one of the most influential ones in film history.

It is language. What is, after all, language? Language is the tool of reason humans possess and use to handle their fates. Human will is the effect of language, which is unique and unrepeatable. If we do not understand that art functions on the level of mimesis to represent reality, we will not comprehend what is exactly that which distinguishes art from all other cognitive processes. It is pleasure. The pleasure of indulging into something that permits us experience safely the tragic and the feared and makes it possible for us to handle. That is a unique element of art. No other human activity may offer this kind of satisfaction. The content a scientific discovery or a newfound idea offers to the scientist or scholar himself is a personal thing and cannot be understood by us. It is only through art that we may understand Einstein’s enthusiasm. Thus, if we exclude pleasure from a work of art, it is not art anymore. It is what I have previously pointed it out to be. It is criminal art. Emerging from ignorance, not intentionally, it is criminal, because it reproduces unpleasant feelings, confusion and, consequently, creates fear. Fear means isolation from the others. Fear means that I walk out of a theatre hall without feeling relaxed. Instead of having summoned the courage to carry on, I fear even more than I did before. This kind of art is no good.

I would like to conclude with that, which we have been discussing here: what schools need – having agreed on school’s significance in building consciousness. Education may primarily be a responsibility of parents and then a responsibility of school. Nevertheless, school is systemic, and as such sturdier. There should be an art in school that will provide pleasure, not solely questions. There exist masterpieces from around the world, short or feature length films dealing with human thought on love, peace and creation, which may be entertaining and at the same time sense-awakening. This type of films should be chosen and screened to children. Honestly, if a child is entertained by a work of art, then there is no need for further analysis. Analysis may be necessary so as the child gains insight into the conditions and artistic spirit that permitted the actual creation. Let us not fall into the trap of over analysis where everything is treated to the point that it ceases to exist.

For Viziinos and Papadiamantis many in-depth treatises have been written. There exist numerous surgical analyses of Papadimantis literary works looking out for troubled situations, for Papadimantis troubled spirit, where was this and where was that.  By the time you finish reading these analyses, your appreciation of the author has been lost.  Deconstructing for reaching new levels of understanding is what we should be aiming for rather than a deconstruction that will ultimately destroy art and its creator.  Attention shall be paid. There is not yet a possibility for something better, not because there are no brains, but because there is not yet a framework here that will allow the development of film critics. Most of the film critics we have do just professional work. Their criticism does not aim in making the world better. If criticism and art do not aspire in making the world a better place to be, then they cease to be art. We understand that, but we do not agree. Art should be transcendental, chase the far-fetched. This is the only way to make our dreams come true. Thank you.

Family film education as a special case of informal film education

Martyna Janiszewska, MA in Cultural Studies, University of Lodz

Informal Film Education Trainer

It’s an honor to be here, and to be able to share my story which could be yours, as well. This means that I am going to talk about family education and about myself as a family film educator. My presentation is a tribute to you all and your kids. Moreover, I have noticed a girl in the audience who reminds me of my own kids and this makes me feel really happy.

I and Malgorzata Jakuboswka, who delivered her speech yesterday, have both graduated from the same university. Our personal paths, though, are quite different. I am active in film education, but I’m not in touch with it every day. I became a film educator when I finished school and my first attempt in this field was a project, called “Gauda” which means “joy”. Gauda was something like a “kindergarten for kids”. Then, I did workshops with activities involving optical tools. I will present them to you later. After “Gauda” was sold, I led a project called “Edumediani”, which means “The people who want to educate themselves in media”. This is the project’s poster. It was designed by a teenager participating in the project.

At some point, due to a change in my life circumstances, I had to give up non-profit activity and find paid work. I ended up spending too much time working and less with my kids. So, I decided to leave the project and to channel my passion for cinema to my own kids. What is interesting, as well as promising, is that I can share my own experience with you, or, better even, we can all share our experiences.

These are my kids. It’s very important to introduce them because I promised that in whatever comes next I will have them involved, as happened in my previous project; of course, finding time for this next project is difficult. This is my girl and I have told her that I will do something special for her.

While in formal film education, I designed something like a little TEC  theory. In Polish it is attributed differently, so this is its English translation. It may sound quite strange, but it will surely be remembered. Taking this theory step-by-step, I will explain how it works and then I will show how you may use it in practice, in everyday life with your family. It is a simple theory and is inclusive of most of the things you are already aware of, and which were discussed in here. Personally, I find that film and media education is something that you do with your kids. The audio and video experiences have to be shared and discussed in order to perform education-wise and in terms of creation.

Together, means doing things with your kids. In the case of media, it means going with your kids to film festivals and watching films in the company of one another. What happens in reality, though, is far removed. Smart-phones and other media tools separate us rather than bring us together. Even if we don’t want this to happen, it does happen, especially during the evenings. I feel so worried when I go to my kids’ room and have to tell them “Stop with your phones! Enough!”

It is important to note here, that film education is not just about film, but that it refers to all that we can see and listen to. So, it may be the connection between music and film, it may be street art, a comic book, or, even the cover of a newspaper. [visual] Here is street art and here is a comic book or rather something that we discovered; an Australian author who makes picture stories; it’s not really a comic book.

Talking. Talking is essential as it allows us to share our opinions. We need to learn how to talk. We need to improve our communication skills. We cannot scream to each other when we do not have the same opinion. It is important to know how to argue and how to justify our positions. Moreover, what is important, especially when it comes to my kids, is for them not to cry when feedback is unpleasant.

Education. Everything we experience is just another step towards expanding our knowledge, towards becoming more educated. Speaking of my children, it’s not just me who educates them. They educate me, as well. You are going to see how later.

Last, but not least, in my TEC theory is Creation. Creation is the stage wherein we become active after we having seen something and having learnt how to do it. The photos and flip books you are about to see constitute creative output. The same goes for review-writing.

Home film education should have its special space. In our home, this is where film education takes place.

It’s brilliant having such a space because my kids can go there and read all these newspapers. Recently my daughter said, “Ok, mom, let’s watch a film now” and she took out the one she wanted us to watch.

For me, it is essential that my kids do not pick Disney animation. Not because I don’t like Disney – I do.  However, Disney productions are everywhere.  I want to introduce my kids to something different, something that I consider to be top quality animation. For instance, “Hedgehog in the Fog” and other Russian and Polish kids animation. Here is my son watching Vitor Giersz’s brilliant Polish animation “Little Western”. Sometimes, while watching some of these films, my kids complained, “Mom, please stop with these strange films; let’s watch something normal”. What I did was to take them to the Warsaw Film Festival, which is not actually normal. It was there that we discovered this film.

I think you might know “Rabbit and Deer”. It is a Hungarian film that you can find online. It’s a very nice film about two dimensions: how to communicate with 2D and 3D.

One of the games I enjoy playing with my kids is fishing from the internet. We have YouTube evenings and show each other things we discovered and made an impression on us. Little treasures, we have found on the web.

Imagine how nice that is. Us, parents, sharing our web-search on, let’s say, rock and roll, or, jazz songs and having our kids listen to them. Then, our children doing the same, sharing with us their own choices. This way we learn things about each another. What  each of us likes and enjoys. This activity has, also, shown me that sometimes it is important to even follow the crap. It is ok for my kids to really like a silly comedy about North Korea, as far as I can later show them “Defilada”, a  film by Andrzej Fidyk for North Korea. [presentation]

Something we are currently doing is having family film evenings followed by media questions. One of the most frequently asked questions, and one that answers on the individual’s film preferences, is “What is your favourite film and why?” However, do we know what the favourite film of our grandparents, mother, sister, brother is and why? By   addressing questions as such to family members,  we become familiar with our grandmother’s taste in film, we discover what the rest of the family enjoys and feels inclined to watch and be pleased about.   [presentation] Other media questions may be: “What is the first film you remember watching in cinema?”, “Who was the actor/actress you used to be in love with?”,  “Do you recall a film that changed your world vision?”,  “What kind of experience was watching the first TV shows?”,  “Which was the film that made you cry?”, “Which was the film that made your father cry?”. As per media competence, the questions asked may be: “Do you know what your kids know?”, “Do you know what your kids know better than you do?”, “What can your kids teach you and the others?”, “What can you teach your kids?” [end of presentation]

These two projects I have talked about, also, consisted of optical tool workshops. I like these tools because I can carry them with me, touch and play with. They are very easy to construct. For example, this is a thaumatrope. It is an optical device with pictures drawn on both sides. When you have the pictures alternate speedily you see them blend into one. [image] This is just to remember what a thaumatrope looks like. Here are some images from the thaumatrope workshops. That one shows a flip book. I’ve got with me flip books. I purchased them from the Internet. These are illustrated books that employ a linear sequence of pictures. Once flipped speedily, these pictures become motion pictures. They are very nice because you can touch them and you just save a moment and go through them with your family.  It is very easy to make them. The materials, needed, can be found in almost every household. Americans know how to use them in order to earn money.

The last tool in line is the zoetrope. We have got one from a friend, but it needs repair. We use it less than the thaumatrope and the flip books.

Now, I am going to briefly speak about the games me and my kids play with film pictures. This is a game called “memo”. You just need sets of pictures that you place face-down and have to memorize their position. Another game is “Dixit”. I will show you a slide show of a “memo” session wherein what is interesting to observe is how kids learn about old Polish posters. You can see them here. [presentation]. These kind of posters are not made anymore. Nowadays, posters depict just film’s actors. One day, however, we found on the Internet this kind of minimal, very artistic posters that are very interesting to look at.

This slide show may be considered as some kind of film experience. Combining image with music, this is material that generates feelings. Feelings you can discuss with the kids once having seen the presentation. Currently, we are working on a homemade database consisting of our selection of films, as well as scenes and frames from these films divided by subject. A nice subject, ideal for making a flip-book from the database’s frames would be time and time passing. I saw this flip book recently in “Film Trash” by Stephen Daldry. I don’t know if you have seen the film, but do it if you haven’t and take a look at the flip book there.

I would like to invite you to a Facebook group “Crazy about Film Education”. I am going to set it up today or tomorrow. You already know who I am and it is going to be in English. Please join. Thank you.

Science Fiction and childhood: Reaching for the Other through the poetics of Otherness

Dr. Dimitris Goulis, PhD, Education Studies University of Ioannina

Head teacher of 67th Primary School of Thessaloniki

Good afternoon. I would like to thank the organizers for the invitation. I am the last one in the list and, thus, I will be the one to finish off conference proceedings. Hopefully, I won’t be finishing you off.

I would like to refer to something the previous speaker said, that, if you do not have a passion for cinema and the drive to let your children know about it, then nothing will happen. Colleagues, usually, come and ask me about things to do with cinema. If you do not feel love, adoration for cinema, or, if you haven’t fallen for its magic, how do you expect to deal with it?

I am really pleased to find myself among people from Hungary and Poland. I must confess that for many years now I am living my Bela Tarr period and, hence, I appreciate all the more the Hungarian presence here today. Poland, on the other hand, remains the last couple of years a field of study as I am teaching the Holocaust and Andrzej Wajda’s Korczak, a film that really overwhelmed me. Besides, I have been in Poland in 2013, in Lublin.

I will try not to be overtly theoretical as far as science fiction goes, which is my subject for today. I will begin by saying that human history is defined as a history of limitations and of references to the relationship with the other, which functions either as complimentary to the self, or, as a manifestation of personal identity. Therefore, otherness constitutes a basic element of any type of thinking, classification and representation of environment. This may be attributed to the fact, that notions of self and the other are essentially complimentary, the structural elements of personal identity.

This conclusion poses, in the center of discussion, the idea of communication as an all-inclusive reference to the entire scope of human activity. The counterbalance of self and the other constitutes a formative element of one’s notion of individual identity. Additionally, the way the other is perceived determines society’s communication structure, since identity is in the epicenter of dialectic (Konstantopoulou & oth., 2000).

I will recall Julia Kristeva who claims, that the other is born the instance the individual figures out his/hers otherness, and completes when the individual acknowledges otherness. She goes on the say that ‘this situation of oneself being different may be held accountable for human autonomy and, thus, it might be considered as one of the most fundamental elements characterizing a civilization”. Kristeva reminds, also, of Freud, who supported that “the only way not to pursue the other, is to discover it in ourselves.” (Kristeva, 1991). I feel that all those are tragically relevant to what is currently happening, especially in terms of science-fiction with which I have been initially involved as a spectator, without really understanding why.

The notion of otherness, as well as the breaking point between the other and the self, was always dealt by science-fiction in a manner so complete, no other literary, or, respectively, film genre managed.  Possibly, science-fiction is the genre, the most representative, in making full use of great philosophical subjects and issues (Sanders, 2008). What is human existence? How does individual identity develop? What role do reason, desire and memory play in the establishment of the human being?

From time to time, those issues come up in science-fiction in a manner that is celebrative, or, un-negotiable, or, even insinuative, which, I, personally, find the most intriguing. Therefore, the notion of otherness, by which I am occupied, has essentially been the source of inspiration for any past or contemporary science-fiction narratives. From antiquity wherein there is Loukianos to remember, from the  inhabitants of the distant future met in Time-machine and Wells’ aliens in The War of the Worlds, we come to understand that otherness and deviations from the norm  have always been articulated by science fiction to the extent no other genre did. Let us not forget, science-fiction’s infatuation with the alien other, an important parameter in most of the genre’s films (Roberts, 2000).

I would like to stress, here, the following: this notion of otherness, met in science-fiction, has its own developmental stages. While in the past the other was, initially, made into something odd and disturbing, representing threat and the unfamiliar, in the process of time, it was shaped into being more accessible and empathetic like Spielberg’s E.T. Today, threat doesn’t come from the other, it comes from us.

Both in literature and science-fiction films, alien prospect becomes increasingly prevalent and generally accepted, or, is understood as different to us. However, and contrary to past beliefs, the other does not, anymore, represent a threat. What is common in, past and present, approaches and images is the definition of self through the other, which is hetero-referential. Unable to determine who we are, we may as well concentrate on who we are definitely not in order to grasp the essence of our own being.

Science-fiction, precisely because it relates to such an extent with the other, is capable of speaking about modernity’s ethics through metaphors of the future and the consequences of progress.  As, characteristically, noted by Pinsky, science sees into future, whereas science-fiction narrates the future (Pinsky, 2003).  And as far as science-fiction goes, future is determined by alien contact, technological miracles, fear and repulsion, aliens, the universe, as well as by internal struggle, the mysteries of human mind and body.

As, already, mentioned, we acknowledge ourselves as human beings and in the process of growing up we begin to differentiate between what is our self and what is not. Describing this which is not our self as Not-self, Pinsky, inevitably, outlines the differences between Other and Another (Pinsky, 2003). Other implies a complex system of devaluation and is based on a number of possibilities. While an Other is mere object, Another retains the status as a subject with its own integrity helping us interrelate.

This explains the utility of science-fiction as time span and cultural baggage, both constituting points of departure for actions that lead to the conclusion of others as being us since otherness is, in reality, an encounter with our Self. This is exactly the reason why the proposed teaching material, which will follow, is not about fiction having to do with the other as something outside of us, not human, like a cyborg, or, an alien. Instead, the proposed material focuses on circumstances in which the other, being one of us, is gradually transformed into something the rest are incapable of recognizing as human.

Childhood as a time period, cultural baggage, or, social construct, is characterized by its ability for creation and re-creation due to its affiliation with imagination and the imaginary. Out of childhood’s conduct with the poetics of otherness, which is essentially science-fiction, valuable information arise regarding the treatment of Other over time, while at the same time ideological and political priorities are unearthed. Those priorities may, under certain approaches, contribute significantly in the shaping of active and critical spectators, as well as of potential creators. Science-fiction influences positively the development of imagination and respectively the child’s critical ability since it improves that which is imagined. As Todorov states in his book, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre, in 1973, imagination originates and achieves substance through the literature of the fantastic.

The world that unfolds before the eyes of the reader, or, in our case, the viewer, exists simply as setting. Inexistent in the past, this setting may transpire in future. In this world there is enough space for any type of imaginary actions. Science-fiction proves that the individual is one that imagines, envisions, and is encouraged to keep on living, to build a scientifically advanced world and, ultimately, break free from mundane reality.  At last, and as it usually happens in sci-fi movies, science-fiction provides to the child the opportunity to identify with the hero (Nuba et al., 1999)..

For audiovisual literacy many were heard, today, I believe, and the attitude and approach towards it amounts to nothing more than that presented by Mr. Grosdos. In the 67th Primary School of Thessaloniki, from where I come from, a selection of science-fiction films is used as learning tool in the teaching practice. The selected films present the unfamiliar, the uncanny, the threat, as well as threat’s validity, and culminate in negotiating notions of the other and otherness, mostly in contemporary creations. The use of film as learning tool led us, also, in attempting to express creatively. I hope we will be able to watch end-product.

The first film we have worked with is the “The Incredible Shrinking Man”. Directed by Jack Arnold, this classic sci-fi film – I cannot call it a mere b-movie – tells the story of Scott Carey whose exposure to a cloud of radioactive spray has made him shrink to the point of becoming infinitesimal, invisible. Why is the film, still, popular? Because, it presents, in an imaginative manner, the dangers involved in the unreasonable use of nuclear energy and of any other scientific achievement which, respectively, may turn against humans.  Most important, and this is the interesting and substantial part as far as the children are concerned, it opens up discussion about cinema being a trick, a magical act, an illusion of reality. Children become familiar with the image being the mediator of something constructed, and therefore unreal. Image lies, same way as language does. This provides us a great opportunity for developing children’s critical stance towards creative content. Science-fiction is ideal in communicating what is disguised as true and untrue in an entertaining and pleasant manner. Shall we watch the extract? (video-screening)

Topical issues of solitude and difference are, also, of interest here, since the other makes its appearance in the film not as the uncanny, the different and distant one, but, in the form of a human, just like us, who loses humanity through momentous shrieking.  In fact, what we are witnessing is a case of de-humanization whereas one is just like us and suddenly turns into other.

How is teaching procedure designed? Naturally, we need to whet children’s appetite. We begin with activities that allow us to assess the film such as period games, introductions on genre, content analysis, discussions on issues under-question like nuclear energy and the atomic bomb. I would like to stress, here, the non-linear implementation of activities.  The children I have made the film with are Fourth graders. You will watch the film in the end. Without wanting to sound overindulgent, I would like to say that children surprised me, giving more than I ever expected.

During the film’s screening session there is extensive discussion. Initially, I let children enjoy the film. I have seen colleagues interrupting the screening to make questions, “What did you see here?” Personally I find that this is unfair, unjust for any work of art. In a painting, you do not remove any of its formative elements, let’s say a mountain, and then utter, “What a wonderful mountain!”, omitting the rest of the synthesis. You should observe the entire painting. In a similar spirit, let’s leave children watch films uninterrupted, as they wish, and be emotionally responsive. Enable the viewer connect with the film. There is no need to always provide explanations

The discussion, ensuing the screening, is a model-practice implemented in all selected. First reactions are greatly valued as they are spontaneous. Narrative line is analyzed in very simple terms. In this particular film, and because Scott Carrey is the narrator, and, at the same time, the character who shrinks, discussion follows on the narrator’s role and on the history of cinematic tricks and special effects.  There is, always, the aspect of music wherein from being viewers, we move into being critical viewers-readers, I am borrowing the term from literature, digging deeper in content.

Sound, as well as music, is decisive in film. Children know that, they have experienced it. They can tell that music changes when the scene climaxes and they can identify music compatible to content. However, and though they know those things through experience, it makes significant difference talking about them. Talking is followed by games. There is a game, found in a French-Canadian book containing instructions for all the editing-type games one may play, children adored. I cannot show it to you now. In brief, what we did, to show truth and lie, was to shoot a student reading a book in class. Through editing, we made the book disappear and the student to complain to the teacher, saying “My book has disappeared. Unfortunately, I cannot do the homework and, therefore, there is no need to test me.”

I would like to place emphasis on something I consider vital. Everything we attempt to do, we should somehow connect it to children and their experiences. This is extremely important for anything we do in school.

I would have showed you an extract from the film in which Scott meets a female-dwarf. However, it might take too long and I have to have time to show the kids’ film.  The character that eventually shrinks, starts off as the traditional narrative’s successful hero only to turn miniscule. When he meets the female-dwarf, she tells him not to worry, that “The sky is as blue for people like you and me as it is for the

giants.”  When she says to Scott, “I was born a midget. It’s the way I grew up. And now it’s happened to you and that is different.”, he bitterly responds, “Different? That’s another way of saying alone.” This dialogue is instrumental in opening discussion about everyday life and the solitude felt in difference. Many things have been said on this issue the last couple of years.

What is, also, of interest regarding the film is that in the end it reveals its true meaning. Whilst Scott disappears from the world of humans, he continues to feel that he is being at the centre of universe in countless sizes.  His last line, “I meant something too. To God there is no zero. I still exist.”, opens up a vast array of topics of existential nature.

The second film, The Boy with Green Hair, used in class for exploring otherness, is a 1948 gentle parable concerning tolerance and understanding directed by Joseph Losey. The film’s polemics provide a hint of what was to come, Losey being victimized and sent into exile during the McCarthyite purges of Hollywood. Peter, a war orphan, wakes up one morning and realizes his hair have turned green. The character’s story, a parable on difference and a social comment on racism, can be, broadly, seen as an allegory of American prejudices, nevertheless, so extraordinary that it amazed the audiences of the time and became a source of inspiration for many filmmakers, such as David Lynch.

Off-course, you may by now wonder, how we managed to find the time and do all these. As a Head-master, I have this advantage I am not questioned by anyone about programming and teaching content. I do not have to report. This may, also, be considered a response to the discussion we have had here about curriculum and taught subjects etc.  That is not to say there is no problem. There is, indeed, a problem. We are, still, focusing too much on course syllabus expectations and ignore the rest. This has to finish at some time. We are in 2016, we will see. Those fools, being passionate about education, may increase.

Pay attention to this scene, I am going to show you. It has made to me a great impression. Each time I show it to children, and especially to colleagues, I suggest that they concentrate on the attitude of the teacher and not the actual bullying taking place. This is something that happened back then and will carry on happening. It is the reaction of the teacher back in 1948 that interests me. Hold on to it and hold on to the pedagogical approach presented. (video screening)

The other two films we are working on are Wall-E and Time Machine. In the first film the one causing the problem is the de-humanized human and Wall-E, whom I personally consider as one of Pixar’s greatest animations, is the one expressing feeling, particularly in the sequence paying tribute to the Silent era of film. In 2011-2012, after having watched with 4th Graders, Time-Machine, The Boy with Green Hair, and The Incredible Shrinking Man, we decided on making a short film focusing in children’s life. It was about children playing and the inspiration behind the story was a discussion previously done with students regarding playing in school. Borrowing elements from science-fiction, the film initiated students in the genre and in the art of filmmaking.

The students, inspired by the above mentioned films and by others, such as The Circus and Modern Times, concentrated on narration, time, special effects, the real and the unreal, as well as school life in order to produce their own film.

I am afraid we won’t be able to watch the entire film, so I will resort to a short extract. Please excuse us for the image quality, but we filmed it with the school camera. It was the first stage in the filmmaking process, writing the script together with us, that the students enjoyed much. The story goes as follows: a student walks in the IT-Room – the story’s intense moral background has to do with the excessive use of media by children. The other students, stuck in-front of computer screens, will interrupt their computer games when a fellow student discover a door in the school’s basement that leads back in time. The door, like a time-machine, will let them be transported into the past, the 60s, and meet students of that time who teach them how to play tzami, an old traditional game. In the extract you are about to watch, there is a stairway leading to the basement. Thinking of the cinematic tricks we could apply to show our school as having more than one floors, Fotis, a participant, suggested that we film the descend to the basement many times. We were going down and down and down. It seemed that the stairway was endless. Let us watch it. You will, also, notice what we did in the end of the film to show differentiation in time. (video screening)

What we really appreciated through our filmmaking project is that whatever happens in school creates a tradition, either a positive or a negative one.  This hands-on film activity, apart from its cognitive and emotional goals, created a tradition manifesting itself in the question “Won’t we make a film this year?”, asked by students, each year.

For the last two years we hadn’t had the opportunity to run a film project, as there are other things we get involved, too. We intent to get back to work this year and, hopefully, have creative outcome to show by next year.  Thank you for your patience.

Bibliography

Κonstandopoulou, Chrysoula, Maratou-Aliprandi, Laura, Germanos, Dimitris, Ikonomou, Theodoros (2000). “Ourselves” & the “Others”: Reference on trends & symbols, Athens: Typothito – Giorgos Dardanos.

Kristeva, Julia (1991). Strangers to Ourselves. Translated by Leon Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press.

Nuba, Hannah et al. (1999). Children’s Literature. Developing Good Readers.  New York: Garland.

Pinsky, Michael (2003). Future Present: Ethics And/As Science Fiction. Madison NJ: Dickinson University Press, London: Associated University Presses.

Todorov, Tzvetan (1975). The Fantastic. A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre. Translated by Richard Howard. Cornell University Press.

Roberts, Adam. (2000). Science Fiction. New York: Routledge.

Sanders, Steven M. (2008). The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film. Lexington KY: The University Press of Kentucky.

The Art of Film, a Contemporary Form of Audiovisual Creation in the School of 21st Century

Xanthippi Vasiliadou, Philologist-Archaeologist, MA History of Art, PhD Museum Education

Head of the Department of Cultural Issues in the Directorate of Secondary Education in Western Thessaloniki

THE IMPORTANCE OF FILM EDUCATION IN 21st CENTURY SCHOOLS

Mass Media refer to channels of communication that involve transmitting knowledge and information.  Because of their strong impact on education, they are often referred to as ‘parallel school’ or ‘the other curriculum’. As Porchet noted: ‘The instruments of parallel school are the ones of mass communication, that is mass media: press, comics, radio, cinema, and above all, television…We want to know whether the school and the parallel school will continue to ignore each other….or they will form an alliance’ (Porcher 1974, p. 5).

  1. Paschalidis claims that the role of Mass Media is not limited to keep their public informed. They also have the power to shape social norms and attitudes, moral values, linguistic expression and aesthetic standards, just like schools (Paschalidis 2000).

Given the dominant role that visual communication and multimodal messages (combining various modes of representation) play in modern society (Griffin 1991), the re-evaluation of film as a powerful and engaging educational tool is considered more than necessary.  Therefore, contemporary public school should provide pupils with audio-visual literacy. In our times, we witness an increased interest in the cultural, artistic and social dimensions of cinema. Moreover, there is much discussion of the motion picture in terms of its educational value. Film education benefits young people by helping them to decode and interpret different types of audiovisual messages received in their daily lives.  Using various carefully chosen films, directly or indirectly related to school curriculum, cultivates critical thinking, reinforces imagination, extends cultural knowledge and enhances student creativity (Spillman 2002).

Piaget’s fundamental principle of the dynamic power relations taking place between children and their environment (experiencing the environment and interacting with it) can be used to analyze the impact of integrating film into education on young learners” (Athanasatou, Kalambakas, Paradisi  2011, σ. 4).

Good Practices

There have been a few attempts to promote screening literacy both in primary and secondary school (in Greece it comprises two stages: Gymnasium, a three-year school – compulsory education – and Lyceum, an academically oriented three-year high-school). Identifying and sharing good practices helps us to realize that moving image culture cannot be excluded from the future school curriculum.

In Greece

  • Melina Project (1995-2004): The project MELINA – Education and Culture, a co-operative venture between the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and the General Secretariat of Adult Education, started in 1995 as a research programme aiming at the empowerment of school action in the framework of art and culture (see http://www.ekpaideutika.culture.gr and http://www.prmelina.gr/al/al2txt3.htm). Based on a ten-year long plan, it was initially implemented as a pilot programme in one hundred primary schools in Greece and Cyprus, but it also intended to include secondary schools and Universities.  Unfortunately, in March 2004, the activities of the project were suspended. From 2001, its spreading phase started through a series of seminars for the educators in every prefecture of Greece.  In these seminars, teachers participated in five workshops in music, dancing, theatre game, fine arts and audio-visual expression (140 hours of training in 11 meetings) and were asked to investigate the potentials of art as educational tool. In a second phase, they tried to include art activities, such as creating audio-visual products (short films or videos) with their students, in the classroom.
  • Let’s go to the cinema (1999 – 2004,  2012-  ): It is an educational programme created under the joint action of the Education and Culture Ministries, designed to introduce students to film history and language (story, camera, visual design, editing, sound), and filmmaking. It has been implemented in primary and secondary education. During the project development, they provide every participant school with a book called “Narration in Film” (2002 and 2003) including information on the main features of narrative strategies in film and instructions on every aspect of making a movie (video, sound recording, editing, etc.). The secondary students (Gymnasium and Lyceum) are also given the opportunity to make short films, which are displayed in a Student Film Festival, at the end of school year.
  • Olympia International Film Festival (since 1997) and Camera Zizanio (European Meeting of Audiovisual Creation, since 2000) for children and young people organize film screenings for schools, competitions in different categories (feature films, documentaries, animation and short films), film workshops both for educators and students. Having been supported and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the General Secretariat of Youth, Olympia Festival aims to contribute to the development of audiovisual education in Greece, and to encourage film creation as an artistic, educational and vocational experience for young people.
  • A pilot six-month training course (15 June-3 December 2011), the so-called Major Training Programme, addressed to state-school teachers (8.000) from different areas all over Greece. It was designed to fulfill the purposes of the “Education and Lifelong Learning Programme” by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs. It was developed and implemented on the basis of the ‘New School” philosophy (2010) and Continuing Training for the educators, who are given the opportunity to face modern educational challenges and review educational practice through critical lenses. In this framework, they are encouraged to become creators of innovative approaches to teaching and learning by reflecting upon their students’ preferences and needs.During its implementation, emphasis was given to experiential learning methods, such as:  enriched teaching, question-answer method, role-playing, dramatization, case-study, brainstorming, project, educational visit, simulation, experiments, teamwork, interdisciplinary approach, art education.  Furthermore, there was an analysis of video-taped lessons.

Educational material used during the programme development

Chapter one of the 3d vol. of the basic training material, dedicated to integration of arts into learning, is entitled ‘Using Film in school education’ (ibid. Athanasatou et al.) and includes:

  1. a list of films categorized by genre and by age of respondents (primary and secondary),
  2. lesson plans based on some of the films included in the list,
  3. c) proposals for collaboration between school and cultural institutions in exploring the possibilities of developing audiovisual literacy at school by using relevant sources.

Project «Making Movies Matter» (United Kingdom, 1999- ): In 1998, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) asked the British Film Institute to convene a working group to draw up a film education strategy. The Film Education Working Group tried to emphasize the significance of cine-literacy by defining film as a cultural language needed to be decoded and to remind us that movies matter.

Some of their main goals are:

  1. to make key proposals on film education in UK curricula at all educational levels,
  2. to empower teacher training on film education,
  3. to extend access to cinema screenings for students.

They also argue that wider educational access to the moving image requires changes to copyright law, improved on-line services, and more resources for the classroom.  Therefore, teaching and making movies guides are distributed to schools. It is estimated that, at least 500.000 students in UK benefit from this project, every year.

 Ciné Lycée Project (France 2010- )

The Ministry of Education and the French Public Broadcasting have made an effort to integrate film into secondary education.   This is about the creation of an online platform including 212 masterpieces of world cinema, selected by prominent film critics and directors to be used in the classroom, which also works as a live discussion forum for secondary students from all over the country to share their views on movies.

Film Education in Greece

In the Greek Cross-Curricular Thematic Framework (CCTF) for compulsory education awareness and familiarity with visual languages and multimedia is expressed as a learning goal. The Guide for audiovisual expression in Compulsory education argues that “audiovisual expression” consists of an alternative system of communication beyond oral and written language.  (Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs 2011). According to several educational theorists and  researchers, the audiovisual media play a vital role in students’ literacy offering them the opportunity to communicate and develop their cultural identity (Koutsoyannis 2011).  Moreover, there are several articles and teaching guides for using films in the classroom (Malafantis, 2006).  In school books, there are also instructions on film screening related to school subjects such as Literature, Modern Greek language, Sociology.  Film is increasingly being recognized by teachers as a valuable tool that can be used to re-engage young people with the curriculum and increase their overall motivation for learning. Film is very popular with young people.   It is used in the framework of research project, a subject of general education in Lyceum (1st grade: two hours/week, 2nd grade: one hour/week), including many topics of research from the disciplines of Humanitarian and Social Sciences, Arts and Culture, Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Technology, Environment and Sustainable Development .

In addition, film education is included in artistic high-school curriculum (there are only three artistic high-schools in Greece):

(a) Gymnasium, 2nd direction: Theatre and Film, Subject: Film studies (3 hours/week) and

  1. b) Lyceum, 2nd direction: Theatre and Film, Subjects: Cinema History (1 hour/week) and Aesthetics of film – Basic principles of film directing (2 hours/week) ().

Finally, Greek education system provides school with extracurricular activities. Within the context of School Activities, special programmes are implemented in the framework of Culture (or Career, Environment and Health Education). They have an innovative character promoting students’ creativity, who can choose, together with their teachers, a topic from a wide range of subjects, with film history or filmmaking included.

Culture Programmes

National Institutional framework for culture programmes ( Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Circular no 106137/Γ7/30-09-03)

Culture programmes are optional school activities defined as:

«a creative process aimed at cultivating aesthetic literacy as well as promoting cultural citizenship and critical examination of culture elements, such as:  population composition, social organization, economic system, beliefs and values (social, religious, etc.), civic consciousness and communication, language, customs and traditions, rituals, professions, family, school, neighborhood, corporation, xenophobia-racism, gender relations, urbanism, violence, unemployment, technological achievements, architectures, artistic creations, everyday use objects»  (Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs,  Department of Aesthetic Education, Document 127365/Γ7/17-11- 2003).  

They also introduce students to different art forms as a way of expressing themselves and exploring world cultural heritage and contemporary cultural issues.

Specifically,

A culture programme is considered as necessary educational process since, according to contemporary researchers, students’ holistic development can be achieved through culture’.

It is an optional teamwork project (duration: 5-6 months, 2 hours/week), developed by a group of students (either a whole class or a mixed group from different classes and levels) and educators (1-3), who work on a wide list of subject areas explored through the use of various art forms (dance, theatre, music, painting-sketching, sculpture, decoration, architecture, movies, photography, graphics, pottery, etc.).

GENERAL AIMS

  • promoting language and art education in school environment,
  • understanding culture in its multiple expressions using mixed-methods research,
  • discovering cultural heritage and the achievements of human creativity,
  • respecting cultural otherness,
  • helping teachers get familiar with modern teaching methods

OBJECTIVES FOR THE STUDENTS

  • cultivating their aesthetic and cultural sensitivity and positive attitude in life,
  • knowing the tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the contemporary cultural reality worldwide,
  • experiencing knowledge and expressing themselves through art in different forms,
  • developing their creativity and cultural identity,
  • activating their multiple intelligences (verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial,  bodily-kinaesthetic, musical , intrapersonal, interpersonal, naturalistic,  – Gardner  1983), and gaining a more holistic approach to knowledge,
  • strengthening their critical thinking skills and their expressive language (analysis, synthesis, imagination, creativity, inventiveness) ,
  • activating their curiosity and familiarizing themselves with teamwork,
  • enriching their experiences and strengthening their self-esteem
  • connecting different types of arts and disciplines

DESIGN AND STAGES OF IMPLEMENTATION

  • Subject (wide agenda)
  • Sub-subjects: The educators decide with their students on the subthemes and the activities which can be linked to school curriculum subjects
  • General aim (it is defined according to the subject)
  • Side goals: Cognitive (knowing various concepts and broadening their knowledge),  Critical (doing research using libraries and websites), Social (developing teamwork spirit, respecting the otherness, etc.), Psychological (self improvement, self respect)
  • Detailed Timetable – Programming
  • Methodology (case-study, project method, role-playing, anthropological research, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches)
  • Links to school curriculum subjects (Linguistics, Literature, History, Religion, Mathematics, etc.)
  • Evaluation process – Presenting the results:

The programme is evaluated during the stages of implementation and after its completion. The students participate in the evaluation process. Finally, they exclude conclusions after discussion and express their views on results. The results can be presented in many different ways (writing a text, editing a newspaper, presenting a theatrical performance, creating artworks or posters, making short-films, or combining some of them, etc.)

 SUBJECTS 

Social Subjects

  • Human Rights
  • Exploring children’s rights through art (theatre, movies, etc.)
  • Volunteer social work
  • Identity definition
  • Languages
  • Diaspora as a process and a source of innovation
  • Discovering ancient cultures – Similarities and differences with Greek culture
  • Comparative study of myths, legends and traditions, both Greek and foreign

Cultural Heritage

  • Customs and traditions in Greece (folk music, dances, clothing)
  • Traditional architecture
  • The benefits of olive oil and wine in past and present times
  • The sun and moon in Greek tradition
  • Taking pictures of Thessaloniki – Old and Modern City
  • Everyday objects tell stories
  • Professions from the past to the present

Reading and Creative writing

A well-known writer in our classroom

  • Reading clubs
  • Great Greek poets
  • Writing stories based on a poem or a work of art
  • School library
  • Student newspapers (printed – online)
  • Birth and History of writing

Music – Dancing

  • Sound stories
  • Music in the digital age
  • Studying musical instruments (analysis of their form, function, origins)
  • Famous Greek composers
  • Studying music history
  • Music and Poetry
  • The role of music in intercultural dialogue
  • Dancing worldwide
  • Creating a school dance team

Theatre

  • History and genres of theatre
  • Ancient Greek Theatre
  • Theatrical Actions and Reactions
  • Creating and staging a theatrical performance
  • Shade Theatre – Puppet Theatre

Visual Arts

  • Workshop (painting, pottery, sculpture, mosaics)
  • Introducing Greek painting – Greek painters and their work
  • Artistic interventions in school
  • Comics
  • Greek caricature
  • Making art out of useless items/garbage, recycled materials
  • Modern and contemporary art through the lens of history – A walk to city museums

History – Mythology

  • Daily life in ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire
  • Ancient Greek Theatre
  • Acropolis’ Museum
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Greek Mythology
  • Byzantine Art
  • Commemorating Greek Revolution through folk songs
  • Cradles of Greek civilization (Constantinople, Minor Asia)
  • People and historical facts that marked the 20th century
  • Postage stamps reveal aspects of Greek history
  • Local History

Other

  • Cultural identity of a place
  • Cultural Paths (My city – My neighbourhood yesterday and today)
  • Museum education
  • Masks for transformation and revelation
  • Time travel – Technology advances
  • The solar system
  • Family – School
  • School as Cultural Centre

Audiovisual development

  • The Art of Photography
  • Advertising with posters or spots
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Cinema

 

 

Relevant  Cultural programmes in Western Thessaloniki Schools (2012-2015)

  • Animation
  • Creative activities based on movies
  • Cine workshop – How to make a film
  • Greek cinema: texts, histories, identities
  • History of European cinema
  • Cine-Club , Anti-racist film-screening
  • Shakespeare screen adaptations
  • Movies and music – A multi-dimensional relationship
  • Narration in film and literature
  • Film making (documentary, fiction, animation)

Film screening in the classroom can be correlated to many school subjects, such as literature, history, physics, civics, etc.   Studying a film’s themes and morphological characteristics, the students are encouraged to participate in a lively and constructive dialogue on current and timeless issues of great interest, such as immigration and refugees, racism and otherness, social stereotypes, consequences of war and economic crisis on modern societies, unemployment, struggle for living, defining opposite concepts (good and bad, fair and unfair, moral and immoral) or discovering the multiple faces of ancient and contemporary heroes.

As basic methods for approaching and analyzing films there can be used: a) questionnaires (scenario, storyboard, film adaptation) (critical approach), b) group writing assignments based on a film (a review),  the life of famous film director, or the stages of film making and world cinema as cultural history (cultural approach), c) creative writing (enriching film scenes with imaginary dialogues, writing  their own stories based on specific movie characters) and creating audiovisual products (fiction films, documentaries, animation) (creative approach). They also take part in film competitions and they excel.

From the final reports the educators submit in the end of the year, we conclude that using film language in cultural programmes of various themes contributes to   sharpening of personal vision, strengthens critical thinking and attitude towards the social and cultural reality, cultivates not only creative expression but also social self-sufficiency, so as the students, instead of being passive consumers, to become active viewers and co-creators of culture.

Teacher training

Given the fact that teachers are mostly interested in movies, a medium they are not familiar with, and the prevailing view that infrastructures of great cost are needed for a film to be produced, cinema training day-conferences and seminars are considered more than necessary. Consequently, the Department of Cultural Issues in the Directorate of Secondary Education of Western Thessaloniki has organized day conferences for the teachers to realize that cinema has become a powerful vehicle for culture and participate in innovative activities using film as educational tool.

Those day conferences were related to:

  1. a) film as educational tool (24 November 2012),
  2. b) the analysis of narrative and storyboard techniques – film and the other arts (literature, music, photography, painting, and costume design) (30 November 2013),
  3. c) the importance of montage (22 November 2014),
  4. d) digital cinema (28 November 2015).

In these day-conferences and seminars, there were many speakers from Film Department at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Fine Arts Department at the same University, Cine Museum and Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and over 450 participant teachers, in total.   There were also many students from different schools taking part in those conferences, where their short films were shown, and being awarded with commendations.

Cinema workshops (script, animation film, direction and montage were also realized in 2013 and 2014.  Furthermore, several ways of using wide spread and economic digital tools (mobile phones, etc.) to which young people are mostly familiar, were presented.

We have also collaborated with Thessaloniki’s Cine-Museum on training workshops designed for the educators on the basis of specific topics related to museum education and defined by the Head of the Department:

  1. Visual dialogues with objects and artworks in the museums:

Cine-museum: ‘Adapting literary works to the screen’ (13 and 14 February 2014)

  1. Otherness and collaboration

Cine Museum: ‘Don’t turn your back to me – Let’s shoot a film together’ (13 February 2015)

  1. To place, to be placed – Space in all dimensions,

Cine Museum:Cinematic transformations’ (18 December 2015).

Recommendations

 In our times, a solid public policy on film education is considered more than necessary. In Greek contemporary educational environment there is no systematic teaching of the cinema principles at school, except from some isolated, sporadic and short duration projects.

Placing film material to schools in combination to teacher training is considered as prerequisite for the promotion of film education at school.  This has to be done in the light of an institutional framework, which, besides the way of film distribution, should also include provisions to define a film suitable for viewing, while collective criteria must be developed for the evaluation and marking of the films by experts (educators, researchers, film makers). Finally, funding field research is most important for the assessment of the activities and recording experiences by students and teachers. In this framework, the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs should work together with cultural bodies, such as National Audiovisual Institute, Greek Film Archive, Thessaloniki Film Archive and International Film Festival, in finding ways of incorporating the study of moving image in future revisions of school curricula at all age levels. In addition, the Departments of Cultural Issues or School Activities in Greece could collaborate with similar bodies on setting goals of using films in the classroom and developing film-based materials that can be used to enrich school subjects.

The Departments of Cultural Issues in the Directorate of Western Thessaloniki in collaboration with Thessaloniki Cine-Museum and International Film Festival intend to explore design and implementation possibilities of future Seminars-Workshops for the educators to attend on a yearly basis, and educational programmes for the students related on specific school subject units.

References

 

  1. Αthanasatou J., Kalambakas, E.., Paradisi Μ. (2011) Major Training Programme, Basic Training Material, Vol. C. Integration of Arts into Learning – Using Film in Education, Athens: Pedagogical Institute, pp. 1-57, see http://www.epimorfosi.edu.gr/images/stories/ebook-epimorfotes/texnes/9.TEXNES.pdf
  2. Department of aesthetic education, Ministry of Education and Religion, 17-11-2003
  3. Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind, New York: Basic Book Inc.
  4. Griffin, M. (1991) Defining visual communication for a multi-media world, Journalism Educator 46(1):9-15
  5. Koutsoyannis, D. (2011) Adolescents’ digital literacy and identity making practices, Centre for the Greek Language, Thessaloniki
  6. Making Movies Matter, Report of the Film Education Working Group, First published in 1999 by the British Film Institute 21 Stephen Street London W1P 2LN

(see sic.conaculta.gob.mx/centrodoc_documentos/21.pdf)

  1. Malafantis, C., Effective Pedagogical Practices for promoting children’s reading for pleasure’, In Critical, Creative, Dialectical Thinking, Proceedings of the 3rd Panhellenic Conference of the Hellenic Institute of Applied Pedagogy and Education, Athens, 13–14 May 2006
  2. MELINA Project – Education and Culture, see http://ekpaideutika.culture.gr and http://www.prmelina.gr/al/al2txt3.htm
  3. Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Circular no 106137/Γ7/30-09-03
  4. Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Department of Aesthetic Education, Document 127365/Γ7/17-11-2003
  5. Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (2010) New School – The Student comes first, see 1dim-aei-thess.thess.sch.gr/neo%20sxoleio.pdf
  6. Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (2011) Guide for audiovisual expression in Compulsory education, see sch.gr/…/Odigos_ekpaideutikou_gia_tin_optikoakoustiki_ekfrasi.pdf
  7. Narration in Film, vol. A (for primary education) and B (for secondary education), edited by the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Thessaloniki 2002 and 2003
  8. Paschalidis, G. (2000) Education and Mass Communcation, Conditions and prospects of SMEs teaching in primary and secondary education, Pedagogical Inspection 30:111-136).
  9. Porcher, L. (1974) L’ education parallele, Paris: Larousse
  10. Spillman L.(2002) Cultural Sociology, Oxford. Blackwell Publishers

COLLECTIONS

MANUALS

FILM EDUCATION CONFERENCE

SPEACHES

The meaning of original cinematography1 in the development of cinematic narrative

Dimitris Theodoropoulos, Associate Professor, Director of Photography

School of Film Studies, Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

I would like to thank you for the invitation. It is really amazing what’s been happening here. I have learned a lot in these two days. To be honest, I never engaged in secondary education as a Cinematographer, which is my field of expertise. According to American terminology, being a cinematographer means that I collaborate with filmmakers to capture visual content and provide my own aesthetic qualities to prospective narratives either in fiction or documentary films. This is a field focusing on the creative use of lighting and camera movement and it is exactly what I teach in the newly founded Film School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, around for almost a decade. On the one hand, it’s sad to think that we had to reach 21st century for Film Education to become an academic subject.  On the other the existence of various festivals and organizations created by visionaries, such as the Exile Room presented yesterday by Valerie Kontakos, is impressive.

I much appreciate this invitation for just another reason. This is a gathering between Greece, Poland and Hungary. Raised with Greek Cinema, I began my career  as an assistant cinematographer mostly in Greek, but also in international productions. A Fulbright scholarship gave me the opportunity to study Cinematography at the American Film Institute. Back then Deszu Magyar and Gyula Gazdag, both known for their contribution to Hungarian cinema and film education, taught at the Institute.  Deszu Magyar was the Institute’s Rector. My Cinematography mentor Louis Lajos Horvath, with whom I had the pleasure to study for three years, was another great artist.  Most of what I know, I have learned through Horvath’s creative and artistic approach. I was shown a method and an aesthetic approach applicable to any narrative possibility.

In a way I feel that I am returning something back to this (Hungarian) academic culture shaped by Hollywood’s entertainment industry. Within this culture the subject of film was taught by Hungarians who used an American film, Chinatown (1974), directed by Polanski – a representative of the Polish approach to filmmaking –  to focus on and analyse the narrative process. Film Analysis, the most popular course offered by the  Center for Advanced Film & Television Studies at the American Film Institute, was an in-depth examination of Polanski’s film running through-out the duration of a whole academic year. A shot-by-shot analysis seminar took place each week starting with the the film’s opening sequence and titles, addressing the aesthetic choices made by the filmmaker and paying attention even to the musical notes accompanying the editing rhythm of the opening credits.  While this was a  compulsory course for all Filmmaking students, the ones studying Cinematography (fellows as we were called) had to attend for a month. Our focus then shifted purely to visual approach. In our case, it was the imagery, the visual perspective of cinematography that mattered most.

I admit feeling intrigued by our distinguished guests’ diverse approaches and by the distinctiveness and significance of their film schools. From what has been heard, one realizes how grounded film education is in these two countries and how substantial the presented educational systems are. We have been informed, for instance, about film educators lacking an all-round education in film and at the same time about kindergartens where five year olds participating in 6-month art-projects use not just a basic camera, as Mr. Spyrou has politely put it yesterday, but a historic camera from the beginning of the 20th century. To experiment, especially  from such a young  age with Fresnel projectors, the lenses of which concentrate light so beautifully, is of great importance. Familiarizing oneself so early with the formative characteristics and substance of image brings a natural ease that is necessary if it is to turn to the arts later in life.

I have never had any Hungarian or Erasmus students. However, during the past decade, a considerable number of Polish students attended my course. All, even the freshmen, felt comfortable with the subject. They exhibited a natural ease in   their manipulation of light providing the simplest lighting composition with an aesthetic appeal and structural cohesiveness. Of-course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that upon graduation they would be able to present the century’s masterpiece. Simply, once compared to our own students, Polish ones made me realize how tragically blocked our education is. As was repeatedly mentioned through-out the conference, studies focusing on the incorporation of film in primary or secondary education have been developed and remained inactive for decades.  Instances of re-evaluation due to eagerness for radical change exist, however they come and go as waves and are characterized by ignorance as far as the basics go. The existence of film, of media education depends widely on primary and secondary education. There should be groundbreaking changes in the way the Greek education system is structured since it is a system that tears apart the arts.

In the average Greek family the child who wishes to pursue the arts is usually posing a problem because it is a child that will never attend Law School. What will become of him/her? This is a matter of great concern. It originates from a certain kind of conservatism emerging from the narrow-mindedness of the past. It still persists  nowadays and most probably will carry on in the future. It is very difficult to change all these in our educational enviroment.

Despite of my individual assessment of the situation, I have been invited here to contribute on the basis of my expertise. Let me take you through that which I consider as basics. Cinema as such and in such an arbitrary manner and early stage cannot be integrated in our education system.. There should be first an intermmediate period, a preparatory stage for film to become established as a taught subject. For a guru like Dimos Avdeliodis, whose speech we had the pelasure to experience, the starting point may be language; for myself and my own field of expertise – cinematography that is,  the basis is photography. Film always followed photography, technically, as well as artistically. It is through photography that young people learn how to handle creatively the focal size of lenses, a shattering standard for any type of narration, given that a wide-angle lens accelerates natural movement, a long-telephoto lens decelerates and that the lenses’ different focal lengths create diverse perspectives and dramatic possibilities upon the same convention. This is a basic element for the art of cinema  and it is understood only through  the study of still art-photography.

In defence of that, I would like to stress the restitution of an enduring value which had been lost from cinema and which again depends on photography. Traditionally cinema, established 120 years ago, depends on the aesthetics developed by 35mm film in motion pictures. I shall distinguish between the 35mm film used in still photography and the one used in motion pictures. The difference being that a motion picture camera exposes a completely different (actually half a) frame (vertically) to that of a still camera (horizontally).

After 50-60 years of 35mm motion pictures, came another film format, the 16mm one, a low-budget, commercially viable alternative. Technological advances and lenses exclusively designed for the 16mm film format, gradually led to higher resolution image quality approaching the 35mm one.  Smaller and less expensive, the 16mm film became a favorite in certain aspects of professional filmmaking.  Ultimately, visual culture, which counts 120 years of cinema history, was shaped by these two film formats.

The advent of electronic cinematography during the ’60s and the television formats of the mid-seventies have contributed in the devaluation of film. The process of capturing motion pictures as digital images, rather than on film, was made possible through  video-cameras originally designed for television broadcast with sensors smaller than 35mm and 16mm.   This affected greatly the image’s aesthetic quality, which seemed a lot different. What does different mean in this case? It means that the smaller the format, the more in-focus everything is. When everything is in-focus, there is no distinction between layers and thus the image is objectively flat. However, this flat image and these types of sensors were intended for very particular use, for home-viewing on a relatively small TV-set.

As electronic cinematography progressed and its technical standards improved, and because traditional cinematography and its respective equipment, film cameras and lenses, were high-budget, creators and field professionals began making systematic use of analog professional video cameras when shooting fiction or documentary films. Initially,  electronic cinematography was mostly used in documentaries. Consequently the image, originally produced for the big screen, lacked in quality as per resolution, color-reproduction, dynamic range in terms of luminance and separation, from the highlights to the shadow areas of the image captured.

In the mid 90s a smaller-in-scale revolution took place with electronic cinematography  being rebranded as digital cinematography. The digital MiniDV format  emerged as an alternative, offering much greater quality to that provided by the analog formats,  which preceded it. Launched as consumer goods, MiniDVs were low-cost and gave to a large number of people the opportunity to produce audiovisual content. Francis Ford Coppola commenting on that said,  “…one day a nice young girl in Ohio is going to make a beautiful film with her father’s little camera-corder and for once this whole professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever and it will become an art form….”

The developments  in still photography during the last decade were influential. New generation cameras, the renowned HDSLRs, originally designed for photographic use,  had a movie mode capable of recording high definition motion video and made the return to the 35mm cinematic format feasible. Indicatively,  one of the digital cinematography camera vendors sold, within a five-year period, an  astonishing number of cameras – if I remember correctly, 4 million digital cameras were sold  within limited time. An incredible revolution took place in the fields of visual culture and motion pictures respectively.

Cinema camera vendors observing the digital cinema revolution and the huge appeal those cameras had, reverted back to reclaim their market niche.  Digital cinema cameras, although I admit my preference for the french term numerique due to its philosophical dimension, are now incorporating in their standard design the “traditional” aspect ratio offered for more than a century by the well-known 35 & 16mm formats, with censors sized at super-35mm with an aspect ratio of 1:1.77. Popular and professional demand has brought  back 16mm as an alternative digital option, offering us, film industry professionals raised with a medium inherited from last century, an original means for capturing and creating high-quality image suitable for screen projection. All these at the very moment of  film’s and film-projector’s loss.  Let me remind you that by the end of 2011 officially, the production of film cameras ceased and that in 2013 Fuji, one of the major manufacturing companies of negative film, together with Eastman-Kodak stopped the production of the majority of motion picture film products and announced that there will be stock available for just another year.

We have lost, however,  the archival properties of film and as Mr. Spyrou said, what is now given to the projection-operator is a tiny box consisting of all file formats. The staggering difference is that they are not readable as film is. Digital output has nothing to do with camera negative, a transparent plastic film base coated with a zelatine emulsion containing layers of  chemical compounds. Once exposed to light the emulsion produced a chemical reaction making the image appear. The images that made up a film became moving images once placed in a film projector. This cannot happen with digital-born “film”.  Unfortunately, there is no budget allocation for film preservation, even in budgets submitted to public institutions like National TV or the Greek Film Center.

As digital media works are not immune to deterioration, vendors have resorted to archival film, which is a high quality film suitable for permanent preservation of digital records with a useful life, when kept under archival storage conditions, of almost 5 centuries according to research and testing trials. This is because the intangible digital media works depend on physical containers and hardware that progressively deteriorate or may easily become damaged and inaccessible.The fact that one may shoot an amazing film from production to projection, by means of awesome digital technology, and at any point the file format become obsolete is indeed alarming. There is no protection for born-digital “film”.

Having said all that and wishing not to take advantage of time, I would like to add that my field is cinematography as expressed by creative lighting, the selection of camera angles and lenses – Russian, Japanese, British, French, Taiwanese – all of which possess different artistic potential in the way they treat and interpret light and composition. My main subject, however, and what I teach to mature final-year students is original cinematography.   By mentioning original cinematography, I am basically returning to the title of my proposal and to a very specific narrative approach.

By original cinematography, I am reffering to a term I have invented and which derives from the ecumenical expression, principal photography, used to describe the filming/shooting process.  If translated in Greek, principal photography may either be main photograph or main photography. How does this relate to cinema?  It is directly related because, as I have already told you, cinema is based on photography. What I am really saying is that principal photography, in other words the initial filming/shooting process, the original cinematography, is the approach adopted to visually interpret narrative or the absence of narrative and thus create an original work of art.  Apart from the  “conventional” collaborations I maintain as Director of Photography, conventional in the good sense as part of a larger team including Director and Production Designer, I sometimes engage in personal short projects wherein I explore, mostly by returning to cinema history basics, fields and narrative possibilities that motivate me visually. I reach out to times of great cinematographers such as Dziga  Vertov and Joris Ivens, whose art led to others like Johan Van Der Keuken in the 70s and 80s, a competent successor   who developed his own cinematographic concept and narrative possibility, giving way to more contemporary representatives of this approach like Gianfranco Rossi (Fuocoamare, 2016).

It is on a level as such, and basically for research purposes, that I experiment with a lens and its properties, or try a new camera.  Having tested performance and being aware of creative potential, I introduce new elements in my storytelling. Τhe last couple of years I shoot portraits of musical instruments, echoing the work done by Jim Jarmusch in his short film formats like the Coffee and Cigarettes series.

In my own series of short documentaries, there is the following one (Piano-play, 2015) I  have selected to show to the conference’s audience due to its relatively unconventional film language tropes. Immediately afterwards, I will deconstruct content and form, as well as expand on personal choices to indicate significance and relevance to the conference’s main considerations.


Now, I would like to expand on my own choices, something I wouldn’t do  if this was a conventional screening and not planned within the  conference’s educational context. One element you may have probably noticed is the typography in the film’s titles. Yesterday, for instance, we watched  a high-school (silent movie of a ) project wherein inter-titles were inserted intermittently between sequences of the film to provide supplementary narrative material.  However, the choice of fonts in that project’s expository titles didn’t respect the aesthetic qualities of the silent era as, for example, the extraordinary Spanish film, Blancanieves (2012) did with its updated recourse to the techniques of this particular cinematic period. There has been, here, an aesthetic conflict.

In my case, the typography used, is the one appearing in the instument’s interior –you may have possibly noticed a shot focusing on the instrument’s brand and year of production, 1978. I discovered, in quiet an unorthodox manner, that this typography is named military and learned – not in retrospect because that was something I already knew before deciding on this diversion and the short’s title , that this portable musical instrument, the Fender Rhodes electric piano, was originally designed by army officials and used in military rehabilitation centers offering treatment and psychological support to recovering soldiers and war veterans. Much alike digital technology, which was initially seen as a low-cost substitute  for  film, Fender Rhodes became popular because of their low-price. During the ’60s and as the instrument transcended its original medical intent, emblematic musicians such as Frank Zappa, Miles Davis or the Doors began making use of it. Going back to the typography issue, I would like to stress the fact that choices in general have to add up to something coherent and visually strong. Consequently, my choice of this particular typeface was an aesthetic decision based both on narrative and content.

This short film seems to be a documentary, however, it is not. Almost everything in its narrative structure is pre-ordained. For instance, the film starts off with two individuals carrying an instrument from a basement, up and over the stairs. Most probably one would think that the basement is where rehearsals take place.  Of-course, as a documentary-maker, I never expected that they will move the piano  up the stairs. I have asked them to do it because I wanted to show that portable is a relative term. The removal of an instrument of such a massive weight and delicate internal components requires at least two individuals and considerable time to put it back together once destination is reached. The amount of time needed is captured in a 40sec scene constucted with nine (split) screens.   Structurally this scene refers to a period in cinema’s history located in the late ’50s, when the multiscreen performance first made its appearance. Groundbreaking designers, filmmakers and intellectuals, Charles and Ray Eames, who were at the time preoccupied with different modes of visual communication, presented in the 1959 American Exhibition in Khrushchev’s Moscow their film, Glimpses of the USA, wherein images were combined into seven separate film reels and projected simultaneously through seven interlocked projectors.  In my own multiscreen approach, I interrupted linear narrative form, to bring an ever-changing mosaic of moving images so as to simultaneously re-enact the different phases in the piano setting process during a group rehearshal. In terms of filmic time, the scene’s 40sec duration contains in reality a compressed visual representation of a real time of 6 minutes,  due to the multiscreen factor.

My musician friend told me that he was planning to open the instrument and asked if I wanted to see its interior. As you understand, this is not interesting in itself as there  are  numerous videos on the net informing on everything having to do with musical insturments service.  Basically, the introduction of the service process in the narrative, turned the project from a mere account of a Rhodes piano, into a Rhode’s musician portrait, with instances showing the musician taking care of  the instument and making adjstments to improve sound quality.

Returning back to my multiscreen approach, I would like to add  that it allowed me to present the preparation for rehearsal – as it was impossible to include a gig in my 7min short – the musician performing through his Rhodes, the sounds the instument produces when aided by other sources and even the distortions creative experimentation brings about.  Simultaneously, I have resorted to observational cinema for my storytelling. I suggest that you refer to James Benning, a great filmmaker and academic who teaches  film in the emblematic California Institute of the Arts, founded by Disney in Valencia CA. Exploring narrative and anti-narrative modes, Benning introduced the term observational cinema. He is a documentary maker who shoots mostly with a static camera into increasingly long durations.

Personally, what intrigued me the most was the observation of ants. I found extremely appealing their miniscule size and the way they appeared on screen. On the one hand, it was the contrast between shiny black ants and earth, which brought to mind the contrast between the piano’s black and white keys. On the other, it was the ants’ symbolic power as hardworking and industrious, that enabled me to speak of the musician’s committed work and struggle to ensure performance. I should say that started with the intention of making a film about a musical insturment and ended up making a film about the working process.  Where do all these lead? Personal approach is of outmost significance. Thank you.

1   Principal photography is the term traditionally used to indicate the main part of the film’s production phase. The novelty of “principal cinematography” is that it describes much better and with accuracy the creation of moving image and reflects the essence of this paper.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Block Bruce, The visual story: seeing the structure of film, TV and new media, Focal Press, Boston, 2001.

Ettedgui Peter, Cinematography, Rotovision Screen-Craft, Crans-Près-Céligny CH/London, 1998.

Θεοδωρόπουλος Δημήτρης, Το Φως στον Ελληνικό Κινηματογράφο, Αιγόκερως, Αθήνα, 2009.

Κατσάγγελος Γιώργος, Από την Camera Obscura… στο CCD, University Studio Press, Θεσσαλονίκη,2009.

Livingstone Margaret, Όραση & Τέχνη, η βιολογία της όρασης, Επιστημονικές εκδόσεις Παρισιάνου Α.Ε., Αθήνα, 2010.

Markopoulos Gregory J., Βουστροφηδόν και άλλα γραπτά, Άγρα, Αθήνα, 2004.

Maysles Albert, A Maysles scrapbook, Steidl/Kasher, Göttingen/New York, 2007.

Revault d’Allones Fabrice, La lumière au cinéma, Cahiers du Cinéma-Le Seuil, Paris, 1991.

Rousselot Philippe, La Sagesse du Chef opérateur, Editions Jean-Claude Béhar, Paris, 2013.

Salomon Marc, Sculpteurs de lumières: les directeurs de la photographie, Bibliothèque du film (BiFi), Paris, 2000.

Siety Emmanuel, Le plan au commencement du cinéma, Cahiers du Cinéma/SCEREN-CNDP, Paris, 2001.

Sontag Susan, On photography, Allen Lane-Penguin Books, London, 1978.

Ruiz Raoul, Poétique du cinéma, Editions Dis Voir, Paris, 1995.

Villain Dominique, Le cadrage au cinéma-l’oeil a la caméra, Cahiers du Cinéma- Editions de L’Etoile, Paris, 1984.

Wells Liz, επιμέλεια, Εισαγωγή στη φωτογραφία, Πλέθρον, Αθήνα, 2007.

Film in the museum: From authenticity to illusion and backwards

Anastasia Chourmouziadi, Assistant Professor Museology

Department of Cultural Technology & Communication University of the Aegean

We have gathered today to discuss the educational role of cinema. I suppose that there is no point to discuss the educational role of museums considering that since their inception no one has ever questioned it. Nevertheless, this is a great illusion.  If this was actually the case, all of us, having been dragged to numerous museums during our school years, should have learned many things about history, art, technology, etc. At least, the younger ones, whom having experienced the  outburst of museum educational programmes, an invention of the 80s here in Greece, should have had an in-depth knowledge of all the above. On the contrary, it seems that we have learned –or “learned”- quite a lot by watching cinema. We are much more familiar with Dimitris Papamichail performing as Papaflessas in the well known Greek film, than we are with Papaflessas himself!

Therefore, the first illusion is to take museums’ educational significance for granted and just look for cinema’s one. Anyway, within the framework of the current and desperate pursuit for alternative educational tools, I will try to examine whether cinema and museums can go side by side. I will start by making two very simple points which should be kept in mind straight from the beginning. The first is that, although we have museums dedicated to almost everything, such as potato, sex, medieval tortures, emotions, human hair, etc, cinema museums throughout the world are rather limited. Three characteristic, well known European examples are Le Musée de la Cinémathèque in Paris, the Museum für Film und Fernsehen in Berlin, and the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Torino. I have thought extensively about the relatively low number of cinema museums. The reason for this may be that, whereas all other museum enthusiasts express appreciation for their object of devotion by creating a museum, cinephiles reject the idea of a cinema museum. I suppose this stems from the fact that we normally place dead things in museums, things not in use anymore, removed from the social milieu. On the one hand, cinema is a rather new invention and we don’t know when and if it’s going to die. As far as films are concerned, even when their journey to the theatres is over, we consider them as alive and as something which may have a glorious come-back at any point in time. To express, therefore, our love for certain films,  instead  of creating a museum exhibition that will place them among other dead staff, we organise  screenings.

But even if all these were to overcome, there are numerous other reservations as per  the musealisation of cinema; is it possible for a film to be properly experienced in the museum environment? Are screening conditions suitable or, is the dark hall’s ritual completely destroyed? Do the excerpts, chosen by the curator, reflect the spirit of the whole film? Due to these serious concerns, the first –archetypical we shall say- attempts to place cinema in a museum remind us of the “cabinets of curiosities”:  these collections of dissimilar strange things found in the palaces of renaissance masters constituted, according to museologists, the origins of modern museum, of the museum as we know it today.

For example, the museum created by Henri Langlois (1972) – later Le Musée de la Cinémathèque-, was initially an idiosyncratic mishmash which, in the mind of its creator, somehow related to cinema. Things were exhibited in a manner that would have caused a heart attack to a present-day museologist: in a crowded hall with no obvious narrative sequence and exposed to any possible threat (that’s why it was completely destroyed by fire). To cut a long story short, Langlois’ museum represented a strictly personal attempt, unconcerned with rules, clear principles and goals, and certainly without any educational intention.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Museum of Modern Art Cinema Collection was founded by Iris Barry (1935). Her approach, unlike Langlois’ avant-gardism, was rather conservative, since her main concern was the preservation of the vulnerable celluloid film reels.

A third case worth mentioning is that of the private Adriana Prollo Museum located in Torino, later the impressive Museo Nazionale Del Cinema. The museum was another idiosyncratic attempt, quite similar to that of Henri Langlois, in that it carried the strong personal stamp of its creator. It is interesting to note that Prollo opened herself the museum’s door and checked potential visitors. If she didn’t like their faces, she wouldn’t let them in.

Albeit diverse in many aspects, all three museums in question were quite vague in terms of orientation and goals. The same vagueness is evident in some contemporary museums, too, though there seems to be compliance with current state-of-the-art museological standards, aesthetics, design, safety, etc. By this, I mean that we cannot always discern aims and vision. Nowadays, when looking at cinema museums in their entirety, it becomes apparent that each follows its own individual path. On the one hand, the Cinema Museum of Girona, in Spain, is modelled on the robust Tomàs Mallol Collection of pre-cinema and cinema objects, and is therefore focused on cinema technology through time. On the other hand, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, following Iris Barry’s tradition, treats cinema as art, focusing on cinema’s artistic and aesthetic features. MoMA exhibits films in the very same way that it exhibits all other works of art coming from its rich collections, whereas the Hollywood Museum invests on the illusion big movie studios produce to create an experience: visitors walk in movie sets and observe props and costumes used in famous films. For instance, the visitors’ experience climaxes with the opportunity to become Darth Vader, trying on his original costume and holding his spear. Finally, some cinema museums, like the one in Berlin, are solely preoccupied with national cinematography, even if the term “national” is hard to be clearly defined.

This is neither a thorough presentation of cinema museums nor an attempt to propose some sort of typology. What I am, basically, trying to suggest is that the museumification of cinema is a procedure that may be approached in many different ways and  can consequentlyhave many different goals.

If, on the other hand, we wonder which way do other museums, –the ones that don’t have the word “cinema” in their title -, use cinema, the answer is quite easy: they do not use it. Of course, there are quite a few museums – the number of which increases through  time – with integrated audio-visual material in their exhibitions. However, this material exists supportively, strictly as an academic explanation to the “main” exhibited objects in an effort to provide an easily digested alternative to the traditional textual labels: next to an embalmed giraffe, a documentary film is screened showing how the animal runs in the savannah before being embalmed.

Usually, what is completely missing from museum exhibitions is fiction film, audio-visual material, handling filmic language for clearly artistic purposes, used as a vehicle for commenting on issues covered by the exhibition. I, by no means, suggest here that the films used in museums lack in artistic quality; I’m just saying that the more their aesthetic quality, the harder it is for them to become part of a typical museum exhibition. This should not come as a surprise since museums are normally dedicated to history, art or technology. A “thing” has to be able to tell the tale of these fields especially when introduced through the sacred space of a museum exhibition. Unfortunately, cinema’s relation to all three is problematic.

Although cinema was initially greeted as a revolutionary invention able to objectively document historical events, some time afterwards it became apparent that the camera captures the “reality” of the person handling it. On top of that, fiction films, depicting historical events, have never been considered trustworthy sources of information. At times, they have triggered strong criticism or even laughter. The myth that is interwoven with “verified facts” jeopardises all other sources of meaning which may potentially distort the “accuracy” a museum exhibition should have. Even in cases where plot and characters carry the weight of historical scrutiny and the film is considered to have a realistic approach to historical facts, the museum may rejected it; especially if it presents a point of view that contradicts the version of past events as unravelled by the dominant narrative.

We often use the term “7th art” to speak about cinema, although the characterization of cinema as art and the decision to place it next to painting, sculpture and the like, was not unanimous. There has been a relatively heated discussion, which commenced with the birth of cinema and has not yet concluded. Even if we agree that Lili Papayanni’s seductive gaze in Takis Kanellopoulos’ “Ekdromi” is ART, I am not sure that we can say the same thing for “Roda, tsanta kai kopana”.

As per the relation between cinema and technology, things are quite clear: cinema does not produce technology. It borrows technology produced elsewhere and uses it for rather humble causes. For instance, millions are spent on the production of state-of-the-art digital technology needed for cancer treatment. Then, cinema people come and use this exact technology in an adventure movie with dinosaurs. However, cinema’s technological achievements cannot stand as a plausible reason for placing it in the museum.

Following this line of thinking we could, also, argue that cinema and museum are incompatible, because the one constitutes the art of illusion while the other is supposedly the scientific management of authenticity.

I would like to propose an inverted approach. We could consider cinema and museum as two quite comparable apparatuses in that they both constitute a representation of reality based on a narrative; a narrative not necessarily linear, not necessarily concluded, but, all the while a multimedia-based narrative leading to some sort of illusion, either they admit that they are presenting something imaginary or claim that they are reflecting an accurate and objective image of reality.

Such an approach is quite enlighteningand can be used  for addressing educational potential. There is another interesting coincidence when approaching cinema and museum in parallel: they have both “discovered” their audience at the same time and have dealt with the same concerns. In their first theoretical steps, both, the cinema and the museum considered that the spectators/visitors were a homogenous mass necessary for their survival. At some point, in mid-20th century, they realised that each spectator/visitor had his/her own personality determined by age, race, class, gender, political beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. Later on, cinema and museum scholars noticed that spectators/visitors interpret a film or a museum exhibit in a manner that does not necessarily coincide with the author’s intentions, and pointed out that spectators/visitors can, in a way, actively participate in the final cinema/museum product.

I think that cinema theory has made considerable steps towards this direction; many treatises addressing the issue of spectatorship borrow tools from sociology, psychology and many other scientific fields. On the contrary, museum theory has been proven rather hesitant with the promising new museology stumbling upon the logic of keeping the visitor/client satisfied at any cost. In an era that the inflated museum-scape is facing a deep crisis, some museums are “fishing” for customers totally indifferent to what the audience’s reactions are once entering the exhibition hall, while others safeguard the loneliness of their empty premises.

Either way, what I distinguish as a significant difference between cinema and museum is that –traditionally at least- cinema spectators sit and watch moving images pass before their eyes, while museum visitors walk though static or moving images. In my opinion, this difference constitutes the most appealing point of departure for combining cinema and museum in a knowledge construction endeavour. In the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum, we have experimented and created a standing “film” waiting for a “spectator” on the move. To put it differently, we have imagined a visitor/spectator watching a film while moving on the meandering red exhibition path. I believe that the next step is to start deconstructing what we think we know about cinema and museum. In the museum’s world –a world I know better- there were some efforts not only to acknowledge the visitor’s individuality, but, also, to give to the visitor the opportunity to express. With a little more courage we may allow visitors become involved in the creation of an exhibition or even intervene and affect exhibits. I think that this is a direction experimental interactive films have adopted, too. These films not only acknowledge the spectators’ interpretative rights, more important they entrust them with the final filmic product. I bring in mind cases where linear narrative was abandoned not only to offer to spectators the opportunity to choose among the limited and predetermined versions of the film, but, also to manipulate the “raw material” offered by the cinematographer and decide on its final synthesis.

To conclude, I have argued that the educational potential of both the cinema and the museum, and what is more, their combination, lies in the reconstitution of the illusion. In my opinion, the more we challenge the conventional boundaries of space, objects or a predetermined narrative, as well as those barriers existing between the curator and the visitor, the cinematographer and the spectator, the more we may hope that cinema and museum could trigger knowledge construction. I think you will agree that today there is a problem of illiteracy in general and not just an audio-visual one. Perhaps breaking the boundaries will provide to plain kids from Ohio or Thessaloniki the tools needed for expressing themselves. It may, perhaps, help us re-think and thus re-determine our educational goals. Because, I must admit I am not that passionate neither with the protection of cinema nor with the survival of museums. What I care about mostly is the production of thoughtful and creative people for the future.

Film in Education: Proposals and Questions

Fotis Simeonidis, Educator – Filmmaker

I would like to express my warmest thanks to the conference’s organizing committee and my deep appreciation for this significant event. I feel honored to be here today in the company of forward-thinking teachers, experienced film academics and professionals, collaborators from the Thessaloniki Film Festival and Cinema Museum.

My contribution to the conference’s main discourse will be the deposition of observations spawning from my own personal involvement with film and education. On the basis of a particular model practice, I will speak about the ways in which film may be used in school class. At the same time, I will address some key questions and methodological issues.

The specific model practice, supported by film lesson plans, makes use of four films and respective film extracts, which transport us back to class and the school environment. The extracts have been chosen for their portrayal of the teacher-student relationship and come from the following films:

Dimos Avdeliodis, The Tree we Hurt (1986)

François Truffaut, The 400 Blows (1959)

Jean – Paul Le Chanois, L’École buissonnière (1949)

Penny Panagopoulou, Hard Goodbyes: My Father (2002)

The model practice’s source of inspiration and main point of departure was a literary extract from Kazantzakis’ Report to Greco.  The extract focuses on the punitive teacher, the one using the threat of the birch. The teacher-student relationship is developed and wonderfully explored by all four films. The films’ multiple perspectives and layers of meanings lead to some interesting questions:  “How did teachers treat students in the past and how do they treat them now?”, “In what ways do teachers educate students?”, How did children behave in class back then and how do they behave nowadays?”, “How would you like present-time teachers to behave in class?” “How would you like present-time students to behave in class?”, “What do these film extracts have in common with the literary text?”, “What did you like about the films?”, “Would you like to know more about these specific films?”, “Have you seen other films that portray school class or student life?”, “Would you like to participate in the production of a film together with your classmates?”, “Would you like to have this model-practice adapted for the teaching  of another literary text?”

Each film consists of a filmic text which might as well serve in place of literature. Though at risk of being characterized a heretic, I sometimes wonder if the use of filmic text differs substantially from that of a literary text. I sense there is a natural preference for the literary text and a tendency to bypass the filmic, although they may be equally insightful. This attitude may probably be attributed to cinema being a relatively recent invention and art form. Consequently, what is missing is, without doubt, students’ familiarity with film art and film language.

Out of the four films this model practice focuses on, I intend to concentrate on Dimos Avdeliodis’s The Tree We Hurt (1987)  as it is celebrating its 30th anniversary since  release-date. The film communicates the notion of family, of friendship and of love in a really unique manner. Meanwhile, it weaves together a plethora of themes and readings: In what ways do we connect with folklore tradition?,  What kind of relationships do we establish  with animals?, How do we treat refugees?, How do parents teach children?, Does clothing reflect financial status, poverty or wealth?, What is the function of the cinematic gaze?, How is setting delivered?, In what kind of places do we live and spend our time?, What role do the sounds of our environment play?, Why is music often followed by silence?, Which are your favorite facial expressions and most expressive film shot?,  What does body language reflect and what do others make of it?, What kind of impression do I give?, How do others treat me?, Do they sympathize?

The questions posed by the film and its imagery seem to be inexhaustible. Far from the more conventional ones having to do with the director, his filmography and creative vision, there are others bringing discussion to the film’s production team and crew. This is such an important aspect to discuss. Where to begin in relation with this specific film? Speak about Dimitris Papadimitriou’s music composition, or, about the cinematography of Philippos Koutsaftis?

Within the context of film language analysis exploration becomes deeper and more complex. How does the film communicate animal welfare and the learning procedures developed between adults and children? I recall Mr. Theodoropoulos emphasizing, in his speech earlier,  the importance of letterheads as a conscious aesthetic choice. Why did Avdeliodis make this particular choice in terms of film titles? Moreover, what kind of problems did the crew face during filming? All in all, what are the distinctive qualities of the film? Why should audiences be interested in films  having children as main characters?

All the above mentioned questions function as a point of departure, a way of initiating students into the art of film and its production. Their response, in turn, opens up discussion to more demanding issues or technical matters. Following simple instructions, students comment on camera-movement and film language in general. Focusing on a 150 seconds long extract, they wonder about the interplay between the characters starring at one another. They might notice the 180-degree rule, which is basic as it determines on-screen spatial relation, the way frame is handled, cinematography, music and costume.

From then on, a knowledgeable and qualified individual, ideally a Film Studies graduate, will be able to introduce students to creative writing and screenwriting techniques. Someone who studied cinematography with Mr Theodoropoulos will be able to provide insight as far as frame and photography go. Anyone, however, is capable    of understanding the significance of an expressive close-up. Bela Balazs, the great Hungarian theorist, who was mentioned yesterday, wrote extensively on the close-up.  The poetics of film narrative and its structural elements remain focal points of discussion. Dimos Avdeliodis referred to the importance of an all-round education from Aristotle’s Poetics to Syd Field’s main principles of storytelling.

In terms of film education’s implementation in school there is a series of substantial considerations. How does the student-spectator in Greece experience the screening of a film in school?  Which are the necessary conditions for productive use of film in school? How do students make sense of film narrative?  In which ways do students benefit from film screenings in school? In what ways do screenings in school differ for those in film theatres? According to which criteria does education empower, motivate and reinforce learning and an all-round understanding of things? Does film education advance the students’ future prospects? How do students, when taught through film, develop critical skills and express emotionally? How does film education develop in class and what effect does it have on students? How do students relate to film characters and how does this lead to greater knowledge of oneself, to building ethos and emotional depth?

Although cinema has 121 years of history, it is still an outcast in 21st century Greek school. Unfortunately, film education lacks in teaching methodology as far as the Greek educational system is concerned. Film has not been thoroughly assessed and has not been acknowledged as a reliable subject and tool of/for study by the Greek education authorities. How could cinema enter school environment without an acknowledged field of Film Studies expertise? What could possibly be the effect of sporadic and isolated film education seminars and projects? What do teachers themselves think of film education?   Why is film education deduced of its value as a learning tool and how often and within which context is it used in school?

This is vital and it brings forward a series of other considerations, already expressed. In this conference, I almost agree and, at the same time, disagree with all the speakers. I am afraid it will be difficult to find some common ground. Looking the beast directly into the eyes, it becomes evident that the individual called to teach film education in school should have a university degree in this particular field of study. Let us not forget that we have Film Studies graduates. I definitely agree with those conference speakers whose viewpoint was that film education should be flexible and not strictly defined, without assessment. Nevertheless, each individual has his own field of specialty and there exist Film Studies graduates who have completed demanding postgraduate degrees. At this point, I would like to make a short break and show the extract I have chosen from Dimos Avdeliodis’ film. This is from the film’s opening sequence (video screening)

Before concluding, and I hope I didn’t take too long, I would like to add the following: We should overcome most of the considerations expressed in this conference. It is beyond belief that we are still questioning the status of film as art. This has been resolved. It is not possible to discuss the difference between literature and film! There is no comparison between them. They are different means of expression! These issues have been resolved. At least in other countries. It doesn’t seem proper to still question the learning potential of film and its beneficial application in issues of gender, identity and whatever else constitutes human nature!  Film is, indeed, a tool. Moreover, it is pointless to discuss film’s position in education. From what I have understood, this is where we all agree. Our disagreement lies on Whom and In What Way. In relation to Whom, I have made a particular suggestion. I may be wrong. Yet, I have heard some great opinions. Personally, I would say “Let film in, in whatever way!” There may be film industry professionals, directors,…..whomever. Let film enter school. This is what we should be aiming for. Thank you.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 Αριστοτέλης. Περί Ποιητικής. Εστία: 2004

Balázs, B. Theory of the Film: Character and Growth of a New Art. New York: Arno Press, 1972

Braudy, L. & Cohen, M. (eds). Film Theory and Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004

Field, S. Screenplay. The Foundations of Screenwriting. New York: Bantam Dell, 2005

McFarlane, B. Novel to Film. An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004

Monaco, J. How to read a film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981

Stam, R. & Miller, T. (eds). Film and Theory. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000

Once I have counted up to ten you will find yourself in Europe: European Screens and Visions

Grigoris Paschalidis, Professor

School of Journalism & Mass Communications
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

I would like to express my warmest thanks to the conference’s organizing committee and my deep appreciation for this significant event. I feel honored to be here today in the company of forward-thinking teachers, experienced film academics and professionals, collaborators from the Thessaloniki Film Festival and Cinema Museum.

My contribution to the conference’s main discourse will be the deposition of observations spawning from my own personal involvement with film and education. On the basis of a particular model practice, I will speak about the ways in which film may be used in school class. At the same time, I will address some key questions and methodological issues.

The specific model practice, supported by film lesson plans, makes use of four films and respective film extracts, which transport us back to class and the school environment. The extracts have been chosen for their portrayal of the teacher-student relationship and come from the following films:

Dimos Avdeliodis, The Tree we Hurt (1986)

François Truffaut, The 400 Blows (1959)

Jean – Paul Le Chanois, L’École buissonnière (1949)

Penny Panagopoulou, Hard Goodbyes: My Father (2002)

The model practice’s source of inspiration and main point of departure was a literary extract from Kazantzakis’ Report to Greco.  The extract focuses on the punitive teacher, the one using the threat of the birch. The teacher-student relationship is developed and wonderfully explored by all four films. The films’ multiple perspectives and layers of meanings lead to some interesting questions:  “How did teachers treat students in the past and how do they treat them now?”, “In what ways do teachers educate students?”, How did children behave in class back then and how do they behave nowadays?”, “How would you like present-time teachers to behave in class?” “How would you like present-time students to behave in class?”, “What do these film extracts have in common with the literary text?”, “What did you like about the films?”, “Would you like to know more about these specific films?”, “Have you seen other films that portray school class or student life?”, “Would you like to participate in the production of a film together with your classmates?”, “Would you like to have this model-practice adapted for the teaching  of another literary text?”

Each film consists of a filmic text which might as well serve in place of literature. Though at risk of being characterized a heretic, I sometimes wonder if the use of filmic text differs substantially from that of a literary text. I sense there is a natural preference for the literary text and a tendency to bypass the filmic, although they may be equally insightful. This attitude may probably be attributed to cinema being a relatively recent invention and art form. Consequently, what is missing is, without doubt, students’ familiarity with film art and film language.

Out of the four films this model practice focuses on, I intend to concentrate on Dimos Avdeliodis’s The Tree We Hurt (1987)  as it is celebrating its 30th anniversary since  release-date. The film communicates the notion of family, of friendship and of love in a really unique manner. Meanwhile, it weaves together a plethora of themes and readings: In what ways do we connect with folklore tradition?,  What kind of relationships do we establish  with animals?, How do we treat refugees?, How do parents teach children?, Does clothing reflect financial status, poverty or wealth?, What is the function of the cinematic gaze?, How is setting delivered?, In what kind of places do we live and spend our time?, What role do the sounds of our environment play?, Why is music often followed by silence?, Which are your favorite facial expressions and most expressive film shot?,  What does body language reflect and what do others make of it?, What kind of impression do I give?, How do others treat me?, Do they sympathize?

The questions posed by the film and its imagery seem to be inexhaustible. Far from the more conventional ones having to do with the director, his filmography and creative vision, there are others bringing discussion to the film’s production team and crew. This is such an important aspect to discuss. Where to begin in relation with this specific film? Speak about Dimitris Papadimitriou’s music composition, or, about the cinematography of Philippos Koutsaftis?

Within the context of film language analysis exploration becomes deeper and more complex. How does the film communicate animal welfare and the learning procedures developed between adults and children? I recall Mr. Theodoropoulos emphasizing, in his speech earlier,  the importance of letterheads as a conscious aesthetic choice. Why did Avdeliodis make this particular choice in terms of film titles? Moreover, what kind of problems did the crew face during filming? All in all, what are the distinctive qualities of the film? Why should audiences be interested in films  having children as main characters?

All the above mentioned questions function as a point of departure, a way of initiating students into the art of film and its production. Their response, in turn, opens up discussion to more demanding issues or technical matters. Following simple instructions, students comment on camera-movement and film language in general. Focusing on a 150 seconds long extract, they wonder about the interplay between the characters starring at one another. They might notice the 180-degree rule, which is basic as it determines on-screen spatial relation, the way frame is handled, cinematography, music and costume.

From then on, a knowledgeable and qualified individual, ideally a Film Studies graduate, will be able to introduce students to creative writing and screenwriting techniques. Someone who studied cinematography with Mr Theodoropoulos will be able to provide insight as far as frame and photography go. Anyone, however, is capable    of understanding the significance of an expressive close-up. Bela Balazs, the great Hungarian theorist, who was mentioned yesterday, wrote extensively on the close-up.  The poetics of film narrative and its structural elements remain focal points of discussion. Dimos Avdeliodis referred to the importance of an all-round education from Aristotle’s Poetics to Syd Field’s main principles of storytelling.

In terms of film education’s implementation in school there is a series of substantial considerations. How does the student-spectator in Greece experience the screening of a film in school?  Which are the necessary conditions for productive use of film in school? How do students make sense of film narrative?  In which ways do students benefit from film screenings in school? In what ways do screenings in school differ for those in film theatres? According to which criteria does education empower, motivate and reinforce learning and an all-round understanding of things? Does film education advance the students’ future prospects? How do students, when taught through film, develop critical skills and express emotionally? How does film education develop in class and what effect does it have on students? How do students relate to film characters and how does this lead to greater knowledge of oneself, to building ethos and emotional depth?

Although cinema has 121 years of history, it is still an outcast in 21st century Greek school. Unfortunately, film education lacks in teaching methodology as far as the Greek educational system is concerned. Film has not been thoroughly assessed and has not been acknowledged as a reliable subject and tool of/for study by the Greek education authorities. How could cinema enter school environment without an acknowledged field of Film Studies expertise? What could possibly be the effect of sporadic and isolated film education seminars and projects? What do teachers themselves think of film education?   Why is film education deduced of its value as a learning tool and how often and within which context is it used in school?

This is vital and it brings forward a series of other considerations, already expressed. In this conference, I almost agree and, at the same time, disagree with all the speakers. I am afraid it will be difficult to find some common ground. Looking the beast directly into the eyes, it becomes evident that the individual called to teach film education in school should have a university degree in this particular field of study. Let us not forget that we have Film Studies graduates. I definitely agree with those conference speakers whose viewpoint was that film education should be flexible and not strictly defined, without assessment. Nevertheless, each individual has his own field of specialty and there exist Film Studies graduates who have completed demanding postgraduate degrees. At this point, I would like to make a short break and show the extract I have chosen from Dimos Avdeliodis’ film. This is from the film’s opening sequence (video screening)

Before concluding, and I hope I didn’t take too long, I would like to add the following: We should overcome most of the considerations expressed in this conference. It is beyond belief that we are still questioning the status of film as art. This has been resolved. It is not possible to discuss the difference between literature and film! There is no comparison between them. They are different means of expression! These issues have been resolved. At least in other countries. It doesn’t seem proper to still question the learning potential of film and its beneficial application in issues of gender, identity and whatever else constitutes human nature!  Film is, indeed, a tool. Moreover, it is pointless to discuss film’s position in education. From what I have understood, this is where we all agree. Our disagreement lies on Whom and In What Way. In relation to Whom, I have made a particular suggestion. I may be wrong. Yet, I have heard some great opinions. Personally, I would say “Let film in, in whatever way!” There may be film industry professionals, directors,…..whomever. Let film enter school. This is what we should be aiming for. Thank you.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 Αριστοτέλης. Περί Ποιητικής. Εστία: 2004

Balázs, B. Theory of the Film: Character and Growth of a New Art. New York: Arno Press, 1972

Braudy, L. & Cohen, M. (eds). Film Theory and Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004

Field, S. Screenplay. The Foundations of Screenwriting. New York: Bantam Dell, 2005

McFarlane, B. Novel to Film. An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004

Monaco, J. How to read a film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981

Stam, R. & Miller, T. (eds). Film and Theory. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000