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Launch of a Framework for Film Education in Europe in Paris 19th June 2015

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On 19th June 2015, 50 delegates from all over Europe gathered at the Cinémathèque française in Paris to discuss the future of film education in Europe. The event marked the launch of A Framework for Film Education in Europe, which establishes a set of ambitions and outcomes for people learning about film that all educators can aspire to. The Framework was funded from the Film Literacy strand of the action on Audience Development, as part of the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme.

This is the first time such a Framework has been devised in Europe. It gathers together intelligence and practical experience from a wide range of institutions and education providers, from universities, to cinematheques, to national agencies, small NGOs, and industry funded bodies. In all, more than 25 partners were involved in the work, from Lithuania to Portugal, from Northern Ireland to Greece and Cyprus. Newly accessioned countries as well as the ‘big 6’ EC members participated. The participants in the project are constituted as the Film Literacy Advisory Group, (FLAG) and previously worked on the European film education survey Screening Literacy.

The first recommendation emerging from this latter comprehensive scoping exercise was to draft a model of film education for Europe, including appreciation of film as an art form, critical understanding, access to national heritage, world cinema and popular film, and creative film-making skills. The FLAG group convened over a series of seminars in 2012- 2013 to pool skills, knowledge and resources to create the framework.

Mark Reid, Head of Education at BFI, and convenor of the group said “We chose to launch the Framework in Paris because in many ways France can claim to be the originator of cinema, and of cinema culture and education in its strongest form. We are delighted that the Cinémathèque française agreed to host our event, and that Serge Toubiana, Director of the Cinémathèque, and Alain Bergala, eminent film thinker and educator, agreed to speak”.

Serge Toubiana made a powerful claim for the power of cinema to move us, and for us to move cinema forward. For it to do so, he said, cinema must speak directly to children, and at an age when they will cherish its impact.

Ian Wall, ex Director of Film Education in the UK, and current Director of Film Space, was a mover behind the Framework project, and he presented an overview, claiming that the goal of film education should first of all be to ‘develop a film sensibility’ in young people, where they understand and appreciate the ‘art of film’. He presented a one-page summary of the framework in which he underlined three broad categories - the Cultural, the Critical and the Creative dimensions of film education’s Processes, Practices and Participative elements (the 3 CP’s).

It was the elusive quality of what constituted a film sensibility that formed much of the debate amongst the FLAG group, and priorities varied across nations. After some compromise, the below diagram achieved consensus – one that understands nurturing a film sensibility as a composite condition including: film watching and making experiences, certain dispositions, and a ‘3 CP’s’ approach to the subject for lifelong learning.

film-ed-framework

Figure 1: Film Education Framework for Europe, Film Literacy Advisory Group, 2015. Click to enlarge.

The launch continued with Alain Bergala reminding us of the origins of film education in France, after the Second World War, as part of a programme using culture to bring about peace. The initiatives started by politician Jack Lang, as Culture Minister, then as Education Minister, serve as inspiration for the whole of Europe. Film Education will only take root for all children if it is presented to them through school first of all; but it can also change school, and children’s experiences there. He recommended a method of ‘slow film education’, (alongside the movement of ‘slow cinema’) to counter the tendency of modern media to ‘scatter the attention’ of children and young people.

The programme for the day featured a round table with Xavier Lardoux, Director of Film at the CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée) and author in 2014 of the report For a Film Education Policy in Europe; Celine Ravenel, the current President of ECFA, the European Children’s Film Association; and Mark Reid, of BFI, who co-ordinated the research survey Screening Literacy, and the Framework for Film Education in Europe itself. Matteo Zacchetti, the deputy head of the Creative Europe MEDIA Unit was in the chair. Topics covered included the need for common catalogues of films for children accessible across Europe; of short film catalogues (one is being created by ECFA, funded by Creative Europe); the licensing and rights environments for film in Europe; and the level of funding for film literacy in Europe.

The afternoon featured presentations of three projects that exemplify the kinds of outcomes the Framework supports:

Nathalie Bourgeois from the Cinémathèque française spoke about le Cinema cent ans de jeunesse, a ground-breaking international film education programme that she has led for 20 years, screening a beautiful film from this year’s edition called ‘1,2,3 Soleil’, and made by 6 and 7 year old children, reminded us that even very young children can create powerful film stories. The film can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/131099742

Bernard McCloskey, Head of Education at Northern Ireland Screen, presented Moving Image Arts, Northern Ireland’s distinctive film education course for 14 – 19 year olds. This was the second presentation that reaffirmed the value of culture after conflict, and Bernard situated film education within the broader film industry ecology, shaped for the last few years in Northern Ireland by the huge success of Game of Thrones – maybe the biggest TV series in the world currently, and shot largely in Northern Ireland.

And finally, Nuria Aidelmann of Catalan film educators A Bao a Qu, and Ginte Zulyte of Meno Avilys in Lithuania, spoke about Moving Cinema, a programme funded by Creative Europe to create film-going opportunities for young people in Spain, Lithuania, and Portugal. This is a strong project, derived out of an absence of cultural cinema programmes for young people when they leave school, and which follows the logic of watching – in cinema and on demand – of discussing, and then of becoming young film programmers together.

The report proposed some ways forward now that a framework has been established, in the form of EU funding that might be made available to test out its various dimensions and to explore effective related pedagogic practices. FLAG conceives of the framework as a dynamic outline to be refined over time and welcomes contributors to the project via its blog. Photos and highlights of the launch in Paris can be found there and on the Creative Europe site.

Michelle Cannon
FLAG member & Doctoral Researcher
Centre for Excellence in Media Practice
Bournemouth University, UK

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