Photo of children looking at 35mm film. Image courtesy of the British Film Insitute

BFI launches Framework for Film Education

On 19 June 2015, 50 delegates from across Europe gathered at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris to discuss the future of film education in Europe. The occasion marked the launch of A Framework for Film Education in Europe - an initiative funded through the Film Literacy strand of the Creative Europe - MEDIA sub-programme's Audience Development scheme, with a grant of €70,000.

Convenor of the group and Head of Education at The British Film Institute (BFI), Mark Reid, said "Creative Europe continues to play a leading role in putting film education firmly on the European agenda. The Framework for Film Education sets out an overarching set of ambitions that film educators can confidently aspire to, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Creative Europe funding."

This is the first time that a framework of this kind, which aims to supports the design, management and evaluation of film education programmes, has been devised in Europe. It brings together knowledge and practical experience from a range of institutions and education providers of varied sizes, from universities to cinémathèques, and from national agencies to small NGOs and industry-funded bodies. More than 25 partners from all over Europe were involved overall, including newly accessioned countries. Together, the participants formed the Film Literacy Advisory Group, who had previously worked on the European film education survey, Screening Literacy.

The day opened with an introduction to the framework, given by Ian Wall of The Film Space, which runs training programmes and makes film education resources. He stated that the goal of film education should first of all be to develop a 'film sensibility' in young people, through which they can understand and appreciate the 'art of film' above all. 

Director of the Cinémathèque Française, Serge Toubiana, made a powerful claim for the ability 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.

Academic Alain Bergala reminded 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. He elaborated with the idea that film education will only take root for all children if it is presented to them through school first of all, but it can also work to change their experience of school. He recommended a method of 'slow film education', in parallel with the 'slow cinema' movement, to counter the tendency of modern media to scatter young people's attention.

The programme also featured a roundtable with Xavier Lardoux, Director of Film at France's National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC), and Celine Ravenel, current President of the European Children’s Film Association (EFCA). Deputy head of Creative Europe's MEDIA Unit, Matteo Zacchetti, chaired the discussion.

Topics covered included the need for common catalogues of films for children which are accessible across Europe, and for catalogues of short film, such as is currently being created by the ECFA with funding from Creative Europe. Other subjects discussed were licensing and rights environments for film in Europe and the level of funding for film literacy in Europe.

The event also included presentations of three projects which exemplify the types of outcome that the framework supports. Nathalie Bourgeois from the Cinémathèque Française talked about Le Cinema: cent ans de jeunesse, an international film education programme that she has led for 20 years. Nuria Aidelmann and Ginte Zulyte spoke about Moving Cinema, a programme funded by Creative Europe to create film-going opportunities for young people in Catalunya and Lithuania. Lastly, Bernard McCloskey, Head of Education at Northern Ireland Screen, gave a presentation about Moving Image Arts, Northern Ireland’s film education course for 14 to 19 year olds.

The full report can be viewed on the BFI's website.

Watch the video to see highlights from the day.

Photo: Courtesy of the British Film Institute.