Advice & Support

Film education in your cinema

Film education is a positive, rewarding and vital element of ensuring independent film culture finds younger audiences and develops further interest in film in audiences of all ages.

Starting an education programme

  • Decide who you want to target first – adults, schools (primary, secondary, further and higher education), kids’ clubs, etc. Don’t try to cater for everyone at once: you may be unable to sustain lots of simultaneous activity and don’t want to disappoint people.
  • Try to develop contacts that will be honest about planned activities – eg teachers’ groups, regular customers, youth workers – and ensure that you are responding to gaps in local provision.
  • Make sure anyone working with young people has had a DBS (Disclosure and Barring) check – it’s the law. Also check, if setting up out-of-school activities, the necessary ratio of adults to children.
  • Use suitable advertising methods – if it’s not an event aimed at the general public, be wary of putting it in your brochure and, if you do, make it very clear this is the case (be prepared – you may still get members of the public trying to attend).
  • Above all, try to ensure that the activities you offer are enjoyable. In terms of developing future audiences for both independent film and independent cinemas, happy education campers are a great advert for your venue and will ensure your education programme goes from strength to strength.
  • Make sure to check out our words of advice from successful education programme professionals on our blog.

Working with schools

Working with schools can be very rewarding – it can bring children and young people to your venue that may not otherwise attend. This is why it’s vitally important to make sure that any films you screen for them or speakers you use will not only educate, but will also be enjoyable so they want to come back.

Getting a few key teachers on side is incredibly useful, and if you want to run a schools programme, a termly newsletter offers teachers the time they need to plan any trips in advance. Local authorities often do large mail-outs to schools, so it is worth finding out if your newsletter can be included in any of these.

Bear in mind that schools all have their own Blu-ray/DVD screening facilities, so it is up to the cinema to offer them an experience they can’t get at school. Daytime screenings of films you are playing in the evenings can work really well, giving children the chance to see new releases they cannot yet access via home entertainment. Accompanying industry speakers, introductory talks, etc are also appealing.

Make sure teachers (and, ideally, students) leave with information or study materials about how to integrate their visit into their follow-up teaching. There are many accessible resources available already via Into Film, such as this advisory pack on working with schools. You will find that word of mouth spreads through the teaching community, so a good trip to the cinema for one group can have a great knock-on effect. Housing INSET (teacher training) days (which can be arranged with BFI Education or by you as a venue) can also be a rewarding educational strand.

Useful contacts and resources for education

Into Film

Supported by the BFI, Into Film gives every child and young person aged 5 to 19 in the UK the chance to experience film creatively.

BFI Education

Framework for Film Education in Europe

In response to a call from Creative Europe in 2014, the BFI led a group of 25 academics, film educators, and practitioners from national agencies and NGOs to create a framework to support film educators across Europe in designing, managing, and evaluating film education programmes. Background | Framework for Film Education in Europe

FutureLearn course – Film Education: A User’s Guide

Following on from the Framework for Film Education above, a free to access online course was created to aid film educators: Film Education: A User’s Guide

Moving Image Education

Moving Image Education is a Scottish film education project funded by Creative Scotland. There are lots of resources and activities on its website to help young people analyse, explore and understand the meaning of what they’re watching and hearing; and enable them to create films themselves.

ICO Young Audiences Screening Days

Each year in early summer, the ICO runs Young Audiences Screening Days, an event looking at the best ways to develop and support young audiences in your cinema. Read about ICO Screening Days.

Young audience development – links

If you’re starting an education programme, check out this list of inspirational exhibitors.

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