Industry Report: Film Literacy
Moving Cinema, culture, creation and education
by Simone Moraldi
- We interview Núria Aidelman and Laia Colell, from A Bao A Qu, a non-profit cultural organisation dedicated to the conception and development of projects that link culture, creation and education.
How did you come up with this idea?
We started Moving Cinema in 2014-2015, the year of the 10th edition of ‘Cinema en curs’, a film pedagogy program that we also develop in A Bao A Qu. ‘Cinema en curs’ is articulated in workshops held together by filmmakers and teachers during school hours, in the context of different subjects and with primary and secondary school students. One of the main purposes of ‘Cinema en curs’ is to foster the discovery of auteur cinema by children and young people, allowing them to get to know a cinema that is different from the main-stream habits and that nevertheless is able to touch them and move them in a very intimate and personal way. It was precisely the development of ‘Cinema en curs’ and the conversations with the older students (16-17 years old) what lead us to begin with ‘Moving Cinema’. We detected that after the first essential and indispensable step which is to awake the interest for European auteur cinema (that in a large extent needs to take place at school because in many cases is the only chance for it to happen), there is another very important step which is enabling young people to appropriate cinema, let cinema into their lives beyond the school hours, making it part of their leisure time…Definitely to generate autonomous habits.
Did you and your partners previously develop something similar before starting this project?
We started Moving Cinema with Meno Avilys (Lithuania) and Os Filhos de Lumière (Portugal), two non-profit organizations that, regarding their dimension, purposes and trajectory, were similar to A Bao A Qu: we had all been working on film pedagogy for over 10 years, with similar cinematographic and pedagogic principles. Precisely, with Moving Cinema, we started new strands of action that we considered important to explore and that, in a certain way, were in continuity and coherence with the actions that each of the organizations was already developing. We were all widening the scope of our projects.
How is the project related to your core activity?
A Bao A Qu is an association devoted to projects that interweave art, culture and education, and cinema has been one of the central axes of our project from the very beginning. It is one of the main purposes of the entity. In fact, as we were saying, Moving Cinema is completely in continuity with ‘Cinema in curs’. Besides, it also incorporates experiences of other projects that we develop, especially of film programming for children and young people, in relation to Cinematheques and Festivals.
Did you have any previous relationship with your partners before getting together in the project?
Each case is particular… And it is important to point out that the project has been growing gradually. We started being three partners and now we are seven.
We met Os Filhos de Lumière long ago thanks to ‘Le cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse’. Later, in 2012-2014, we developed a project together, with schools and local governments, which was related with photographic and cinematic creation through the discovery and valuing of the surroundings: Comenius Regio http://bordilsmoita.org/en. With Meno Avilys we had already seen in each other in some preparation meetings for the project Framework for Film Education in Europe, leaded by the BFI, and that allowed us to realize we had a lot of common elements and that an exchange could be very enriching for both of us. In the second year of Moving Cinema, two other partners were included:The Cinemathéque française (we collaborated with them closely in the context of ‘Le cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse’) and the Centre for the Moving Image (the only partner we hadn’t had contact with, and which was incorporated for their specific trajectory regarding “Young Programmers”).
In the third year, The British Film Institute was incorporated (we collaborated with them in ‘Le cinéma, cent ans de jeuneusse’ and in the Framework for Film Education in Europe), as well as Kijufi, an entity that, after several months of dialogue and previous work, is being incorporated both to Moving Cinema and Cinema in curs.
Does your association belong to any international network for film literacy or audience development? what functions do you think international networks should cover?
'Cinema en curs’ has an international scope (today, besides Spain, it takes place in Germany, Argentina and Chile). Since 2005 we make part of ‘Le cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse’, a pedagogic device of film pedagogy, which only took place in France until then. Afterwards, a lot of different organizations have joined and nowadays the workshops take place in 14 countries! We have also developed different European projects such as the already mentioned Comenius Regio, the Framework for Film Education in Europe, a training project in the context of the Grundtvig Programme and, besides Moving Cinema, we are currently developing CinEd, also funded by Creative Europe MEDIA in the line of ‘Audience Development’.
Regarding the function that the international networks can have, we could distinguish several levels. On the one hand, working with different entities, with different trajectories and working contexts, is enormously enriching for our own point of view and is an amazing source of learning, a stimulus to continue to grow. On the other hand –and maybe here we should achieve to go further together-, at least in the European context the net should help to claim for stronger cultural policies regarding the bond between culture and education. The importance of working in education is often referred inside cultural institutions and also within the professional field, but in many countries (and this is for sure the case of Spain) there is a lack of real cultural policies in this field. The network can give us examples of good practices both in terms of cultural policies and institutional commitment.
What are the main issues of the project related to film literacy (e.g. circulation of films, methodological framework, workshop with young audiences, etc.)?
Moving Cinema is simultaneously a project that develops different actions for young people and a research project, in the sense that such actions are analysed with the purpose of defining efficient strategies and methodologies in the field of film literacy.
All this resources, as well as the concrete actions which are developed, are published on the website www.movingcinema.eu. This is the main tool for sharing knowledge with other people and organizations. At the same time, all the participants share and give visibility to the experience through the Blog “We’re Moving Cinema”. We also conduct training sessions in the countries of the partner organizations and other European countries with the purpose of disseminating the resources.
We explore five strands of work, five very different ways of relating young people with cinema: young programmers (groups of young people who program and organize screenings for other young people); film practices with mobile devices linked to film-viewing; discovering films on VoD platforms; screenings and Q&A at festivals and cinemas; and, since 2015, Inside Cinema: an online space for the discovery of films through the materials of the creation processes.
What is the project about and what is it aimed to?
Moving Cinema started with a common desire of the partners: to awaken interest in European cinema among young people, to develop their capability to enjoy it and to enable them to participate in the cultural life of cinema: to discover films and filmmakers, go to cinemas, attend festivals, have contact with film professionals, etc. The main objective is to create and strengthen the bond of youth with European cinema through strategies that build present and future habits. We focus on art films, emphasizing the singularities that makes European auteur cinema specially moving for youth.
What is the target of the project? If students are among them, what ages and/or schools level does it address to? And why did you choose the target in this way?
Moving Cinema is specially addressed to young people between 13 and 19 years old. We want to focalise the work in these ages because we are sure that usually the decisive encounters with art happen in this period of life, of huge sensibility and when long-lasting passions (and habits) are awakened.
We begin with actions in the school context to reach as well young people’s leisure time, and commit them with cinema beyond their school life. Yet, we consider that teachers are indispensable allies to awaken interest and love for cinema, so we also develop teacher-training actions and we work closely with them.
Besides, Moving Cinema through its activities builds an important network of festivals, cinemas, screening spaces, schools, institutions, teachers and filmmakers who share the interest and will to make cinema reach young people as something living and vital.
How does your project follows needs and objectives of the call?
In Moving Cinema we focus on two central aspects of audience development: the encouragement of interest in European cinema, and the improvement of access to European films by involving diverse exhibition spaces. Besides from increasing knowledge and interest towards cinema and enabling young people to become an attentive audience with capacity of critical analysis and appreciation, it is essential to enable and encourage the access of youth to European films. In this sense, one of the riches and contributions of Moving Cinema is the diversity of film exhibition spaces and distribution platforms involved: film festivals, cinemas, cinematheques, VoD platforms. Moving Cinema aims to provide expertise in film literacy and, specifically, an attentive appreciation of European films.
According to you, what is the role of film literacy in the wider European cultural policy framework?
We believe that it can have a strategic role: because of the place that cinema itself can have in the contemporary world and also as an entrance to culture and art as a whole. In the first place it is important to consider that cinema –and particularly European auteur cinema- is very deeply connected to its surroundings, and that makes it a potentially privileged way for reflecting upon the world. Besides, cinema is an art with a huge ability to generate empathy and emotion, to concern the spectator, so it can result particularly interesting and attractive for those who are beginning to appreciate art. And, in a certain way we can consider cinema as a ‘total’ art, which holds essential aspects of other arts (music, literature, visual arts), so it has a huge ability for awakening interest and appreciation as well in those other arts.
Do you think film literacy is in connection with the industry and value-chain of film? What do you think their role in educational processes is?
There is no doubt that developing an audience with interests, with ability to enjoy cinema and with cultural habits should favour the industry in the mid and long term, as much as it generates new spectators. In fact, if we watch the number of film attendance in the last years, we could almost take the risk to affirm that, in a certain way, film industry’s health must go through the training of new spectators.
That doesn’t mean that, as we also are devoted to education, our only purpose –maybe not even the priority- is to generate audiences in quantitative terms or responding to the industry. In the extent that we have an impact on the education of young people, our commitment consists in opening their minds for cultural manifestations that otherwise they might not reach, awakening their interest and their critical conscience, helping them to build their own criteria. In this sense, it is dangerous that the powerful industries -those that can invade the media with their campaigns- impose (in a more o less subtle way) what young people should watch and appreciate… We consider indispensable to preserve the cultural value of the cinematographic experience, the cultural experience and the creative experience.
Do you think film literacy can support policies and actions for film heritage valorisation?
Absolutely yes. We could even say that it is indispensable. Culture, above all, by definition, is transmission. To know where we come from is essential for understanding who we are and, above all, who we can be! The film heritage, besides being a great source of intellectual and esthetical enjoyment, opens young people’s mind, makes them able to hear different voices, of placing themselves in different visions of the world, and that is fundamental not only for their cinematographic education, but for their constitution as human beings!
How do you think film literacy could be fostered in EU zone?
The lines of support for ‘Audience development’ by Creative Europe MEDIA are a very important first step, for sure. Not only because they have allowed the initiation of new projects in a European dimension, but also because they bring to the fore the commitment with film literacy. It would be also very important to foster the support in a National dimension. In Spain (which is the reality we know better) the deficit in the institutional support for film literacy projects is devastating. Nowadays there are no supports in a National dimension, only some Autonomous communities have financial support for projects on audience development and the budgets are derisory… Some local governments are committed to it, but evidently, that is not enough to articulate a real film education. Sadly, working together with entities of other European countries has allowed us to realize that it is not an exclusively Spanish problem, not at all! There are many countries lacking of policies on this field. Maybe, working at a European dimension makes it possible to incentivise policies in a National dimension… Other field to explore is the private funding, an option that has not yet been developed in many countries.