How many schools are involved in Lithuania?

We hope to involve at least 100 schools. 

Is it free for schools?

Yes. The films and support for teachers from the Lithuanian Film Centre are free, and the vast majority of schools already have the equipment – the projector or large TV, laptop or DVD player, whiteboard or pull-down screen, speakers – to show film.

Why is watching film a positive educational experience?

It is universally accepted that encouraging children to read books both for enjoyment and for critical understanding has huge educational benefits, and the same is equally true for films. Arguably film is the most advanced form of storytelling bring a range of artforms together (writing, drama, art, costume design, cinematography, music etc) to enhance the telling of that story. And of course storytelling has been at the heart of education for millennia.

Is there any research to support this?

Yes, see the home page for specific research results. This research shows that the educational impacts of watching films regularly in film clubs increases communication skills, critical thinking, confidence, literacy and gives insights to a wide range of curriculum subjects. It broadens children’s understanding of the world, different cultures, societies and languages and develops empathy. As film producer and educationalist Lord David Puttnam suggests: “It enables young people to see the world through the eyes of others, of others – something that, at this point in our history, may well be more critical than ever.”

Isn’t film a passive activity?

No more passive than reading a book. It stimulates thinking in the same way. It is a shared experience, 90 minutes of concentration on a single narrative, increasingly rare in the modern world with the internet, games and remote control culture. We also encourage children and young people to play an active role in the organisation of their club as well as researching, suggesting, reviewing and debating films. This child-centred approach of film club promotes independence and responsibility by encouraging members improved behaviour and engagement.

How do I start a film club?

It’s very simple. Find a colleague to run it with you in case one of you is ill one week. Check with the headteacher and agree whether to run the film club during school time or after school. Then click here and tell us that you’d like to join. We will invite you to a 3-hour training session and you’ll be ready to start.

What does the training cover?

The training is run by the Coordinator from Lithuanian Film Centre who will support you throughout the pilot. It will cover recruiting pupils to join the film club; using the website and the online player; researching and selecting films; screening and equipment tips; how to stimulate film review writing; filmmaker interaction visits and information on the online evaluation questionnaire. This is all done in 3 hours with colleagues from other schools.

How do I set up the film club?

Choose a regular room or hall to run your film club in every week. Promote the club in an assembly, put up posters we will provide to advertise it and enlist some pupils in publicising and talking about the club and screenings. Some schools, for example, send out e-flyers to tell students which film is showing that week, or use display screens in the school to trail films.

Gather together the best equipment you can find – eg projector, screen, speakers, computer. Make sure that the room or hall can be blacked out. If not already in place, other schools have involved pupils in helping to create blackouts with sheets of thick black card stuck to the windows. Make the room and the seating as much like a cinema as possible.

You are ready to go. You or a pupil introduce the film, switch of the lights and press play. Afterwards the screening discussion will be likely to start naturally, though in the beginning you might need to prompt it. After the discussion encourage your film club members to write a review of the film on the website in their own time.

How often does the film club need to run?

Ideally it should run weekly during term time. We understand that there will be one or two weeks where there might be exams or a sports day that makes it difficult.

What permissions do I need? 

You are automatically licensed to screen the films, through our partnerships with the film industry, so you don’t need to worry about that. Depending on school policy. You might need participating pupils’ parents to sign a permission slip.

Is there an agreement to sign?

Yes. But it is very simple and it uses plain language. We have kept it to one page. It will need signing by you and anyone else you are running the film club with and the Headteacher. Click here to download.

How do I decide which films to order?

In this pilot there will be a more limited selection of films that will be added to over the Spring. This makes looking through the films available quite manageable. We provide descriptions of the films. Also do involve your pupils in researching and selecting films.   

The young people in Film Club only want to watch the latest blockbusters. How can I persuade them to watch other films?

This is a key question, as a principal aim of Lithuanian film clubs is the open young people’s minds to films they might not otherwise see. From experience, it works well to start with more familiar films before showing anything more challenging or unfamiliar. Also, involving young people in choosing the films themselves makes a difference. Discuss the selection – make sure everyone knows about it and has ‘signed up’. Create a buzz around the film, mentioning a few exciting details beforehand – make sure it is not just an unfamiliar title.

How do I play films?

Generally through your computer. You can play the film directly from the website. It uses new technology to ensure smooth playing of the film, adjusting to the broadband speed of your connection and processor load of your computer. On some occasions films may only be available on DVD and we will send those to you, with a self addressed envelope to return the DVD after you’ve watched it.

Is it best to stick to one year group?

No. One of the positive benefits of film clubs is that young people learn social skills, and mixed age groups are important for this. We have found that a minimum of 20-30 members is ideal.

The quality of the screening is not ideal. Sound and / or visual quality are poor. What can I do to improve the experience?

Sometimes a few simple steps can make a big difference when using interactive whiteboards to show film. Have you blacked out the room as best you can? Is the volume turned up on both the speakers and PC? Often the speakers are the main problem – distorting when turned up. Often teachers find better speakers elsewhere in the school and use them.

If that room is still unsatisfactory, are there other locations in the school that you might use? Sometimes projectors in halls or other rooms are more high-powered than in the classroom, so you might want to try them out.

Also, it is nice to give the room a ‘cinema’ feel, perhaps by arranging the chairs in rows. Some schools even make popcorn for the screening! 

Streaming films on the film player from the website isn’t working?

Report it to us as soon as possible and we will try to fix it. Always have a spare film on your computer or have a DVD.