Culture Mom Advocacy: See Hear Feel Film

While I’m looking for work and taking graduate school classes, I have plenty of time on my hands. My kids are in kindergarten and 1st grade, so their time away from home is finally increasing but I can’t spend all day trying to get my life back. It’s going to take a while.

I’m always volunteering. Plus, I was a film minor in college and loved my film classes. My first job was actually in film and I have never lost the bug. I’ve also always been a big fan of the Jacob Burns Film Center. They get fantastic art-house films and have great lectures with the directors, actors, etc. It’s a kin to my old haunt in Manhattan, the Film Forum. Since it’s located in Pleasantville, which is about a half-hour away, I have been only a few times. However, I fortunately just came across a wonderful program which needs volunteers called See Hear Feel Film for 3rd graders and it’s going to bring me back to the center often.

A few times a week, See Hear Feel Film teaches students active viewing skills and the techniques of telling a story through film. Using short films from around the world to spur their creativity, the children learn to write with clarity and confidence, improve their own storytelling skills, and become keener observers of the world around them.

The curriculum consists of five film units, each involving viewing short films, participating in writing exercises and engaging in creative collaboration. I participated in part two this week. One short film was shown from Iran and one was show from Denmark. Both were beautiful. The one from Denmark featured a little girl who’s family have uprooted her from Copenhagen to the countryside. It’s a touching, poignant film about how she deals with the move and learns to adjust to her new life, all with the help of an unexpected new friend. The film from Iran was a clip from a much longer one about a blind boy who’s father is late to pick him up at his boarding school on the last day of the school year. He goes into the woods and saves a bird from a cat and somehow returns him to his nest.

The kids in the classes that I experienced were extremely interested in both films and were able to engage in an active discussion about the films. Both teachers were exceptional in getting their points across and used the children’s senses to analyze plot, conflict, stories, descriptive language, dialogue and the use of wide angles and close-ups. After the film, I was allowed to lead a group in discussion about the films, while they munched on popcorn and then we all engaged in group activities, creating scripts and dialogue.

The class was something I would have loved as a child and I think it is so amazing that these kids are having the experience and opportunity to start thinking about their lives as film makers and story tellers. I can’t wait until my own kids are ready to experience the Jacob Burns Film Center, and their turn is just around the corner.

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  1. Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could
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