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“What does film do to you and what can you do with film? That is the essence of film education.”

At Eye and in their own classrooms, pupils learn all about film, thanks to film education. Florine Wiebenga, Eye’s Head of Education explains what you can learn from film and how visitors to Eye also benefit from a little film education.

By Tamara Klopper06 October 2022

A child explores the permanent presentation
© Martin Hogeboom
A student looks at the film equipment in the permanent presentation
© Nadine Maas

What makes film interesting to know more about?

“To start with, there only a few people who don’t like film. Basically, everyone loves cinema. That is also because there are a lot of different genres of film from action to experimental arthouse films and documentaries that immerse you in a subject. At Eye, visitors are seduced into discovering a treasure trove of films which they otherwise might not have encountered quite so easily.

This is important, because film colours your perspective and plays a major role in how we experience the world. Think about it: you can recognise yourself in a film and it’s not for nothing that film is sometimes referred to as a slice of life. At the same time, we imitate what we see in films i.e. there is interplay between film and society. Contemporary themes such as diversity, gender and the climate crisis are easy to discuss on the basis of socially committed, idiosyncratic, funny and super exciting films, from animations to documentaries.

Film education teaches pupils and students about the richness of film and makes them curious about other perspectives. Because it expands their view of themselves, their immediate surroundings and the world as a whole. However, these are just a few facets of film education, because there is a great deal you can do with it!”

“Learning about film aligns neatly with educational objectives.”

Florine Wiebenga

What can a lesson about film entail?

“Film education immerses pupils in the world of cinema. It challenges them to watch and listen attentively: what did you see and hear, and how did that make you feel? Pupils learn about cinema’s language and discover how they can utilise this when film making.

The substantiation of film education differs per age group varying from primary school pupils to university students. The common denominator is that it aligns well with educational objectives namely enabling pupils to think for themselves and act independently in society.

A teacher can talk about a film’s historic, cultural or social themes i.e. the film’s substance and simultaneously about how the film was made and the cinematic techniques employed to depict a specific perspective. As part of social studies or citizenship lessons, film can be used to teach skills such as critical assessment of images enabling pupils to more readily recognise fake news or propaganda.

Film education is also a good match for arts and culture subjects, because film is also an art form and a strong means of expression. A facet of film education that has interesting professional perspectives is the development of the skills required to make a film from button skills to cooperation.

If there is anything that typifies film education then it is that there are tons of options when it comes to combining watching and studying a film to making a film. You learn about yourself and the world when you put what you have seen into writing, how you experience a film and when listening to another’s experience. whilst making you find out how films come about and how to creatively transfer a message. So, studying film in multiple ways, helps clarify a lot of things.”

What does Eye offer when it comes to film education?

“Film education is, in all sorts of ways, about learning to watch consciously and being a creative filmmaker yourself. This is the point of departure for everything Eye develops everything for the education system from lessons to workshops, guided tours and interactive film screenings. Some 15,000 pupils and students visit Eye annually. Eye’s programmes focus on various age groups and educational styles.

"An example of a creative workshop for various types of education from preparatory vocational secondary education to higher professional education, is Celluloid Remix. The participants create a video using historic film excerpts from Eye’s collection and are stimulated to freely experiment with music, sound, their own footage and animations. Smart editing tricks can make someone from 1910 dance to today’s music."

© Corinne de Korver
© Corinne de Korver

"Eye also visits schools. A travelling team of museum teachers provide guest lessons on film at primary schools so another 5,000 pupils learn about the richness of film and Eye’s collection. Eye’s lessons are set up in such a way that teachers can use them independently. Questions about the film excerpts they have just watched and assignments enlarge pupils’ understanding of various aspects of film. In 2021, Eye’s lessons were used some 14,000 times by teachers.”

“Learning about film helps people realise what film does to them and how it elicits emotions from you.”

Florine Wiebenga

Film education teaches you film’s language. What does that mean?

“The language of film is about the camerawork, the mise en scène, the lighting, the sound, the music, editing, acting; everything basically that is used to depict a story. Filmmakers make choices in all the aforementioned fields aimed at getting their story or message across. Learning about this, teaches you to recognise what film does to you and how it elicits emotions from you.

This ensures you see more whilst watching and think faster: which perspective is this told from and do I want to accept it? That is important because we basically communicate with everyone around the world through film. Not only directors can reach large audiences, but we all can using YouTube.

This is why film education is not just about critical viewing, but also about consciously making films yourself. Film education allows you to discover that you can tell and share your own story powerfully. So making your own film, think, for example, of short music videos on TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube, gives you agency. Film education makes pupils conscious of the fact they can direct things themselves.”

An increasing number of schools provide film education now thanks to the Netwerk Filmeducatie. Eye coordinates this network. What is the Netwerk Filmeducatie?

“The network consists of six regional film hubs and over 300 professionals around the country including teachers, teacher trainers, filmmakers and the educational staff at film festivals and cinemas. They combine their knowledge to ensure that all pupils in the Netherlands are taught about film. The website provides teachers with everything they need for their lessons from film tips to lesson materials as well as auxiliary and refresher education.

The network’s objective is to ensure that film gains a permanent place in education. The network’s efforts are bearing fruit as a recent study revealed that film has a permanent place in lessons at approximately 20 percent of secondary education institutions and that most schools – including primary schools – want to give it a permanent place in their curriculum.”

“Eye makes visitors curious, seduces them to watch film better and to experiment themselves.”

Florine Wiebenga

How do Eye visitors experience film education?

“The idea behind film education is also incorporated into our regular programming which you as a visitor can go to in your spare time. For instance, there is HappyGender about gender in film – featuring films, excerpts and talented young makers talking about the subject – is an example of an event, organised by young people from Eye’s youth platform MovieZone. But Eye makes visitors curious in many other ways too, seducing them into watching films better and experimenting themselves.

What does film do to you and what can you do with film? You can find out during temporary exhibitions, VR exhibitions, during guided tours and in Eye’s permanent exhibition. The latter takes you to where film originates, the inventions that determined what can be done with film and where it is heading. Visitors can play the lead in a film scene at the Green Screen and the museum will soon be home to an animation table for use by all. Characters and your phone can be used to make you own, creative video.

These are subtle, often playful forms of film education which challenge audiences to enrich themselves and see more in film.”

About Florine Wiebenga

WHO As Eye’s Head of Education, Florine plays a pioneering role in the development of a vision on film education.

As a student of Theatre, Film and TV Science, she provided the very first film education lessons for MovieZone which, at the time, was a small foundation. Florine then went to work for the Nederlands Instituut voor Filmeducatie, a production company, lived in France for a while and then decided to study Educational Science. She didn’t have a plan, but she followed her interests, and her knowledge and experience logically came together at Eye. Florine has been in the business for 20 years.