Berlinale School Project 2011

Every year during the Berlinale young, enthusiastic audiences fill screenings in the Generation section and discover current films from every corner of the world. Section director Maryanne Redpath is thrilled by the encouragement of 50,000 filmgoers. “It is fantastic that it’s self-evident for kids and teenagers to get excited by totally unknown material and that they’re receptive to new topics.”

The Generation section’s close ties to Berlin schools have traditionally had a high importance. “One of the secrets to our theatres is the fact that many teachers and their classes eagerly await our programme and a visit to the festival is now a regular feature of the school year,” says assistant section director Florian Weghorn. It’s exactly here that the Berlinale School Project has been involved since 2004 – in which a yearly alternating group of teachers is putting film educational methods to the test using current Generation films, later making their results available to the general public.

Class on the red carpet

The teachers participating in the School Project watch the films in the Generation programme prior to the festival. In dialogue with two project mangers, the film teachers Dr. Martin Ganguly and Kathrin Hillers, they select a film which appears especially suitable for their class. The project managers place much value in linking the pupils' cinema experiences with current classroom topics. This results in a totally different approach for each film. According to the themes and focus, the films are approached from a socio-political, historical or artistic perspective; based on the film, role plays and theatre piece are developed or else a totally new context is opened up through the comparison of a film to a literary work.

With the support of the “die Vision Kino” gGmbH, around 50 teachers from all types of schools and all areas of Berlin are selected to participate in the Berlinale School Project. Every year the nationwide network for film and media competency publishes the results of the projects on the website www.visionkino.de and offers teachers a lot of additional information and teaching aids for work with films in the classroom.

Maryanne Redpath concludes: “More than anything, a visit to the Berlinale should be a source of joy and allow you to leave with a few new ideas, which you can bring with you back home or into the classroom. Then it’s a great learning process without any of the famous pedagogical finger wagging.”