Sunday 24 September 2017

How this two-teacher school's poignant video on the Great Famine has scooped a top award

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A two-teacher Co Galway primary school has scooped the top award for film-making excellence in the 12th annual FÍS Film Festival

The Aileen MacKeogh Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film-making was presented to Leenane National School, Co. Galway for their famine re-enactment, When Cropfields Cry. 

The five minute film shows the impact of the failed potato crop on a family.

Shortlisted nominees were required to create a five minute film on a subject of their choice and the film had to be produced by the children and their teachers.

Entries are judged on imagination and creativity, the originality of the story, excellence in set design, costume design, film direction and production, as well as the use of sound, acting and cinematography.

Some 26 primary schools from across Ireland were awarded prizes in categories that included editing, history, special effects, documentary, direction and curriculum relevance.

FÍS Film in Schools is a partnership project between the Department of  Education’s  PDST Technology in Education service which promotes the integration of information and communications technology (ICT) in teaching and learning at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.  .

The initiative is unique in Europe, bringing together primary and higher level education, with primary school children producing the films and master’s degree students from IADT producing and broadcasting the final.

PDST director Ciara O’Donnell said projects like FíS, acknowledged and celebrate talent and gifts so diverse, that every child, regardless of their personal interests and strengths can taste success in learning.

“The project shows the great power that ICT has to positively influence what and how children learn, and to make that learning meaningful and special such is the reach of its tentacles and the richness of its impact,” she said.

FÍS empowers teachers and children to explore the medium of film and digital media in the primary school curriculum. 

It develops active learning, creative thinking, language, imagination, collaborative learning and problem solving skills, as well as giving children hands-on experience of using technology as part of the film-making process.

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