The Cinematheque is one of the hidden educational gems in Vancouver. I have been working with them for over ten years and they have proven to be a highlight of the year for myself and my students.
- Film Studies Teacher, Lord Byng Secondary, Vancouver
Most people love watching and talking about films; powerful stories can teach us about culture and history, and help us to learn experientially, emotionally and empathetically. Our film studies workshops can help to structure that learning, initiating discussions that engage students long after the film ends. With field trips to the theatre and challenging, thoughtful facilitators to guide the learning, our film studies programs transform movie-watching into a critical learning experience that brings your curriculum to life. Join us to:
- Move beyond “like” or “dislike” conversations about film into complex, meaningful and fruitful discussions
- Analyze and deconstruct films, looking not only at story, but also dissecting visual language and the way it impacts meaning, personal and social responses
- Connect varying media and film representations of real-life events or issues, exploring perspectives and motivations behind creative decisions.
Though we have several sample workshops listed below, all of our film studies workshops are custom-designed to fit the themes and curriculum of the teachers we work with. During field trips to The Cinematheque, we present and discuss curated short film selections, feature films, and documentary/fiction pairings (as seen below) to fit the themes and issues you’d like to explore. Contact us to discuss your field trip ideas.
Please also be sure to check out our Resources page to explore our Film Study Guides. A series of 20 packages exploring the artists, techniques, styles and practices that have dominated filmmaking for more than 100 years, they offer great techniques for exploring film with your students, and are the perfect introduction for anyone set to begin teaching film studies for the first time.
SHAKESPEARE ON FILM From Hamlet to Midsummer Night’s Dream to Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s reach over the centuries is undeniable. In both classic and contemporary screen adaptations, directors and actors interpret and alter his stories to reflect new social values and highlight eternal ones. Customizable to whichever of Shakespeare’s plays you and your class are studying, this workshop aims to help students to deepen their understanding of some of Shakespeare’s greatest works, and explores the universality of his most vibrant and rich stories. This workshop is accompanied by a feature film screening of the Shakespeare film of your choice.
ROMEO & JULIET Digging deeply into Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, participants will explore the classic themes of Shakespeare’s play as it was written centuries ago, drawing parallels to modern-day social critiques portrayed in recent adaptations including West Side Story and the Baz Luhrmann film version from 1996. To what lengths do studios go to use soundtrack, stars and imagery to market this classic story, and how successfully do these elements appeal to the teen demographic? This workshop is accompanied by a film screening of either Franco Zeffirelli’s or Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.
MENTAL HEALTH ON SCREEN The language of cinema has the remarkable power to represent mental states and creatively show us the perspectives of others. At times this distorts the truth about mental health issues for the sake of entertainment value, while at other times it can beautifully open our hearts and minds. We present this workshop in the spirit of The Cinematheque’s Frames of Mind Series, to shed light on the vital topic of mental health as represented on-screen. Film choices are countless and customizable. Previous screenings have included The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2004), 12 Monkeys (1995) and more from the Frames of Mind series.
UNDERSTANDING A.I.: SCIENCE FICTION AND FILM Since the advent of film, screenwriters, directors and artists have used the medium to imagine the technology of the future. But how do past visions compare with our present, and how do today’s visions predict our future? Why do so many of our current science fiction films envision apocalyptic, A.I.-ruled worlds while our scientists and corporations race to create real-world artificial intelligence? Prepare for exciting discussions and debates about film and our shared hopes and fears on screen. This workshop could be accompanied by screenings of Ex Machina, Terminator 2, A.I., and Metropolis.
FRENCH LANGUAGE DOUBLE BILLS Perfect for French Immersion and Film Studies classes alike, your students will enjoy two French-language films on the big screen. Discussions and activities with our facilitators shed light on the historical and cultural context in which the films were produced and seen, deepening students’ understanding and appreciation of the films and of l’art du cinéma! This workshop could include screenings of Quebecois films C’est pas moi, je le jure and Mon oncle Antoine, as well as French classics from Godard, Truffaut, and many contemporary directors like Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the Dardennes Brothers.
IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS Available as either a media literacy workshop or this film studies workshop, we use news media, journalism and themes of voyeurism, sensationalism, and exploitation to look at the ways that news reporting taps into our most primal desires and impulses. Defining the “hero,” the “anti-hero,” and the “villain” in the context of the news, we will discuss their role in literature and media throughout history and analyze films exploring these ideas. This workshop is often accompanied by screenings of the iconic 1967 Bonnie and Clyde and modern classic Nightcrawler.
THE SWEET LIFE: IDENTITY, OBSESSION, AND CELEBRITY CULTURE Available as either a media literacy workshop or this film studies workshop, The Sweet Life examines the role of celebrity in North American culture and its influence on our hopes, dreams, and everyday lives, especially as this relates to youth. How does film and the star system reinforce our sense of entitlement over the lives and stories of celebrities? And how can film equally play a role in turning media’s lenses back on us for critique and reflection. The material in this workshop can be reinforced with films like Teenage Paparazzo and The Bling Ring.