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Budding young filmmakers see their work on the big screen at USW

A new educational resource created by the University of South Wales (USW) and Screen Alliance Wales (SAW) has seen more than 200 schoolchildren screening their very own films with a premiere event at USW’s Cardiff campus.

Screen 4 Schools has worked with children at seven Cardiff schools, including Cathays High, Adamsdown Primary, Baden Powell Primary, Stacey Primary, Gladstone Primary and St Albans Primary. The schools are all part of The Cardiff Commitment, an initiative engaging the public, private and third sectors to work in partnership and connect young people to opportunities in the world of work.

The Screen 4 Schools programme, supported by Channel 4, was designed to build on the Expressive Arts Curriculum for Wales and engage with pupils in Years 5 to 8 to develop their filmmaking skills. After coming up with film ideas, the children learned about production methods, character development, casting, research and storylines, attending sessions on costume and set design, real and virtual effects, interviews, camera angles and the technical aspects of sound, music and editing.

Sue Watson, Year 6 teacher at Gladstone Primary School, said: “I’d like to say thank you to Screen 4 Schools for what has been a remarkable experience and opportunity for us.  I hadn’t realised the intensity of the journey when I expressed an interest, but it has been all encompassing. The children are completely absorbed in what they have been doing; camera angles are now part of regular life in Year 6. I often hear, ‘Miss, that look should be a close up, no – an extreme close up’, followed by lots of teasing and laughter.

“To see smiles on the faces of learners who lack confidence or who are disengaged; to watch them having the experiences you have offered, has been fantastic. I appreciate that for USW, having such incredible facilities is part of your everyday life, but trust me, when you come in from the outside and see the buzz and excitement, it has been amazing and I for one would have loved to have had the chance to be part of something like this when I was at school.”

Tom Ware, Director of Production and Performance at USW, helped create Screen 4 Schools. He said: “This programme has built over seven weekly participatory sessions, leading to the ‘hands-on’ educational visit to our Cardiff campus where pupils and staff enjoyed a live screening of their final films and a chance to celebrate their work. The whole project has been hugely enjoyable, and our aim is to expand the programme next year to include schools in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil.”