Lights, camera, action at Laois schools

TWO Laois primary schools enjoyed great success recently when they won three national awards between them for their creativity in film making.

St Josephs NS, Ballyadams won Outstanding Achievement in Film Making for Art Direction with their film ‘Holes – The Movie’. St Patrick’s BNS, Portarlington won Outstanding Achievement in Film Making for History and the much coveted Aileen MacKeogh Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Making. The schools were awarded at this year’s annual FÍS Film Festival which took place in the Helix in Dublin.

First to sixth class in St Patricks BNS were all involved in the shortlisted film ‘The Swinging Sixties’, an entertaining and enlightening historical documentary of the 60s.

The film was made last year when fifth class students took inspiration from a chapter on the 1960s in their history books. There were so many ground breaking events, the students decided that they wanted to document them. Filming took place over a few months with one or two scenes filmed every week. Teacher Stephen Kerry was delighted with the results.

“We had a great day out in Dublin for the awards. The competition is a fabulous exercise, it builds self confidence and the children really benefit from that”.

All the scenes were edited by two 6th class students, who were described as “whizzkids” at editing. There were roughly 12 students working on the production of the film, with about 50 children acting. All the children sourced all the gear, props and costumes for the film meaning the school spent no money for it.

“The students showed great initiative and enthusiasm throughout the project. This is a great programme for children giving them a chance to shine”, added Mr Kerry.

An engaging and unique approach to visual production is taken in ‘Holes the movie’ an adaptation of Louis Sachar’s novel, by sixth class in St. Josephs NS.

A wide variety of films and animations were shortlisted for this year’s festival from schools around the country. From storyboarding to post-production, the children have developed, directed and starred in these original short films. The FÍS Film Festival is a fantastic showcase of the creative and ingenious use of digital media in the classroom and celebrates primary school children’s creative thinking, imagination and teamwork through the medium of film. Now in its 8th year, the festival is one of the most anticipated dates in the primary school calendar. Awards are presented in several categories including acting, directing, animation, adaptation, editing, special effects, soundtrack and production design.

Commenting on this year’s festival, Karin Whooley, PDST Technology in Education, said: “We were overwhelmed by the number of films submitted, there was a 100% increase in the number of entries”.


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