Film Festivals & Culture

Grade 9-12 Activity: Each May, one of the largest film festivals in the world is held in Cannes, France. Filmmakers, actors, and audiences from all over the world come together to present and view films.

The 64th annual Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 11 to May 22, 2011. American actor Robert De Niro will be the president of the jury for the main competition, and French filmmaker Michel Gondry will head the jury for the short film competition.

South Korean film director Bong Joon-ho has been announced as the head of the jury for the Camera d’Or prize, which is awarded to the best first-time filmmaker.

The opening film will be “Midnight in Paris,” written and directed by Woody Allen. Melanie Laurent will be the hostess of the opening and closing ceremonies.

Cultural Learning Activity
Create a classroom film festival in which your students present and discuss short film clips from the CultureGrams Video Gallery.

Divide students into groups of three or four and assign them the task of planning an international short-film festival. After screening several of the videos in the CultureGrams Video Gallery, each group should select four “short films” (video clips) for inclusion in their program. They should be able to justify the connections between the films—whether regional, thematic, or otherwise—and the order in which they have chosen to present them.

Students should then read the CultureGrams reports associated with their chosen films and, using that information as background, write paragraph-long introductions for each of their films that take into account the cultures they portray. Once finished, combine these pages into a comprehensive program and distribute it to the class. Have each group do further research as needed on the specific topics of their chosen films so that they will be prepared for a question-and-answer session at the end of their program.

Allow some time in class each day for a week to have students present their films and field questions from the class. At the conclusion of the film festival week, hold an awards ceremony where you—as the keynote speaker—discuss the ways in which film (or video) can influence the way we experience culture.


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