Film study in the community

Film is a hugely popular cultural form all around the world, and is the subject of study, formal or informal, everywhere you go. Often this takes the form of a solitary individual making an informal study using DVDs, books, journals and the internet, but there are definite advantages to study that is group-based, and a little more organized. Funded provision for lifelong learning focused on film is now very scarce in the UK. In some university towns and cities there are adult education and outreach programmes in film, but away from such centres opportunities for organized informal study hardly exist. What we are proposing and offering support for is the establishment of locally organized groups, in which individuals co-operatively develop their film knowledge and build the skills of seeing, understanding and communicating about film that greatly enhance everyone’s film-viewing experience.

Get the Picture is a film study partnership that aims to provide free support materials and a framework to help people to come together in their local community, to form study groups and learn about film. In the first phase of development, Get the Picture‘s materials have been developed to accompany the 2012 series of film essays by Mark Cousins, collected in a DVD box set as The Story of Film: An Odyssey. There are 15 one-hour-long films in the box set, and Get the Picture has organized its study programme into three segments of 5 sessions, each session relating to a single film in the series. Mark Cousins has endorsed the approach, and the materials have been trialled by voluntary groups from a number of film societies.

Our materials were trialled with groups in the UK, but there is no reason why groups from anywhere in the English-speaking world should not take advantage of them. You only need to be sure you can access The Story of Film: An Odyssey. We welcome and invite study groups from anywhere in the world to register with us.

The Get the Picture approach is based on supported discussion, because being able to talk about film is both a skill and a pleasure. You can enhance your viewing experience enormously by discussion and debate, and our materials ask you to practice these while you learn about the history and values of film-making. The discussion around Mark Cousins’ films is directed by study questions aimed to stimulate discussion, and is accompanied by suggested self-study notes, often using on-line resources, so the keenest participant is never without leads to follow up.

What you will need

The Get the Picture study materials are freely available to any group that registers on this site. When your group registers you will be sent a link to a folder that contains all the materials you need, in the form of downloadable pdf documents. Each study group will also need to buy at least one copy of the box set of The Story of Film: An Odyssey (but this supplies the source material for all three study segments).

What to do next

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