Facets Teaching Resources

Classroom Period Programs

History of Documentary Film

How did the documentary film evolve? Who are the essential documentary filmmakers who develop the documentary form? From the Lumiere Brothers to Robert Flaherty, John Grierson,and Jean Rouch to contemporary filmmakers like Michael Moore, students will get a grounding of documentary legacy, present and future possibilities. Classroom period lecture with film clips. 5th grade and up.

Visions of Light

What is a shot? What does a cinematographer or a director of photography do? What is the difference between a cutaway and an over-the-shoulder shot? Students will get an understanding and an appreciation of the kinds of shots used by filmmakers, their purpose and meaning, and how they set mood, propel action and establish point-of-view. Classroom period lecture with film clips. 5th grade and up.

Principles of Film Editing

Most filmmakers agree that editing is the most critical element of a film. How does film editing create a film's structure, drive the audience's emotions and support a director's point-of-view and artistic vision? Clips from the work of Eisenstein, Kuleshov, Marker and others show students how the "cut" creates emotion and meaning.

History of Animation

Long before computer-animation and Pixar, animators developed a rich and diverse art form. In this session, students will learn how animation evolved from such pioneers as Winsor McKay, George Pal, Ub Iwerks, Karel Zeman and Walt Disney to contemporary masters like Pete Docter, Jan Svankmajer, Sylvain Chomet, Charlie Kaufman, etc.

What can you animate?

Just about anything, if you set your mind to it. This illustrated talk will liberate students to go beyond computer-generated drawn animation to explore the use of other animation forms like puppets, sand, cut-out, string, live and 3-D through examples of what adventurous animators have achieved and the techniques employed to reach their level of wizardry.

History of Silent Cinema

In a brief 35 years, silent cinema (which was never completely silent) accomplished more than almost any film since. With comparatively primitive equipment and means, the ingenuity of early filmmakers is astonishing, and this look at film from 1895–1930 brings students to an understanding of how much can be accomplished with relatively simple means. Including examples from Lumiere Brothers, Georges Melies, F.W. Murnau, D.W. Griffith, Erich von Stroheim, and Fritz Lang.

From Script to Screen

How DO you write a screenplay and what is the basic form you can follow? How do screenwriters visualize the final film on the page, and how to film directors adapt a screenplay to the screen? This session explores the relationship between the script and film in order to empower students to compose screenplays which can result in completed films.

Women in Film

Women today represent less than 4% of film directors working, but the situation is out of touch with the considerable accomplishments of women filmmakers from the silent era to the present. In this historical overview, students will gain a unique understanding of the unique artistic contributions filmmakers like Alice Guy, Dorothy Arzner, Ida Lupino, Maya Deren, Agnes Varda, Vera Chytilova and Barbara Kopple have made to the art cinema.

Careers in Film and Digital Media

It takes a village to make a film. Who composes that village and what do they do? This overview of the key production, distribution and marketing roles necessary to create films, students will learn the difference between a DOP and a gaffer, a foley artist, a production assistant and a special effects supervisor. The class provides a comprehensive view of the diverse roles necessary to a film. HIgh school level.

African American Cinema

This historical survey of African American filmmakers ranges from the early work of pioneers like Oscar Micheaux and Gordon Parksto independents like Charles Burnett, Spike Lee and Julie Dash, and more mainstream filmmakers like Robert Townsend and John Singleton. Emphasis is on the unique artistic and historical contribution African American filmmakers have made to American film culture.

History of Film in Chicago

From Charlie Chaplin making silent films in the wilderness of Rogers Park to local legends like John Hughes and Harold Ramis and the rich history of Chicago-made documentary, students will learn not only about films shot in Chicago, but about filmmakers who have used the unique resources of the city to create a vibrant Chicago film culture.

How to Organize, Program and Run a School Film Club

If you love movies and love to share them, how can you organize your own student-run film club or film society in school? What does it take to program, publicize, and operate a film club, and what are the specific roles and individuals needed to make a film club successful? Where do you get films, how do you publicize them, structure discussions and solicit feedback? This how-to session with hand-outs provides the basic tools needed to run a successful school-based film organization. NOTE: mentorship and additional resources for existing school film clubs is available.

How to Be a Film Critic

It takes a little more than saying you either like or don't like a film to either write, podcast or produce an on-camera criticism or review. What was the filmmakers intent? How do you judge a film on its merits, in comparison to the filmmakers' other work and that of other filmmakers? How to evaluate a successful script, cinematography, editing, acting? How do you structure a film review so that it communicates well to others? How do you avoid spoilers? This classroom session challenges students to think critically and provides them with basic and essential tools needed to write effective criticism.

Adapting Literature to Film

Most of us have finished a book we truly loved with the thought, "This would make a great movie!" But adapting literature to film poses special challenges, stemming from the fact that literature and film are two diverse art forms, and the best literature does not always make the best movie, and vice versa. Students will read a short story, discover the challenges of its cinematic translation and then view a completed film adaptation to understand how the literary and cinematic version command their own separate language.

Approaches to Shakespeare

The world's most popular author has also enlisted brilliant adaptations of his plays from versions depending on powerful, psychological portrayals by great actors like Laurence Olivier to very innovative visual translations by Russian, Japanese, Finnish and American filmmakers. Each separate classroom session is focused on one Shakespeare play (sessions may be ordered individually):

Romeo and Juliet
King Lear

Through the use of film clips, each session explores the key elements in Shakespeare the filmmaker found as pivotal for their visual adaptation, transposition or modern interpretation, giving students an engaged understanding of the plasticity of Shakespeare, and the possibilities and immediacy of his plays.

What makes Shakespeare contemporary?

How does Shakespeare maintain relevance to a young generation? This brief survey of contemporary transpositions of Shakespeare to our times, students will see how films like Forbidden Planet, 10 Things I Hate About You, Romeo Must Die and West Side Story successfully distill the essence of Shakespeare into contemporary or futuristic cinema.

Poetry and Film

Where and how do poetry and film intersect? This session explores the world of poetry as it is represented in film, with poetic excerpts from W.H. Auden, Shakespeare, Coleridge, Emily Dickson, Pablo Neruda and Dylan Thomas, among others in a session challenging students to learn the intersection between the poetic written, spoken and visual image, and an appreciation of the role of poetry in artistic discourse.

How to Create a Visual Diary

Whether the diary is on paper or in an online form like Facebook or Instagram, a successful, lasting diary not only keeps secrets, but ultimately communicates often intensely personal feelings which others can find meaningful, powerful and instructional to their own lives. This classroom session explores successful diaristic films and the expressive tools which made them lasting artistic contributions which students can adapt to their own diaristic work.

Introduction to the French New Wave

The 1950s movement which became known as the French New Wave profoundly influenced the course of world cinema. Who were the key figures among the group of critics who became filmmakers who, in turn, created a diverse body of work with immense implications for the future of film? This brief historical survey looks at the work of Truffaut, Chabrol, Rohmer, Godard, Rivette and Varda to provide an overview of the French New Wave and its makers.

The Vietnam War in Film

Film played an important, if not decisive, role in changing public opinion about the Vietnam War. What are these films, what are they about, and how did they galvanize public opinion? With clips from John Wayne's The Green Berets, Pierre Schoendoerffer's The Anderson Platoon, Emile de Antonio's In the Year of the Pig, Oliver Stone's Platoon, Francis For Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Peter Davis' Hearts and Minds, this session aims to create an understanding of how film helps shape public perception, opinion and political action.