Learning by viewing

The Federal Ministry for Culture and the Media is concerned about the media socialization of the younger generation and is creating an "Film Literacy Agency" to save the cinema

Alarm was sounded within the film industry when a study by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) found a dramatic drop in attendance and revenue in 2003. The plunging bar graphs showed that an entire generation was being lost. For example, there was a twenty percent drop in the number of visitors in the 10 to 15 age group. This trend had already become apparent in the previous year and could no longer be explained by consumer restraint alone, but had deeper causes. A change in media, a move away from cinema and towards DVD and computer games were identified as. A whole generation is growing up here, so the fear goes, alienated from the cinema and then hastily placed under the general suspicion of piracy.

Danger was imminent and immediate countermeasures were initiated. In addition to an incriminating advertising campaign against pirate copiers, the film industry has been busy lobbying politically. Apparently with success: In February, a working group with the working title of "Film literacy agency" which is to be supported by the Federal Ministry of Culture with one million euros annually and is to be based in Potsdam-Babelsberg. "As a permanent network between schools, film theaters and the offer of film distributors", According to Minister of Culture Christina Weiss at the Berlin congress Kino macht Schule in 2003, the agency is to provide assistance in teaching film literacy among schoolchildren and young people.

Learning by viewing

To coincide with Women’s Day, Initiative Zukunft Kino Marketing has expanded its deterrent campaign to include this poster. Whether this drives young people to the cinema?

At the same congress, which was attended primarily by representatives of the film industry, politicians, teachers, and film pedagogues, a film competence declaration was adopted. Accordingly, film is to be anchored in the curricula of schools and colleges in the future, with the complicated aim of, "deciphering the codes of moving images". In addition, there is talk of a "obligatory film canon" the speech, which "by a competent commission" should be created. For the "Providing all educators with historical and current material" must make a facility that "Ideally also a central distribution function" takes over.

Now it is there, the film agency, and calls itself soundly "Vision Kino – Network for film and media competence". Made possible by a change in the Film Requirement Act and supported by the FFA, the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek and associations from the film industry (film distributors as well as all major film theater associations), it also has close ties to the Bundeszentrale fur politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education) and the "Kino macht Schule GbR". But apart from the foundation and the budget there is not much to show yet. An executive office is missing so far, as well as a management (applications welcome)!) and a concept for the content is still far away. Only vague ideas prevail as well as an answer of the government to a small inquiry in the Bundestag on the part of the FDP. In film circles, people are already complaining about the unique situation that a fully subsidized institution is being founded here without a recognizable orientation and a fixed business plan.

"Vision Cinema" without vision?

But it doesn’t seem quite so bad now: according to Sarah Duve, lawyer and acting director of "Vision Cinema", the many individual media-pedagogical initiatives in the area of cinema and school are to be bundled within a network. There you can find out which films are available from which distributors and under which conditions. Teaching materials will be created for the individual films. It is not obligatory to adhere to the film canon of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale fur politische Bildung) – those controversial 35 films. Practically, however, there already exist well-founded writings on these works. In addition, the agency wants to take care of teacher training and to continue the school film weeks that have been successfully organized since 2002 "expand and perpetuate", according to Duve. Also a congress, similar to "Cinema makes school", could check the pedagogical goals and successes at regular intervals.

Surely it can be done vs "Film education" and medienpadagogisches commitment say little. But the fact that it took well over a hundred years of film history before a medium that sparked important intellectual debates for many generations was included in the school curriculum speaks for itself. Now this is happening at a time when young people are turning away from the cinema in droves and becoming enthusiastic about other media. To re-code them with movie classics is probably more a pious wish.

It would be necessary, however, to place the media-pedagogical goals clearly above the particular interests of the shareholders involved. Behind closed doors, the association of film distributors is said to have spoken out against the use of film classics, because it only makes money from contemporary films. However, anyone who did not like the fact that children and young people spend their afternoons playing baller games without reflecting should start precisely there and integrate the so-called new media into the education system "Vision Cinema" take up. As long as cultural policy continues to be confused with economic policy in the name of public-private partnerships, and a sector like the film industry allows itself to be cross-subsidized, the shoe will not drop "Vision Cinema" lacks recognizably the vision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.