From the standpoint of the nature of the medium, the cinema is a mixed art; it brings together practically all the elements of the performing arts: sound, visual, symbolic and virtual elements. From the point of view of the work to be done, the cinema continues to present itself as a mixed art of spatial and temporal meaning. From the point of view of the forms of expression, the cinema is an art of complex expression: it is audiovisual, digital, multimedia, plastic, dynamic, verbal, gestural, etc. (Beardsley and Hospers, 1997).
The cinema has been present in the 20th century in schools and in civil society centres where, through information sessions, it has learned to reflect on how a film should be viewed and how it can be judged, taking into account the technical, aesthetic and moral perspectives. Its implantation has been so great and diverse that, in pedagogical language, the educational, instructional, didactic, communicator, documentary, training and recreational films, among others, have specific meaning (Dictionary of Pedagogy, 1970).
The cinema is an art, and as such, it belongs to the field of expertise of the Arts, which is susceptible to pedagogic intervention. For this purpose, it requires the use of genuine and common forms of expression to work out the the general dimensions of cognitive, affective and volitional interventions in learners.
As education professionals, we are obliged not to confuse the three possible meanings of the Arts as an educational issue:
- Cinema as a general educational field that provides educational values like any other material.
- Cinema as a general educational field, meaning, as an area that is part of the common education of schoolchildren and that develops the aesthetic and artistic sense accompanying the cinematic experience.
- Cinema as a field of professional and vocational development.
The programming for Criaturas and Teenage Riot that Curtocircuíto offers to educational centres is framed within the first two meanings, and aims to operate as an action to educate on and with values within the general scope of education and the field of general education. The objective is to promote and introduce values and valid aspects for life and for the education of the student as a citizen. We are talking, above all, about aesthetic, social and moral values (respect, tolerance, solidarity, justice, etc.). It tries to be a small exhibit of the potential of artistic education as a very useful tool to create critical spectators and civilised people. It is very important to cultivate curiosity and the ability to be amazed at the everyday. When we formulate education for an art, we are talking about the Arts as genuine communication tools. Herbert Read, in his book Education Through Art, proposes bringing people closer to the language of the different artistic disciplines so that they are able to communicate and express themselves, and thus develop individual and social skills through experimentation, awareness, creativity and imagination. The Arts as the basis of education are an emerging issue in the field of pedagogy, but is an ancient thesis, already formulated by Plato when he affirms that the Arts should be one of the basic pillars of any education worth its salt.
Why work with short films?
Working on education “on” and “with” values through the cinema: short films as an educational tool
Audiovisual resources are always attractive for children and adolescents, as they are an attractive and dynamic way of capturing their attention. Due to the characteristics of short films, with their greatest potential being their running time, they are quite suitable for working with children and adolescents since they allow us to present a scenario, a situation or a more or less complex problem, yet they maintain the motivation and attention factor owing to its short running time and the ability to adapt a topic or issue into a short space of time.
The need to value and normalise the practice of education through the Arts has been recognised from the new pedagogical paradigms, since, nowadays, in our country, the Arts are used in a very residual way and the faculty continues to perceive that the screening of films and other artistic resources is a waste of time, when we have the necessary scientific evidence that supports their use and that legitimises us to reaffirm ourselves when we talk about education through the Arts as a value rising to the surface to claim its place in the educational world.
We teach “on” and “with” values through the cinema
Educational activities program on values through the cinema (scope of common education and specific education). These programs attempt to educate the spectators’ critical view so that they can perceive, understand and interpret cinematographic works through the recognition and interpretation of aesthetic values. But it also tries to be a section for education on values (we are talking about values like intellectual, affective, volitional, individual, ecological, liberating, moral, social, instrumental, transcendental, spatial and temporal values). In any case, the ability to be thrilled by the Arts is the starting point of this tool.
- Criaturas: Educational program on values through the cinema. Animated films as an educational tool. [from 6 to 10 years old]
- Teenage Riot: Educational program on values through the cinema. The cinema as an educational tool for the construction of personality. [from 14 to 18 years old]
- famZINE: The cinema, in addition to offering entertainment to the little ones, makes it possible to share an activity and spend time with the family. It is a great didactic resource and a tool to delve more in-depth on any subject or to give free rein to the creativity of children. The cinema has an undeniable impact on the lives of adults in our societies, an impact that grows as the age decreases. Children, adolescents and adults use film as a gateway to the world of fantasy, an inseparable relationship that led us to see the need to unite childhood education with cinema in order to take advantage of all its richness for education on values, since, the cinematographic works contain and foster values of a diverse nature, values needed for the education of human beings in the 21st century. The cinema has to give capital importance to the fundamental issues of human beings today in their relationship with others and with their environment. In this way, values such as freedom, equality, solidarity, respect for the environment, etc., come into play, with the intention of creating a world in which, at least, communication and understanding are realities well worth fighting for.
We teach the vocational and professional dimension of the cinema
Promoting and showcasing educational initiatives for the cinema (scope of vocational and professional education).
Canteiras is an activity incorporated into Curtocircuíto’s programming that showcases educational initiatives for the cinema within our community and the educational centres in Galicia. As for Curtocircuíto, we believe audiovisual literacy is one of the key factors in training future spectators and designers, artists, authors and actors, and critical and reflective audiences. That is why we want to consolidate Canteiras as a linchpin between innovative educational initiatives for the cinema in the sector and centres that wish to incorporate audiovisual education into the provisions for their students. Canteiras aims to be the exhibit, showcase and promoter of model practices that enable students to know, interpret and express themselves through audiovisual creation and reflection on the subject of audiovisual creation. In the 15th edition of Curtocircuíto, we will have the opportunity, for the first time, to bring together two initiatives from different places to share and discuss ideas and learn from each other about the work they carry out in their respective centres.
#OutraCompostela is an activity focused on vocational and professional education within the scope of the cinema. Outra Compostela emerged as the result of the collaboration between the Curtocircuíto Film Festival, the University of Santiago de Compostela, the Film Commision and the Council of Tourism, and aims to show the less natural sides and edges of our city. The activity programmed in each edition of the Festival has a creative and experimental character, starring the USC students, more specifically the School of Communication Sciences.
Compostela: The Compostela is a certificate that is issued to anyone who meets certain conditions, as recognition by the Church for going on the pilgrimage to Santiago as a sign of devotion to James the Apostle. Based on this figure, Curtocircuíto wants to award up to 2 ECTS credits and recognise the effort and commitment to the cinema, with an initiative inspired by the Compostela.