THE 19th annual Film in Schools (FÍS) project saw more than 150 pupils from primary schools in Laois and Offaly eagerly make their way to the Odeon Cinema in Portlaoise last week.
They were there to see their own work on the big screen that they had scripted, acted, directed, edited and produced.
The young film stars included kids from junior infants to sixth-class pupils and they waited eagerly to view the premiere of their star studded films for the first time on the big screen.
The FÍS project explores film as a medium of expression in relation to the arts and many other curricular areas, while at the same time introduces children to aspects of the filmmaking process.
Each year, pupils are asked to make a short film for a maximum of five minutes. Scripting, storyboarding, casting, acting, directing, operating the camera, lights, wardrobe, hair, make-up, props and sound effects were just some of the roles taken on by the pupils.
The screening of the films is the ultimate testament to the hard work and dedication of all involved.
Laois Education Centre is one of the few centres in Ireland that screens locally-produced films in the local cinema. It has been involved since the inception of this project in 2000, when it started as a pilot project. Through the support and guidance provided by Education Centre personnel, schools and pupils in its catchment area are encouraged to participate in the project.
This year, five films were shown, ranging from comedies to computer-generated imagery and educational productions.
Four of the five schools that took part were from Laois – The Rock NS, Portlaoise Educate Together, Abbeyleix South NS and Shanganamore (Barrowhouse) NS.
A man valled Plumwas introduced by the first-class pupils from Shanganamore. The idea for their film came about following a discussion on healthy eating while Active Week was taking place. The film is based on the story of a man who grows fruit from his head but is greedy and this leads to isolation and loneliness. By chance, he meets another fruit person, but unlike him, she shares all she has and is much loved for it. With her encouragement he tries a life of kindness and it rewards him greatly. Some of the girls from sixth class assisted them in directing the film.
First-class pupils from The Rock NS presented Gogglebox – The Rock, based on the hit TV show.
ASNS Breaking News was the work of pupils from Abbeyleix South NS. Their film was based on the novel James and the Giant Peach, which they studied during English class.
The final screening was The scarecrow’s wedding by the senior infant boys and girls from Portlaoise Educate Together.
Once the viewing was over, an Oscars-style awards ceremony took place, where category awards ranging from best group performance, best comedy, best entertainment, best acting and best documentary were presented by special guest for the day Michelle Herron from PDST Technology in Education.
Ms Herron acknowledged the work and commitment of the schools involved in the project and said that the awards ceremony is one of her favourite times of year.
Director of Laois Education Centre Catherine Doolan said that she and her team in their premises at Laois Education Centre will continue its support and encouragement for the many schools in its catchment area.