A HOLLYWOOD actor attended Disraeli School today to teach a group of children some of the skills required to make filmmaking.
Simon McBurney, who has appeared in films such as The Golden Compass, The Last King of Scotland and The Duchess, came to the school as part of the Film Club project.
Eleven children between the ages of eight and eleven who work in the after-school club had the opportunity to complete several acting exercises and ask questions about acting and the film industry.
Mr. McBurney, also known for his role as choirmaster on The Vicar of Dibley, said: “It was fantastic to be here today.
“The film club is an amazing thing because it brings the outside world of cinema and film into the classroom and makes real life a part of education.
“Instead of traditional school plays, they could make a school film. Most of the devices are very, very cheap, and most of the computers you buy these days have some kind of editing software on them. ”
The children were shown a Buster Keaton silent film and asked to act out plays by playing a series of still images.
At the end of the session, three teenagers were filmed their scenes and the children had the opportunity to see how quickly they could be worked on together.
Mr McBurney continued: “There is no doubt that this program will be positive for the future of British cinema.
“The more we deal with films from the start, the more we might want to participate in them later.
“When I was a kid my mom wrote us plays we could appear in and I was in school and that was one of the reasons I became an actor.”
He added, “It’s not about being a star. The reason a lot of people go to the movies is because they love to tell stories.
“People don’t get into film because they want to get rich and famous, it’s a way of life.”
David Liddle, who teaches at The Pastures Elementary School, started the film club 18 months ago.
He said, “It’s interesting for the kids because they can watch a movie all the way through. Often times when you ask them if they want to watch movies at home they say they are being interrupted.
“It’s good because kids can get access to thousands of movies online too, and get all sorts of things that make them feel like they’re in the movie business.
He added, “We try to watch a lot of different types of films, like Charlie Chaplin and more modern American films, to show them the range.
“The Japanese films are always popular. Last year we saw Dumbo and a couple of sixth grade boys said they didn’t want to see it but I ended up looking at them with a tear in my eye. ”