Short films are such a good way to introduce teenagers to various aspects of filmmaking. BMW released “The Hire” about a decade ago and I still think they’re some of the best short films I’ve seen. I downloaded all of them from BMW’s web site when they were released and I’ve held onto them. It’s the segue I use with my media literacy students to connect the topics of advertising and filmmaking.
We started off by looking up the director of each film on IMDB and checking off the movies that we were familiar with. Most students had not seen the majority of these filmmakers’ work. Then we watched all eight films together and I asked each student to rate them from 1-8 (8 being their favorite). The results were both expected and surprising. Year to year, the results vary. This year, they really took to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s “Powder Keg.” Joe Carnahan’s “Ticker” is usually a favorite as well.
The followup assignment was to review their favorite film using the five essential questions of media literacy.
- Who created this message?
- What techniques are used to attract my attention?
- How might different people understand this message differently from me?
- What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
- Why was this message sent?
I wanted to tally up their ratings so they could see how each person in the class responded differently to the films. And I really like averaging out the votes based on gender because it sometimes gives my students more information for answering question #3.
In a few weeks, once they’ve gotten their feet wet with non-linear editing via Adobe Premiere, their assignment will be to cut a trailer using footage from three or more of these films.
I just wanted to share this because it’s one of my favorite teaching tools.
You can view all of the films using this Youtube playilst.
And check out the production team, ratings, etc at IMDB.