By Nikos Thedosiou
(Text written for the catalog of MICE 2017 – Μostra Ιnternacional de Cinema Education)
In the 17th year of the 21st century, almost no one questions the introduction of media literacy into all levels of education. Researchers are continuously publishing research and modules are announced. But from the announcements until the implementation, the gap is huge.
One can notice a hesitation, a reservation. Sometimes… an unspoken fear. Reality runs faster than our plans or thoughts. The awkward education fails to address the challenges of a world in deep turmoil, a world in transition.
“I don’t know what to play to the children / anyway they know it all”, sings a elderly Greek singer. Kids that belong to the digital world have all means at their disposal. A simple mobile is nowadays a complex audiovisual creation tool: camera, an editing as well as a viewing medium of the whole world via the internet. The obligation of education is not only about teaching kids to simply interpret film images. Passive teaching should become active participation. Kids should be trained in creating films with cinematic aesthetics and in that way to contribute – through art- to the aesthetic education and to develop a dialogue that oversteps the boundaries of everyday life.
It’s a fact that conservative forces are afraid of this prospect. A democratic dialogue is not one of their preferences. They believe that critical thinking is a dangerous weapon that questions their sovereignty.
Private initiatives try to fill this void in formal education. In recent years, organizations that promote youth audiovisual creation are increasing. And it is no coincidence that public-school teachers are behind initiatives like: Mice or Plasencia Encorto in Spain, NFFS in Holland, Time Line in Italy etc. As teachers are the immediate recipients of the needs of a modern and progressive education, it’s normal to be in the forefront.
Despite the obvious advantages of a modern audiovisual-cinema education, we want to highlight two more crucial and substantial matters of our times.
1. The issue of Democracy. A film group cannot work properly and produce work, if they don’t work under the principles of direct democracy. Collective action requires equity, respect diversity, organization, dialogue, common goal.
- Open borders. Multinational workshops (that Camera Zizanio runs every year) and the existence of International Film Festivals where films created by youngsters are screened, show us that audiovisual creation has no borders. The “set” of our action is the whole planet. Acts of coexistence and cooperation are necessary as an answer towards the poisonous nationalism that erects fences, inflates hatred and warfare.