film by the Breakwall


Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little about your role at Hastings Secondary

Hi! My name is Karen Noble, and I am the coordinator of the Film By The Breakwall short film festival. I have been a Visual Arts and Photography & Digital Media teacher at Hastings Secondary College Port Macquarie Campus for the past nine years and more recently, the relieving head of the Creative & Performing Arts department. 

 How was the concept for a Hastings Valley Community of Schools Film Festival conceived/developed?

I have been lucky enough to visit all Hastings Valley Community of Schools and work with students in Year 4-6 as a part of our transition to secondary school program. I am always inspired by the enthusiasm by both teachers and students when I deliver workshops in Creative & Performing Arts, so I started to look for opportunities that would engage students of all levels and abilities, as well as provide teachers with professional learning.

This coincided with an email from The Arts Unit offering assistance in establishing film communities. Film By is an initiative that was established by two teachers in Sydney and provides students with an opportunity to develop their film making skills through programmed learning. Film communities have now been developed throughout NSW, including regional and remote areas and teachers are provided with the professional development to create rich visual literacy learning outcomes in programs for students in all stages of learning.

When I suggested this to our network of teachers it was met with nothing but enthusiasm, and here we are, about to walk the red carpet! We would not have got to this point without the fantastic support from our community partner, Majestic Cinemas and their manager, Courtney Gaunt. 

Which schools (and roughly how many students) are involved in Film by the Breakwall?

Hastings Valley Community of Schools (HVCS) comprises of Lake Cathie Public School, Westport Public School, Hastings Public School, Port Macquarie Public School, Tacking Point Public School, Telegraph Point Public School and Hastings Secondary College Westport and Port Macquarie Campus’. Students from Kindergarten to Year 11 have submitted films this year, and we have 25 short films in total. Just over 280 students were involved in acting, directing, storyboarding and editing from across all schools which is an amazing contribution for our first year of this inspiring event!

How will the film festival work? (e.g. will each school contribute a film, was everyone given a design brief/criterion to work with?)

All HVCS teachers were invited to participate, and interested teachers were provided with the learning required to produce a short film using ipads. Teachers then went back to their classrooms and embedded filmmaking into learning programs. There was no design brief or theme for this year’s event because we wanted to give creative control to teachers and students so they could explore the technology and storyboarding for film development and not be confined to having to incorporate certain things. Films are submitted to our committee to ensure they stick to 3:30min and have a G rating before they are converted to files that can be viewed on the cinema screen. Our teachers and students have included storylines that incorporate green screen technology, stop-motion animation and special effects!

How many films will be presented at the festival ... and what are some of the topics they address?

Twenty-five short films have been produced and even though we had no theme, some seem to incorporate two things students find most important; food and friends! Teachers feature in some films, but mostly, students have taken on all acting roles. Adventure features heavily, but there is also a little bit of mischief thrown in! 

When/where will Film by the Breakwall be shown?

Film By The Breakwall will screen on Wednesday 8th May, with a second screening on Thursday 9th May at Majestic Cinemas. Both nights sold out in the first two days of ticket sales, so we are holding an encore screening on Wednesday 15th May. All nights kick off at 5:45 pm on the red carpet with students and teachers encouraged to come along in their best Hollywood Glam costumes. The movies will start at 6.00 pm.

Whom would you like to thank for assisting with the film festival?

This event could not have happened without the fantastic students we have in our HVCS! Not only are they talented future film stars, but they are continually enthusiastic about opportunities in the Creative & Performing Arts. And behind every wonderful student is an equally wonderful support network of teachers and parents. The commitment and dedication from them have contributed to its success. Our community partner, Majestic Cinemas, have been supportive throughout our planning stages and we are fortunate to have them on board. I would also like to thank Glen Carter and Karen Beutler, Film By CEO and Professional Learning Officer, for providing us with the opportunity to establish our own film community.

See you on the red carpet!