Film >> Cinemagique: Movies go to school

Festival producer Isabelle Lambert and Teacher Jeanne Proust talk about the Cinemagique offered to the students: a diverse range of movies screened in their school. As explained in this interview, Cinemagique is an educational program, which turns to be a beautiful path to discover independent European cinema and a way to open wide young eyes and young brain to the world...


- e-Toile : Isabelle Lambert, how did this idea of presenting the film program Cinémagique to students come about?

  • Isabelle Lambert : It is from going to public high schools in Miami Dade County that I came to realize that European cinema was largely unknown to American and Latin American students. In addition, it has been my vision since the creation of the Red Chemistry Association Inc. to develop an educational program in schools with wide and varied programming of independent European cinema, with films and short films in order for students to acquire knowledge of Europe, its culture and its challenges.

- e-Toile : Isabelle, may you please remind our readers who you are and what Cinémagique means to you?

  • Isabelle Lambert : In 2006, I founded, along with fourteen "board members," Red Chemistry Inc. and became the programmer of this association (501c3) that began with the implementation of a European Romantic Film Festival in 2006-2011.

Afterwards, upon reflection, the board members believed that, among other things, a program tailored to the Alliance Française of Miami could attract a wide audience including youth that are ignorant of European customs or European students who do not have access at home to French films for children. Later came the idea of short film workshops that teachers could use as a tool for language, cultural, and philosophical education, etc...

Cinémagique was designed according to the needs of the audiovisual departments of two public schools (Miami Beach High School and Hialeah High School) and the French program with the first and final year students within Ischs Charter School, and a fruitful collaboration with Ms. Jeanne Proust, who helped think about a program approved by professors, featuring screenings of short films reflecting French culture that can also be used to help students better structure and progress in screenwriting.

Cinémagique has then logically been used as a film program by Jeanne to expand the vocabulary as well as the philosophical and cultural reflection of her students and to perhaps encourage vocation by hosting conferences for short testimonies of cinema professionals and interactions with students.

  • Jeanne Proust : In speaking with Isabella, I felt a common desire to to open culture to these students through a discipline hardly exploited in class, where they they could be affected, surprised, where I could give them an original approach to narrative- in parallel to literature.

- e-Toile : Jeanne Proust, Isabelle Lambert, what are the reactions of the young people who have been most affected?

  • Isabelle Lambert : There have been three who have marked my memory and reinforced the idea that today the short film is the ideal medium to convey culture and a message: the first was in a high school in Hialeah where I saw pupils raise their heads from their desks where they were falling asleep and watch with excitement, almost in tears, a short film about the life of immigrants in the suburbs of France or another short film about an unemployed German who inherited the talents of a clown he idolized and gave a show by playing a different character every day in the Berlin subway in order to kill time and forget his idleness.

The second is that of a girl who first characterized the films shown as "stupid" and could not concentrate on the exercises required after each screening. The following month she gave me a perfectly written script written by her own hands and showed she had built and managed to follow the instructions that I sent during two previous workshops while I thought her attention was lost in our program. The third is from applause after the screening of some films and the single voice of pupils of Jeanne asking "When is the next workshop to advance the construction of writing a screenplay?"

  • Jeanne Proust : Some students manifested incomprehension with some of the aspects the films presented, it was interesting to see how the students that were affected tried to communicate their emotions having to do with what they had seen. The confrontations that are revealed between different points of view are sometimes funny, sometimes deep- but they are always productive.

- e-Toile : Do you have any other joint projects in the field of cinema or elsewhere?

  • Isabelle Lambert :Yes, of course, with Jeanne, it became increasingly clear that we want to move forward with students to the furthest extent possible on films that are not only vehicles to convey culture but that open doors to questions from students that we try to answer through image and dialogue.

  • The ideal thing would be to integrate this program automatically in the French program for students in their first and in their final years in order to develop more in-depth education tools from the most attractive films chosen by Jeanne.

It would be interesting to proceed with organizing a film club in every school with a French program and organize general screenings open to the public either monthly or quarterly. Finally, to put in practice workshops where students could learn about writing synopsis and scenarios that would permit us, assuming that the location and means are in place, to proceed with the complete shooting of films written by Ischs’ students...

- e-Toile : Jeanne, as a professor at ISCH, how did you prepare your student presentations? Have you integrated thematic approach movies in your course?

  • Jeanne Proust : I did not want the students to prepare anything, I wanted them to have a complete, new and unexpected experience; it is afterwards that we took the time in class to go over questions on both the form and the contents of the films presented. Cinémagique was able to feed numerous debates on both the semantic scope of the films, the cinematic adaptations as such, and the specificities of the short film.

Article published January 22, 2013.

Last modified on 13/02/2013

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