Shorts in Schools kit

The Show Me Shorts in Schools kit has been developed by practising New Zealand teachers, in line with the New Zealand Curriculum. It includes nine short films plus a series of teaching exercises related to each film.

It’s a simple and easy to use resource for teachers and parents. The kit provides an educational framework through which to explore a selection of New Zealand short films and the wider themes they address.

The lessons in the kit integrate themes, character, narrative, literacy, thinking skills and key competencies – reflecting the goals of the New Zealand Curriculum. For each film, there are four lessons which should each take 30–45 minutes to lead children through. We recommend that you choose one short film to focus on each week, and do one lesson each day. Throughout the week the students will view the film several times, using a different focus each lesson to help them to understand different aspects of the short film.

Although this kit is designed as a tool for intermediate and upper primary teachers (most suitable for use with children aged 8-12 years), it will also be useful to home schooling parents and teachers at other levels.

Learn how to teach with this kit here. Watch a trailer for the kit here. Or dive straight in!

Short Films

1. The Six Dollar Fifty Man

This award-winning short film directed by Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland is set in New Zealand in the 1970s. It tells the story of Andy, a gutsy eight-year-old boy who lives in a make-believe world where his imagination allows him to perform superhero physical feats. School is a pretty tough place for Andy, with playground bullies and even his teacher giving him a hard time. When Andy gets sent to the headmaster, he realises that to save himself and his only friend Mary, he must face up to the real world.

2. Noise Control

This film is a ‘documation’ – a documentary and animated story told concurrently. It is based on a true story, and set on the Kapiti Coast in 2001. A rooster is adopted by a local kindergarten, helping to teach the children about empathy. The rooster is upsetting the neighbours with his early-morning crowing so noise control is called in, and the rooster pays the price for keeping the neighbours awake. Cleverly told through interviews, news clips, live action and animation, this story by writer/director Phill Simmonds is about what happens to a rooster that is too loud.

3. I’m Going to Mum’s

Jacob is eight years old and his parents dress him funny. This entertaining drama written and directed by Lauren Jackson is about a boy being pulled in different directions by his recently separated parents. It’s not easy dividing his time between Mum and Dad each week. Stuck in the middle of a fresh divorce, Jacob takes drastic fashion action to make himself heard.

4. Abiogenesis

Enter the world of this breathtaking animated science fiction story directed by Richard Mans. A strange mechanical device lands on a desolate world and uses the planet to undergo a startling transformation, which has profound implications for an entire galaxy.

5. Just Like the Others

A touching short film made by New Zealand filmmaker Jackie van Beek while she was living in England. Calvin lives with his mum, grandma and two little brothers in a housing estate in central London. He wants to fit in with the other kids on the estate, but he can’t afford an iPod. With the help of his family, he has to find a way to make his own music.

6. Day Trip

A warm-hearted drama directed by Zoe McIntosh about a gang member who wakes up one morning and decides he needs a day off. Inspired by a newspaper advertisement, he impulsively decides to take a short ferry trip between two islands. With his tattooed face, black leather clothing and prominent gang patch, the gangster is a fish out of water when he arrives in the small, idyllic port town of Picton. The experience he has there changes his outlook on life.

7. One Shoe Short

Rodney, an Aboriginal boy living in Alice Springs, Australia, wants to go to school, but can’t find his shoes. Without shoes he’s not allowed in the classroom. His friend Jesse helps as best he can. This film tells an amusing tale of mischief and friendship, written and directed by Jackie van Beek, a New Zealander who was living and working in Australia at the time.

8. Koro’s Medal

A daring tale of adventure and imagination directed by James Barr. While hiding from his older brother Tama, Billy chases his grandfather’s precious war medal through a crack in their apartment floorboard into the bookshop below. At first, Billy’s mission is simply to get down to the bookshop to retrieve Koro’s medal, but when two hapless thugs come across it while stealing rare books, Billy is forced to take matters into his own hands.

9. Mokopuna

Writer/director Ainsley Gardiner weaves this story about Mary and Sam. Mary lives in middle-class suburban New Zealand. After befriending a Māori boy at her school, Mary becomes curious about Sam’s culture and its relevance to her. Mary has a Māori father and Pākehā mother, while Sam lives with his Māori nan. Mary is intrigued by Sam and his culture, and by beginning to enquire about him, she begins to ask questions about herself. But when Sam turns his curiosity onto her, it soon becomes clear that Mary is not quite ready to embrace her own roots.

This kit was written primarily by Richard George (Principal of Parnell District School) and Dr Emma Blomkamp with support from the Show Me Shorts whanau. If you enjoyed this resource and can afford it please consider making a donation to Show Me Shorts Film Festival Trust.

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