International study reveals benefits of informal film education in Lithuanian schools


The Lithuanian film center has been implementing educational project “Film clubs” for more than 2 years in 150 schools from 40 cities and towns all over Lithuania. This education is part of “European film clubs and schools licensing” program which is being implemented together with a UK film education organisation called „Film Literacy Europe”. For short time this project happened in Latvia and Georgia.

The study, which was completed by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona showed that informal education which adds up to the formal one is not only interesting but also useful for students’ education. Films as a source of ideas and information can help to interpret, reveal and explain topics from various disciplines.

How do these clubs work?

Schools create film clubs which organize film screenings once a week after lessons or according to schools’ and teachers’ availability. The films that are being shown are part of the special catalogue of selected films, after films are watched, students have discussions. The film catalogue is a collection of European films, one third of them are Lithuanian films, such classics as „Gražuolė“ (director A. Žebriūnas, 1969), „Skrydis per Atlantą“ (director R. Vabalas, 1983), „Vaikai iš „Amerikos“ viešbučio“ (director R. Banionis, 1990), „Velnio nuotaka“ (director A. Žebriūnas, 1974) and many others.

Teachers can select through the official website which movies they want to legally show to their students. Using the context and inspiration from the movies, students analyze and discuss topics which they learn in different classes. This exercise also develops critical thinking and emotional intelligence.

There are more than 150 schools from 40 towns which participate in the project on an irregular basis. Initiative of schools and their communities determined that altogether more than 3000 screenings have happened since the beginning of the project. Usually schools in different countries participate in this project for only a year, but it did not stop and continues to grow here in Lithuania.

Positive results of comparative study

Over 8,000 young people in Georgia, Lithuania and Latvia participated in this pilot film club programme which involved meeting regularly to watch, discuss and learn through and about film from a curated catalogue of European, classic, national, international and heritage titles. The three pilots were organised by the Lithuanian Film Centre, the Georgian National Film Center and the National Film Centre of Latvia in partnership with Film Literacy Europe. The pilots were supported by the ministries of education and culture in each territory and funded by Creative Europe MEDIA.

The UAB research now builds a highly compelling picture of the power of film literacy to develop key skills and support learning and audience development adding to the UK experience. In Romania, Spain, Lithuania & Georgia captured interesting feedback from teachers about student’s benefits of participation in film clubs showing that it increases children’s:

  • critical thinking – 77% of teachers in Lithuania, 73% in Latvia and 69% Georgia, 97% Romania, 85% Spain (it was 81% UK)

  • communications skills – 40% Lithuania, 72% Latvia and 62% Georgia

The research also shows that participation in film clubs led to children:

  • watching more films at home – 77% Lithuania, 58% Latvia, 69% Georgia, 57% Spain and 71% Romania (86% UK)

  • going to the cinema more often – 71% Lithuania, 46% Latvia, 84% Georgia, 33% Spain, 17% Romania (14% UK)

The 2018 research captured feedback from students in Lithuania & Georgia who say being involved in their film club has helped them with:

  • national language & literature studies – 80% of students in Lithuania, 74% Georgia (75% UK)

  • history studies –  86% Lithuania, 82% Georgia (44% UK)

  • foreign language studies – 79% Lithuania, 62% Georgia (UK 29%)

  • civic education and ethics – 77% Lithuania, 85% Georgia (UK 24%)

“I think positively of the film club activities. I am very grateful, because my students that used to be noted for extremely low motivation have joined the activity with great enthusiasm, which improved their achievements in Lithuanian classes” – said teacher from Lithuania.

“It is a very meaningful activity. The films are exciting and have high educational value. The film club boosts creativity, shapes capability to discuss and express an opinion, and helps develop social skills” – this can be concluded from the most answers of the respondents which have participated in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona study.

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