EDUCATION: Learn Everywhere

‘Change the way you see the world’ with the swipe of a library card, click of a mouse, rip of a movie ticket…

(Photo: Creative Commons)

In a previous post, I discussed the values of education through world cinema, specifically among high school students. But we all know that education really extends beyond school and teachers and students (and books and homework, for that matter), and influences us every day of our lives, regardless of whether we’re enrolled in a formal educational institution. Learning takes place anywhere and everywhere, all the time, and even more so among viewers of Global Lens films.

Take, for example, when a patron enters the Hartford Public Library, seeking to learn about war and its influence on the people living in Iraq. The obvious choice would be to find a book or encyclopedia on the topic, but now that the library is one of several in our Global Public program, anyone can use their library card to check out Global Lens 2012 film QARANTINA (dir. Oday Rasheed, Iraq) for a visceral case-study of a family living in Iraq. The film even shows you the point of view of a military tank as it rolls through the streets of Baghdad…

Learning also occurs at film festivals (like the Seattle International Film Festival) and film centers (like the Gene Siskel Film Center) where attendees caught screenings of Global Lens 2012 film MOURNING (dir. Morteza Farshbaf, 2011). Not only did audience members attend to enjoy a superb film, but they were also able to participate in a group discussion!

Sometimes, though, learning doesn’t just occur among festival audiences; organizing Global Lens screenings can be a learning experience in itself, as it was with the inaugural Zendegi Film Festival. For Cathlene Stubbs, founder of the festival, part of her experience was discovering a distributor of independent films from the Middle East and North Africa. “Without [GFI], it would have been much more difficult for me to access the kind of films that fit the focus of the Zendegi project–films that inspire, films full of grace,” she says. (Zendegi played Global Lens 2010 film MASQUERADES (dir. Lyes Salem, Algeria), and Cathlene tells us it was a great hit!)

Museums, like the Museum of Modern Art, are natural hosts of education. Here, too, Global Lens films are available for viewing by patrons–ranging from school children to more seasoned museum-goers—through various exhibitions and special presentations. Choose to see one or all Global Lens films featured in the newly-announced Global Lens 2013 film series at MoMA (screening January 10-25, 2013!), the New Latin American Cinema film series at MFA Boston or the New Cinema From the Middle East series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art!

High school students of United World College-USA eat snacks while at their International Education Week Screening of Global Lens film THE KITE (dir. Randa Chahal Sabbag, Lebanon)! (Photo: John Sheedy)

For those who prefer to stay in or who are too far from the nearest Global Lens film screenings, DVDs (equipped with film discussion guides) and online streaming via Hulu and Fandor are the perfect ways to screen Global Lens films from the comfort of your own home. Who says you can’t learn while couch-surfing?

Of course, when it comes to learning via Global Lens, nothing beats the good ol’ traditional classroom. High school students of United World College, USA (Montezuma, NM) hosted a film screening and post-screening discussion of Global Lens 2008 film THE KITE (dir. Randa Chahal Sabbag, Lebanon) during our recent International Education Week celebration and screening program, and according to teacher John Sheedy, “All were in agreement that watching these types of films is very important in these times of conflict between nations to instigate discussion and to search for solutions.”

Examples like these are boundless, so take your pick! There’s so much to learn and so much to see in this great, big world of ours, and GFI has done wonders to help film audiences–both within and away from the classroom—to access and take advantage of invaluable opportunities for learning about the world via film. Take initiative, and view a Global Lens film today for your next learning adventure!

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