On Tuesday and Wednesday, 26 and 27 January, the online regional seminar of film education in South Eastern Europe Next Steps in Film Education was attended by more than a hundred representatives of the key institutions for film education development from the entire region and the broader area – cinemas, distributers, film and cultural associations, national agencies and ministries, educational institutions and independent film education practitioners.
At the seminar, they focused on the search for the conditions and models that ensure the quality, sustainability and wide accessibility of film education. Case studies were presented by organisations that, with their innovative approaches, have managed to continue their programmes during the shutdown or limited operation of cinemas and other cultural and educational institutions.
The seminar’s main emphasis
The analysis of individual practices and the broader environment showed that the region has a number of film education programmes of exceptional quality, good expert knowledge and partnerships between different sectors. Due to the lack of national strategies and stable funding sources, these potentials have difficulty developing into long-lasting models with a national or even broader regional reach.
The seminar raised the question about what the field gains by using various online platforms, where numerous organisations moved their content during the pandemic. The seminar participants agreed that online platforms cannot replace the comprehensive film experience in a cinema, which, in the future, will have to be adapted to the changed needs of the audience and shaped as an attractive social event. On the other hand, online platforms do bring new possibilities of content provision and importantly contribute to a broader reach and a greater inclusion of children and young people. Free content for children and young people plays an important role here, but it is economically viable only with the support of pubic and/or private funds.
A great challenge is also the accessibility of quality film titles, since the pandemic has impacted not only film production, but also film distribution. What is crucial for the future development of film education is therefore to design sustainable business models that will ensure a stable operation of all the key actors and a coordinated strategic cooperation between all members of the film chain.
A quality film education depends on people, which is why we have to ensure constant education and training of both film educators in the field of cinema and pedagogical professionals in the education sector. By connecting both sectors – the cultural and the educational – we can reach the largest share of children and young people. A special emphasis was put on the need to conduct studies and research on the changing trends and viewing habits.
Partnerships that enable the exchange of knowledge, content and tools significantly contribute to the development of the field towards greater quality and sustainability. Weaving a regional network can thus provide a strong support for individual actors in their work at the local and national levels and strengthen the strategic power that the region has in the field of film education at the international level.
The future of film education in the region will thus be marked especially by searching for innovative approaches that will employ the synergy of the physical and the digital space in order to strengthen the connections between films, cinemas and young audiences and ensure a stable development of the field within individual countries and the broader region.
Recording of morning presentations with discussions
Written report with the whole summary
The whole report is available here.