Get 'em young: How to grow your own film buff


As the programmer of his school’s film club and founder of The First International Meanwood Film Festival in Leeds, 15-year-old Joe has accumulated film programming experience beyond his tender years.  Want to inspire a young mind with the power of cinema? Let Joe tell you how:

Slapstick works, whatever the context

“The General is my favourite Buster Keaton film and I’ve trialled it on my sister who’s nine. I reckon a five-year-old would find the physical comedy funny and as it’s silent, there’s not a lot of dialogue that you can slip up on.”

Wow them with spectacle

“We watched a Werner Herzog film called Fitzcarraldo at school. People were a bit like “Urlgh! Not something German that’s old as well!”, but when they sat down and watched it, they were amazed by the sheer grandeur of how the whole ship got pulled up the hill.”

Bribe them with snacks

“Always have popcorn and just get the room as cinematic as you can, really. We made big blackout blinds out of paper [for the classroom] – if you make it a bit dark, it’s more exciting.”

Beware short attention spans

“If they go, ‘Oh I can’t sit through a film that’s two hours’, I show them a short film, first and say ‘Give it a go, it’s only five minutes and if you like it then there’s  a feature by the same director or maybe other shorts with the same theme’. That’s a really good way of getting people involved.”