IFC Introduces National Public Affairs Initiative

IFC’s Film School Integrates Filmmaking Techniques into High School English Literature Classes to Engage Students and Provide Tools for Increased Media Literacy

Free Curriculum Developed to Meet Standards of National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and International Reading Association (IRA)


New York, NY, November 14, 2005 – The Independent Film Channel (IFC) announced today the launch of its groundbreaking, standards-based education public affairs initiative, IFC’s Film School, a free resource that uses the excitement of filmmaking to engage high school students in their English Literature classes. Developed to meet the standards of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association, IFC’s Film School provides the tools to get students energized about classroom activities while simultaneously accomplishing core educational goals.

Film School was designed and developed by IFC and Topics Education, an education outreach consulting firm, with input from representatives of several education and youth media organizations, including The National Council of Teachers of English, Media Rights, the American Film Institute and Listen Up. IFC’s Film School Curriculum is a unique series of curricular units that tie film, film critique and film production directly to existing English classroom requirements and national English/Language Arts standards developed by NCTE and IRA and national technology standards developed by ISTE.

IFC’s public affairs initiative is a grassroots extension of the network’s Film School, a 2004 docu-drama reality series from acclaimed filmmaker Nanette Burstein in which New York University film students compete for a coveted filmmaking award that could lead to the launch of a high-profile directing career. IFC’s Film School was designed to reach the next generation of filmmakers at an even earlier age – in high school – to provide them with an opportunity to explore the art of cinema, supported by an array of classroom materials and online tutorials provided by the network.

“Our increasingly digital world demands the integration of traditional forms of learning with new methods and techniques,” said Evan Shapiro, IFC’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “With limited resources, teachers seek new tools to reach students and ignite a passion for learning. We believe Film School will address those needs and interests and open new and exciting horizons for students. At the same time, the Film School curriculum fulfills IFC’s core mission of supporting the voice of new, young artists. From text messaging, to blogs, to digital animation, the promise of new technology empowers the filmmakers of tomorrow.”

Phelps Sprinkle, president and CEO of Topics Education, said: “Creating original video as a part of studying literature is a fresh approach to traditional content. With Film School students can utilize new technologies in their learning and teachers don’t have to set the standard curriculum aside to engage students in rich learning experiences. We are thrilled to have worked with IFC to develop the Film School curriculum, as it is an exciting and dynamic multimedia teaching tool for educators and a wonderful opportunity for high school students.”

The initiative is the first of its kind from IFC and a symbol of the network’s standing as the leading brand for independent film and its mission to provide a voice to filmmakers of all levels. The objective of the curriculum is to not only give teachers additional ways to engage their students, but to provide students with the tools for increased media literacy. With this curriculum, students will learn various aspects of filmmaking – including screen writing, film production, and critique – through integrating film and video in the classroom. Upon the completion of the course, students are encouraged to create original works of their own.

Teachers and students can register at www.ifc.com/filmschool for Film School materials including:

  • Film School Curriculum Lessons Plans
  • Multimedia Film Glossary
  • Teacher Resources
  • Student Resources
  • On-line Expert Communities
  • Professional Development
  • Information about Screenings
  • Contest to Showcase Student Works

The interrelated elements that can be accessed online, free-of-charge, are designed to give innovative teachers all the tools they need to incorporate film study and video production into their high school English/Language Arts classrooms. Students being taught from this curriculum will watch relevant films while simultaneously learning about the art of filmmaking. Ultimately, students will be encouraged to make their own film interpretations of literature. In January 2006, IFC will announce a student film competition that invites students who have made films as a part of their participation in the film school curriculum to upload their films to ifc.com where they can be viewed and voted on by viewers nationwide. Top ranking films will be featured on IFC and distributed to local cable affiliates as VOD offerings.

In 2004, as an initial step toward developing the new initiative, IFC presented a scholarship grant of $1,000 to each of three students who participated in a summer filmmaking program run by the Ghetto Film School. The recipients now serve on the steering committee of Film School, joining educators and filmmakers in lending a voice to the development of the initiative. The Ghetto Film School, based in the Bronx, NY, is a not-for-profit facility whose mission is to provide the education, resources, technology and relationships young people need to make outstanding film, video and multimedia projects.

Cable affiliates will also benefit from IFC’s Film School in a number of ways: the public initiative can be adapted to MSO needs, regional events can offer marketing support to local affiliates, strategic brand awareness will be heightened for unaffiliated markets, and high-speed content and VOD offerings can be promoted.

As a sponsor of the 2005 NCTE Annual Convention, IFC is underwriting the Convention’s film festival, which takes place on Saturday, November 19. Between films, IFC will run promotional reels, introducing the various films in the festival and promoting IFC’s Film School to the attendees.

About IFC Television
The Independent Film Channel (IFC) is the first and most widely distributed network dedicated to independent film 24 hours a day, uncut and commercial free.

The Independent Film Channel is a part of IFC Companies, which has established itself as the future of independent film. With the television network, as well as a film distribution and production unit and a VOD service, IFC Companies has created over the course of the past decade a revolutionary end-to-end business model and brand that focuses on developing and nurturing talent and maximizing the value of independent film. IFC Companies uses its unique cross-platform position to broaden the audience of independent film and to provide independent filmmakers with a strong voice. IFC Companies is a division of Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC.

About Topics Education
Topics Education offers strategic planning and support services to organizations interested in understanding, supporting, and communicating with the world of education. The company designs and implements customized education outreach initiatives that drive learning in schools, homes and communities, thereby reinforcing brand identity and building goodwill for its clients. Topics Education offers a complete range of services, including market analysis, public affairs strategy, project architecture, partnership development, instructional design, creative services, marketing and outreach, and evaluation and measurement. Topics Education’s customer base includes Citigroup, The Weather Channel, the US Environmental Protection Agency, PBS, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Topics Education is headquartered in Charlotte, NC, and was founded in 1995.

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