School make their own big screen creation

First published in Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

FILM buffs from a Dorchester school have come up with their own big screen creation.

The Manor Park First School Film Club meets regularly to watch and review movies after school and they have now put what they have learned into practice with a production of their own.

With support from national charity Into Film, the group of 30 eight and nine-year-olds have created a five-minute drama called The Stone. They were given expert guidance on the project by filmmakers Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet from arts organisation ScreenPLAY.

The film was premiered at the Film Club’s end of year celebration and is now being shown on the big screen in Dorchester’s Brewery Square during the school holidays.

It was shot entirely in the school ground and the story centres around the discovery of a mysterious stone in the woods.

Filmmaker Sharon said: “Because we only had a few days with the group, we focussed on the actors’ movement rather than dialog. They have created some wonderful dramatic tension and beautiful movement.”

Cameraman Anna, aged nine, said: “It was fun filming from different angles. Once I had to climb a tree to use a handheld camera.”

Fellow Film Club member Susie, also nine, said: “We all did a drama warm-up and then decided who was going to be an actor and who was going to do the filming.”

Archie, nine, added: “We wanted to make it feel like we were on a journey through the forest – and were all a bit scared.”

Mary, nine, said: “I was one of the actors. It was epic.”

Grace, also nine, added: “The film made me feel like a proper movie star. The story is about a strange stone – if you touch it you go to crazy land”

The Stone is being streamed online at and is being entered into the Into Film national festival this autumn.

Manor Park headteacher Melanie Cridland said the children had gained a huge amount from the experience.

She said: “It’s been about developing communication and team work, as well as learning to use the equipment and creating the movement and the drama.”

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