Irish Film Institute -FAQ


Why a short course in Film?

How is the course broken up?

Who has developed the course?

Who has delivered the short course?

Do the strands and outcomes have to be taught in the correct order?


Q: Why a short course in Film

Film is an exciting, engaging and accessible art form in which young people are already invested. They are familiar with the language of film and media and use visual communication in their everyday lives. This course builds upon students’ existing knowledge and aims to develop skills that will further their criticality, understanding and creative use of the medium.

Q: How is the course broken up?

The course is broken up into three strands, Exploring (Strand 1), Creating (Strand 2), and Sharing (Strands 1a and 2a).  It comprises 100 hours of class time.

Q: Who has developed the course?

IFI has teamed up with FÍS Film Project and Fresh Film Festival to develop this course, bringing our respective expertise to the different strands.

Q: Who has delivered the short course?

IFI piloted elements of the course with a number of teachers; a report on the pilot will follow shortly.

Q: Do the strands and outcomes have to be taught in the correct order?

Yes. We see film education as a continuum, so students’ learning in Strand 1 will inform their work in Strand 2.

Strand 1 – Exploring

Q: Which films can I show for Strand 1?

The choice of films is left up to the teacher but it should include content addressing certain learning outcomes such as examples of Irish film, World cinema. Strand 1 is designed to allow time for a number of feature films to be screened (we recommend a minimum of three features), as well as scenes, trailers, and short films. A list of suggested films will be available on our website and regularly updated.

Q: How do I access films?

Films can be accessed in any number of ways including DVDs, Blu-rays, and online streaming services. The IFI Film Shop are on hand with a wide selection of DVDs and Blu-rays for purchase. There are a number of Irish short films which are accessible through the IFI Archive Player and the Irish Film Board. We recommend that teachers preview all content before classroom viewing.

Q: Are there any rules about screening films in classroom?

Normally, a school requires a public license to screen films, this includes film clubs and other recreational film screenings. However, films being screened as part of school curricula, such as the Short Course in Film, are exempt. For more information about licenses visit

Q: What is ‘film language’?

Film language refers to the elements of film such as Camera, Sound, Lighting, Mise-en-Scène (which can be further delineated to include set, costume, makeup) and Performance. (See resources for Glossary).

Q: Are there any resources I can use to get started?

IFI has developed a series of worksheet resources for students to use as they go through Strand 1. Included in these resources are a list of Learning Goals – to give students an idea of what they can aim for, and to frame any later reflections on the part of the student.

Strand 2 – Creating

Q: I’ve never made a film with a group before, how do I get started?

Making a film is great fun! Students learn new technical skills but it also helps to develop communication skills, team working, self-awareness and self-esteem skills which are recognised skills of Junior Cycle.  As film making is a collaborative effort, the teacher can balance the competences within each group, playing to the strengths of each learner (drawing, filming, photography, writing, planning, technical, creative, etc.) Everyone can be part of the process.

Q: Can students start making a film immediately?

Once the idea of making a film is suggested to students the tendency is to jump into the process. However, students are required to complete Strand 1 first. By progressing through this strand, students will have opportunities to explore different aspects of film and develop skills and ideas which they can apply to their filmmaking in Strand 2.

Q: What sort of technology do I need?

Most schools / students have access to mobile devices (tablets, smart phones) with built in cameras powerful enough to record decent images with ease. Whether you decide to use a smart device or a digital video recorder, it is worthwhile investing in a tripod and an external mic compatible with your chosen device. They are inexpensive items that will improve the quality of moving image and audio recorded, leaving less work to do at the post-production stage.

Q: Are there any pitfalls to guard against?

Yes, as follows:

  • Make sure to back up any footage or audio recorded by saving a copy to a hard drive or other safe place in case you lose the original.
  • Be sure to save / export your final cut as an .mp4 or .mov as these are the most widely used / accepted formats for screening.
  • Allow plenty of time for editing – as this is the one task that is always under-estimated in terms of time allocation. This can be difficult to determine as it depends on how much has been recorded. As the crew record moving image and audio takes it is advised to mark / note the ‘takes’ that the crew are happiest with so that they can be easily identified as the ones which require least editing at the post-production stage of the process.



Q: What does the assessment involve?

The assessment of this short course takes place in Strand 2a ‘Sharing’. It consists of group presentations of students’ finished films. When presenting their film, students explain the development of their ideas and creative choices. Each students also submits a reflection note on their contribution to the group project and their experience of the whole course, as well as a piece from Strand 1 selected from their Film Notebook.

Q: What purpose does the Film Notebook serve?

Each student keeps a Film Notebook throughout the course which allows them to document their ideas, inspiration, and learning as they journey through each strand. The Notebook is a place where they can record their work but also their own reflections and research into films they view. It is also where they can develop their own ideas for their film in Strand 2. It can include reviews, images, script extracts, photographs, sketches, and other forms of creative expression and engagement with film.

Q: The course sounds great, what do I do next?

Contact IFI Education Officer, Richard Fallon, at with any queries, or to let us know how you’re getting on.

The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland