The Art of Storytelling with Film

It was just a short trip to the print shop. Normally, I prefer silence to the radio, but this time I punched a button for an NPR station. My attention was immediately caught by the voice of a highly articulate woman who spoke with great intelligence and passion about a project that was bringing life and meaning, curiosity and richness to the lives of children.

Beeban Kidron, a British film director, together with Lindsey Mackie birthed the education charity (British term for a foundation) FILMCLUB, which is one of the largest and most influential after-school clubs in the United Kingdom, attracting over 160,000 children and young people each week. It is devoted to the art of storytelling through film.

When I arrived at my destination, the program was not yet finished. I turn off the engine and sat in the parking lot enthralled by what I heard Ms. Kidron suggesting, how film could fill the void left by the waning act of generational storytelling. She was calling for even more than that, something that also offered a communality of experience, and so she’d created it, FILMCLUB, where children as young as five years of age to those eighteen years old view films of their choosing from a selection of curated films, then discuss, review, and come alive to what it feels like to be curious, involved, and excited again, as they find out that there is much they do care about. Ms. Kidron’s program addresses the ironies that today’s youth live among:

“[Young people] are negotiating a world with infinite choice, but little culture of how to find meaningful experience.”

“The irony is palpable – technical access has never been greater, cultural access never weaker.


The results, from twenty-five initial clubs in 2006, were a thousand schools wanting to join at the end of the pilot. Presently, there are seven thousand clubs representing over a quarter million children. School work has improved, love of learning is blossoming, and the ability to relate to one another, parents, teachers, and life in general has advanced markedly among the participants, to mention but a few of the benefits.

If you’ve ever doubted that significant change is possible, and that it is always an individual that initiates it, treat yourself to thirteen minutes of wonder and dreams of the world we could offer our children with such a simple program in this video where Beeban tells her story.


Christina Carson is author of Suffer the Little Children.

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