Studies on Screen: Community-Based Resources for Film Studies

Studies on Screen: Community-Based Resources for Film Studies

Throughout the year, those interested in the art and technique of film-making can support their interests through intergenerational community-based educational resources and events, including libraries, online resources, local non-profit organizations, independent cinemas, and annual events catering to a variety of ages and interests. All community-based educational opportunities encourage appreciation of the creative process behind the making of films and the use of film to support learning.   


Libraries often host free film screenings open to the public. Check with your local and nearby town libraries for community screenings and peruse their films available for checking out to self-screen at home. Supplement community screenings with this series of lesson guides to teach teens about the art and science of motion picture produced by the Academy Motion Picture Arts and Science. Guide topics include animation, art direction, costume design & makeup, screenwriting, documentaries, film editing, screenwriting, sound & music, visual effects


In addition to this upcoming series, film lovers can take advantage of one (or both!) of two different community-based resources that support learning about film production. In the Hilltowns, Red Gate Farm’s Film Club in Buckland brings film appreciation to the northern hilltowns via monthly events which bring together community members of all ages in appreciation of film watching, film discussing, and even film making.  In the Pioneer Valley, Northampton Community Television (NCTV) offers Focus Locus, a monthly series of independent work, locally produced films, video open mics, and film-based discussions. Focus Locus caters to self-directed teens and adults, offering a platform for film-based community-building through screenings and classes.


Further film studies can be done year-round at locally run cinemas and opportunities. In the Pioneer Valley, Amherst Cinema offers films, performances, and film-based educational events. Families in the northern Berkshires can look to Images Cinema to learn about the art of the big screen, while film buffs in the southern Berkshires can find both blockbuster films and community events at Great Barrington’s TriplexAnd at Shelburne Falls Memorial Hall there’s Pothole Picture, “an all-volunteer-run, non-profit, community movie house and we’ve been showing the best in classic, foreign, and independent films on the BIG screen…” Check their web site for special events and screenings.


Annual events to look to include the Ashfield Film Festival (September), and new this year is the Greenfield Community Television’s (GCT) first annual film competition, Lights! Camera! Greenfield! (LCG).

LCG is a two-week film competition starting at the October 17, 2019 Kick-Off meeting and ending on October 31, 2019, followed by a public screening of the submitted films scheduled for November 6, 2019. Each team will start by selecting randomized prompts that must be incorporated into their five-minute-or-less movies. All movies must be submitted by 11:59 pm on October 31, 2019. Once all of the films are submitted, judging will commence, and awards will be announced at the public screening.

GCTV developed LCG as a way for people of all ages and experience to create something exciting. Whether each participant is a professional or it’s their first time picking up a camera, they will be able to produce a movie from start to finish. GCTV staff will be available to train and provide guidance for anyone seeking production support, as well as provide equipment on a first-come, first-served basis.

Beyond the selected prompts, each team will have free range to make a movie in any genre or style. Non-fiction is even encouraged! The prompts are based on Greenfield landmarks, street art, and historical markers/sites as an encouragement to get out and explore Greenfield.

LCG is open to anyone in Western Massachusetts. It is all-ages, but a parent must be present for a minor to borrow equipment. Pre-registration can be done at, and teams can register at the Kick-Off meeting. Further instructions, submission details, and instructions will be explained at the Kick-Off meeting.  Contact Ian Hamilton 413-774-4288

[Photo credit: (cc) Pedro Ribeiro Simões; (cc) Christian

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