Students go to school in the mornings, make a film in the afternoons
This morning, a colleague drew my attention to an interesting report (5:34) that aired on TV1 news last night (Monday 23 January). It was about a group of five New Zealand students at Hamilton Boys High School (Juan Robertson, Robin Kuyper, Nathaniel Watson, David Robinson and Simon Lillis) who attended school for just three hours a day last year so they could devote their afternoons to completing a short film. They recently uploaded the finished 16 minute result to YouTube (embedded below), and promoted it through a website about the making of the film, a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed (follow @PluealFilms).
According to their promotional website, the film is “[s]et in a futuristic, dystopian society where everyone is forced to be equal, the short follows one man as he attempts to go beyond the heavily enforced restrictions of such a world”. Citizens of this near-future society are constrained by the “2014 Uniformity Act, section #A7”, which states, in part, that
“…attempting, in any manner, to educate one’s self or others in any concepts not outlined in s.A2 (‘Equality of Individuals and Accepted Levels of Ability’) is prohibited…”
Clearly, these students didn’t wanted to be limited by what they could learn through formal education alone. As the TV1 reporter noted: “the boys decide that school was getting in the way”. So, working at home, they set about teaching themselves what they needed to know in order to achieve what they wanted to do. As the director, Juan Robertson (17) said, “I’m creating things, I’m doing what I enjoy, and I’m learning a lot”. Fortunately, they had the support of their parents and progressive teachers, who accommodated the students so that they could combine formal and informal education. Their abilities were recognized, and they were not limited by normal expectations and “accepted levels of ability”. The film is an amazing accomplishment. Oh, and their high school results were excellent, too.