Working with filmmaker Hal Branson and parkourist Craig Cheel from Apeuro, myself and ten Year 5 Students from Hotspur Primary School in Heaton embarked on an ambitious project to create a short film inspired by Melanie Manchot's 'Tracer' in three days...
After an introduction to parkour by Craig, the group
learnt a series of vaults and jumps in the school gym that they would later use
as part of the film sequences. Then it was onto brainstorming ideas for a
story. We were keen to explore the idea of the children interacting with their
environment, travelling through their immediate surroundings…on a journey or
even a quest! Initial ideas were a little ambitious with themes of superheroes as
well as the school becoming a setting for a disaster type movie!! Then we hit
upon an idea of something being transferred between the children on this
journey through the school…a lost glove in the playground became the story!
Hal then introduced the children to some basic
film making techniques - establishing shots, mid shots, close up's, how to pan
the camera and then the children shot a short sequence in the gym of themselves
using their new parkour moves.
Once we had planned the sequence of film shots
deciding on how the lost glove was going to travel through the school and who out
of the group were going to be acting out the parkour scenes it was onto the
Working as a team the children all had a chance
to be behind the camera - deciding amongst themselves who would be director,
cameraman and sound engineer. They would be expected to line up and frame the
shot and think about how the story would unfold and the shots that would be
needed for the film to flow from one scene to the next. They also needed to
instruct the actors as to what they needed to do in each scene.
Miriam, Brigitte, Asha and Jay were our parkour
actors and were put through their paces with a series of moves that had been
developed and overseen by Craig throughout filming. They all executed their
At the end of filming the group then worked with myself
and Hal to create an artwork inspired by their film. Using sticky backed
plastic, scissors and a very large piece of paper the group produced a series
of collages that depicted the film through each scene. They were asked to 'draw
with scissors' and produced a dynamic frieze of their three days.
Below is the project in snapshots - phew...quite
After a brief introduction to the project the Year 5 pupils are
quickly into their warm up session with Craig and Mike from Apeuro Freerunning:
First up - SPEED VAULTS!!!!
Jay practicing his standing jumps…feet together….
swing the arms…bend the knees….two footed landings please!
Jimmi nailing his jump:
Craig running through the parkour sequences with
The group working through the storyboard with
Hal…deciding on the different camera shots for their short film:
Day 2: our first day of shooting
"Quiet on set" "Camera rolling?"..."Camera
rolling" "Sound good?"…."Yep" "ACTION!"
Miriam in action with her
first sequence of free running!
Asha vaulting the bench with the special red
We can't wait to share the final edit with you; in the mean time check out our project photos over on Facebook.