Officials in Argentina want to create a new generation of film geeks. Variety reports that the nation has added cinema studies to its elementary school curriculum—an educational measure that, until now, had only been passed in France.
The program is called Schools Go To the Cinema, and is intended to increase general cinema audiences and cultivate a national appreciation for Argentine film. It’s part of an agreement signed last winter by France’s National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC), the French Institute, and Argentina’s INCAA Film Institute.
The deal was finalized during French president François Hollande’s visit to Argentina in February. In June, experts from France traveled to Buenos Aires, where they participated in a four-day workshop with Argentine officials to adapt France’s elementary school program, Collège au Cinéma, for Argentina's schools.
Collège au Cinéma organizes film screenings for students in third through sixth grades and provides them with relevant coursework. Schools Go to the Cinema—which, so far, has been launched in seven of Argentina’s 24 provinces—is very similar. Elementary school kids are taken to theaters to view Argentine movies, and they take classes that teach them how to critically analyze the medium.
Officials plan to share their early findings with the Schools Go to the Cinema program at Ventana Sur, an annual Latin American film market created by INCAA, to be held from November 29 through December 3. From there, they’ll decide how to expand the educational initiative in 2017.
To get teenagers interested in Argentine film, INCAA has brainstormed a different strategy: They’ve announced a competition in which adolescents ages 13 to 18 can submit proposals suggesting how to convince their peers to go to the movies. It’s called “Que Necesita el Cine Argentino Para Que Chicos como Vos Lo Vean?” which roughly translates to “What Does Argentine Cinema Need to Do So That Kids Like You Would Watch It?” A jury has selected seven finalists, who will be announced next month.
Officials hope that Schools Go to the Cinema will eventually become state policy. Looking at France—which, as Variety points out, launched its own film studies program in schools in 1989 and now has one of the largest domestic shares of any of Europe’s national cinemas—it’s easy to see why Argentina wants to teach its future generations to love and appreciate the silver screen.
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