Film by the Breakwall

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There are definitely some future film directors, actors, set designers, prop experts and script writers amongst our students from the Hastings Valley Community of Schools!

Karen Noble, Visual Arts and Photography and Digital Media teacher at Hastings Secondary College in Port Macquarie is proud to have worked with students, teachers and parents from eight local schools/campuses to produce a festival of short films, Film by the Breakwall, which will screen at the Majestic Cinemas in May. But … tickets to this event are selling FAST! Don’t miss your chance to experience our local kids’ creativity! 

Hi Karen. Please introduce yourself to our readers, and tell us a little about your role at Hastings Secondary College …

Hi! My name is Karen Noble, and I am the coordinator of the Film By The Breakwall short film festival. 

I have been a Visual Arts and Photography and Digital Media teacher at Hastings Secondary College Port Macquarie Campus for the past nine years and more recently, the relieving head of the Creative and Performing Arts Department.  

How was the concept for a Hastings Valley Community of Schools Film Festival conceived/developed?

I have been lucky enough to visit all Hastings Valley Community of Schools and work with students in Years 4 – 6 as a part of our transition to secondary school program. 

I am always inspired by the enthusiasm of both teachers and students when I deliver workshops in Creative and Performing Arts, so I started to look for opportunities that would engage students of all levels and abilities, as well as provide teachers with professional learning. 

This coincided with an email from The Arts Unit offering assistance in establishing film communities. Film By is an initiative that was established by two teachers in Sydney and provides students with an opportunity to develop their film making skills through programmed learning. Film communities have now been developed throughout NSW, including regional and remote areas, and teachers are provided with the professional development to create rich visual literacy learning outcomes in
programs for students in all stages of learning. 

When I suggested this to our network of teachers, it was met with nothing but enthusiasm – and here we are, about to walk the red carpet! 

We would not have got to this point without the fantastic support from our community partner, Majestic Cinemas and their manager, Courtney Gaunt.  

Which schools (and roughly how many students) are involved in Film by the Breakwall?

Hastings Valley Community of Schools (HVCS) comprises Lake Cathie Public School, Westport Public School, Hastings Public School, Port Macquarie Public School, Tacking Point Public School, Telegraph Point Public School and Hastings Secondary College Westport and Port Macquarie Campuses. 

Students from Kindergarten to Year 11 have submitted films this year, and we have 25 short films in total. Just over 280 students were involved in acting, directing, storyboarding and editing from across all schools, which is an amazing contribution for our first year of this inspiring event!

How will the film festival work? Will each school contribute a film, and was everyone given a design brief?

All HVCS teachers were invited to participate, and interested teachers were provided with the learning required to produce a short film using iPads. Teachers then went back to their classrooms and embedded filmmaking into learning programs. 

There was no design brief or theme for this year’s event, because we wanted to give creative control to teachers and students, so they could explore the technology and storyboarding for film development and not be confined to having to incorporate certain things. 

Films are submitted to our committee, to ensure they stick to 3:30 minutes and have a G rating, before they are converted to files that can be viewed on the cinema screen. 

Our teachers and students have included storylines that incorporate green screen technology, stop-motion animation, and special effects! 

What are some of the topics the short films submitted addressed?

Twenty-five short films have been produced and even though we had no theme, some seem to incorporate two things students find most important: food and friends! 

Teachers feature in some films, but mostly, students have taken on all acting roles. Adventure features heavily, but there is also a little bit of mischief thrown in!  

When/where will Film By The Breakwall be shown?

Film By The Breakwall will screen on Wednesday 8th May, with a second screening on Thursday 9th May at Majestic Cinemas. Both nights sold out in the first two days of ticket sales, so we are holding an encore screening on Wednesday 15th May. 

All nights kick off at 5:45pm on the red carpet, with students and teachers encouraged to come along in their best Hollywood Glam costumes. The movies will start at 6pm. 

Whom would you like to thank for assisting with the film festival?

This event could not have happened without the fantastic students we have in our HVCS! Not only are they talented future film stars, but they are continually enthusiastic about opportunities in the Creative and Performing Arts. 

And behind every wonderful student is an equally wonderful support network of teachers and parents. The commitment and dedication from them have contributed to its success. 

Our community partner, Majestic Cinemas, has been supportive throughout our planning stages, and we are fortunate to have them on board. 

I would also like to thank Glen Carter and Karen Beutler, Film By CEO and Professional Learning Officer, for providing us with the opportunity to establish our own film community. 

How much will tickets to the event be, and where can they be purchased?

Tickets are $6 and can be purchased online:

Where can we find out further info?

Further information is available by emailing our Hastings Secondary College Community Liaison Officer, Leanne Jeffery, or myself. or 

See you on the red carpet! 

Thanks Karen.

Interview: Jo Robinson.

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