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Teach Me A Lesson

Show Me Shorts has launched a kit comprising short films, information and lesson plans for teachers. Show Me Shorts Festival Director Gina Dellabarca explains why.

Almost three years in development, the idea for the Show Me Shorts in Schools kit came from a conversation Dellabarca had with a friend, Richard George, who’s Deputy Principal of Manurewa Intermediate. His request to use some of the festival’s films as part of teaching led to a two and a half year journey, the result of which is now available to schools nationwide.

Having decide to investigate something more than an ad hoc arrangement to enable George to share content with his students, Show Me Shorts did some research into what resources were already out there, packaged for teachers. They found some material available, but targeted at the upper age range of school students, and identified a distinct lack of resources targeting upper primary and intermediate age students.

Since then, George has worked with Show Me Shorts and teaching colleagues to create the kit.

Although it’s taken longer than originally envisaged to convert the idea into the reality, Dellabarca explained that one of the advantages of that longer development time has been the ability to conduct a substantial amount of testing of the kit in schools. That has allowed teachers not party to the development of the resources to use the lesson plans, which have now been taught in schools with a range of decile ratings.

While the lessons have been successful at delivering on curriculum objectives, Dellabarca is also happy that the programme delivers on a much broader aim and one that’s of wider concern to the production sector: to teach young New Zealanders that their stories are just as important and have just as much validity as those from anywhere else.

Two years ago Dellabarca was part of the ART Venture accelerator programme a couple of years ago that, coincidentally, Screenies festival organiser Janette Howe is currently on. A part of the programme gives participants access to investment funding, some of which Dellabarca has directed to the development of this initiative.

Thanks to that support, Show Me Shorts has been able to cover costs in getting the programme out into the world. Filmmakers have been paid a licence fee for the use of the films on the DVD. Titles have been licensed for two years online. Whether or not there’ll be another DVD produced as the programme gets updated from year to year isn’t yet clear.

The increase in NZ internet capability – particularly the government initiative to deliver UFB to schools – suggests that it may well be more sensible and cost-efficient to deliver the titles online only within a couple of years. Introducing the programme, Show Me Shorts has priced the hard copy and online-only programmes at the same price ($80+GST), with a discounted price of $110 for both.


The titles forming part of the programme have all played previous editions of Show Me Shorts. They are: Richard Mans’ Abiogenesis, Mark Albistion & Louis Sutherland’s Six Dollar Fifty Man, Lauren Jackson’s I’m Going to Mum’s, Zoe McIntosh’s Day Trip, James Barr’s Koro’s Medal, Ainsley Gardiner’s Mokopuna, Phill Simmonds’ Noise Control, Jackie van Beek’s One Shoe Short and Just Like the Others.

There’s no decision yet on how and when programme material will be updated, but Dellabarca said the hope was that Show Me Shorts would be able to introduce a couple of new titles plus resource material to the programme each year.

In recent years Show Me Shorts has also curated a programme of age-appropriate titles for schools as part of its festival. The addition of the teaching materials extends the festival’s commitment to delivering appropriate material for younger audiences and building the adult audiences for the future – something other festivals could be doing more of.

The Show Me Shorts in Schools kit is available here. This year’s Show Me Shorts festival runs nationally from 11 November. The programme will be announced in late October.