Film as Literature debuts as new English elective

Mackenzie Pagels ‘21, Student Life Editor

It seems that recently film is gaining more popularity than ever before, due to the rise in movie programs seen in high schools. Watching film has sparked more interest in schools rather than reading books. Deciding to switch it up, South Lyon High School introduced a new class. Film as Literature, as an option for students to take as an English credit. This is the first year Film as Literature is familiarized at SLHS. 

The class focuses on how film has impacted the way students write, and how film is viewed as a form of English. Film as Literature is open to upperclassmen who are looking for an alternative English class rather than taking a typical, or traditional English course.

As of now, Mrs. Brittany Smithkort is the only Film as Lit teacher and currently has three sections of the course. She has been creating the curriculum while vying for its inception for the last few years. Smithkort said, “I absolutely love it; I think this year will be interesting because the students will experiment with new ideas. The kids have been amazing and very open minded to the movie choices; the movies allow them to treat them as if they were written pieces of texts.

However, the real question is, how are students liking this new class? How can the students compare this class to a normal English course? This year’s juniors and seniors have the opportunity to experience this class and have the first opinions on it.

Senior Corinne Stewart said, “Film is a really great class.” She continued, “It gives students a different type of English class because, in most English classes, the students learn through books, but with film you are learning from movies.” Film as Literature takes an interesting approach by using movies instead of books, which often take a while to read through. The movies only take a few class periods to watch, so it is assumed that there will be more time analyzing the movies than actually watching them.

Essentially, the students are not reading books, but in a way they are reading the movies they watch during the class. The website Homeschooling Teen said that in film courses, “They are taught to ‘read’ a film, analyzing its narrative structure, genre conventions, subtext, technical and artistic factors, and purpose.”  This is similar to the work students do when reading a text. This class may seem like a lot of work to some, but it is not much different from any other English class.

Although some students enjoy this class, others just chose it because they thought it might be easier than a traditional English course, even though they are not really interested in the class itself. The class does not consist of watching movies the entire year, and it is definitely not a blow off class. 

The Film as Literature curriculum is for those who enjoy the make-up of  movies and film, and observing the impacts they have on literature and culture. It is expected for students to show up to class and get their work done. This class is strictly for students who are interested in learning about film with an English class approach. Is it hopeful that SLHS, as well as Mrs. Smithkort, continues to teach the course over the years.

Photo by Kathryn Kopko

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