Big screen premiere for film-making pupils

The children of Clachan, Rhunahaorine and Glenbarr primary schools with their awards after their animation showcase.
The children of Clachan, Rhunahaorine and Glenbarr primary schools with their awards after their animation showcase.

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After months mastering the art of stop-motion animation, the red carpet was rolled out for the pupils of three West Kintyre schools at the Campbeltown Picture House premiere of their own short films.

The children of Clachan, Rhunahaorine and Glenbarr primary schools spent ten Fridays, from September 2021 to March 2022, attending workshops at the cinema led by professional film-maker and animator Alasdair Satchel.

The youngsters learned the fundamentals of animation, working with shapes moving through space at different speeds, using stop-motion.

They tried their hand at creating animations using plasticine models, paper characters, ‘Stikbot’ figures and even their fellow pupils!

During one session, Jim Parkyn from Aardman Animations, the legendary studio behind Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, joined the students to share his expertise, including how to make models from single pieces of plasticine.

After experimenting with the different stop-motion animation techniques, the children chose their favourites and made their own animations.

They also created their own soundtracks for their movies, which featured a variety of characters including unicorns, superheroes, monsters, mermaids, princesses, giraffes, turtles, frogs and much more.

The schools initially received a grant from West Kintyre Windfarm Trust in January 2020 to work on the partnership project with Campbeltown Picture House, which provided its premises and staff at a discounted rate.

The pupils were supported throughout by cinema staff member Mhairi Hendrie and Eoin Bruce from Campbeltown Grammar School.

It was originally hoped the project would be completed within the 2020/21 session but this had to be postponed due to Covid lockdowns and restrictions.

Finally, last Friday afternoon, the fruits of the pupils’ labour were showcased to their families at a special screening and awards ceremony at the cinema.

The event began with Clachan’s and Glenbarr’s animations, after which each pupil was presented with an Oscar-like statuette by Margaret Pratt, convener of West Kintyre Windfarm Trust.

After a short interval, Rhunahaorine’s animations were screened before Mrs Pratt presented the students with their statuettes.

After a round of applause for the young film-makers, Catriona Brown, head teacher of Rhunahaorine Primary School, thanked Mrs Pratt and West Kintyre Windfarm Trust, Campbeltown Picture House, particularly Miss Hendrie and manager Ellen Mainwood, Mr Satchel, Mr Bruce and all volunteer helpers from the three schools.

Miss Hendrie told the Courier: ‘It has been a joy to work with all the children for the last few months.

‘Seeing them learn and make amazing animations has been a real treat. I’m so proud of what each and every one of them has achieved.’