Reel Focus 2020

Short Films + Workshops

Students in grades 4-7 attend a hands-on filmmaking workshop accompanied by a program of short films tailored to your grade level. We provide study guides to prepare your students for the program and encourage follow-up back in the classroom. Each film program will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers or a discussant. Please read the requirements for booking and send your reservations early. You will be added to our waiting list if we cannot immediately fill your request. Rest assured, we are typically able to accommodate our entire waiting list and make every effort to fulfill your first choice. The film programs and workshop descriptions are listed below.

When: April 17 – April 20-24, 2020, at 9:45 AM – 1:00 PM
Where: Roundhouse Community Centre

To register: Our Reel Focus Program is sold out! As an alternative we recommend Feature Focus
If you want to be added on the waiting list, please fill in the form below. Email education[at] if you have any questions.

Cost: $185 per class (groups up to 30 students)
Cancellation Policy: Your booking must be cancelled at least one month in advance for a full refund  Please send your cancellation in writing to the Festival Coordinator.

Indigenous Spotlight

Friday, April 17, 2020 and Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Young people and traditional ways take the spotlight, inviting respect for both the past and this present moment.

Recommended for grades 4-7

Themes: elder wisdom, family, friendship, connection to nature, pride in heritage and tradition

The Dark and Light Is All Around

Monday, April 20, 2020 

Singing and animated animals feature prominently in this collection of short films, ranging from the melodic and magical to the wacky and downright weird.

Recommended for grades 4-6

Themes: animal behaviour, music and sound, family, friendship

Made in Canada: The Animation Edition

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Get ready for bold and beautiful animation made by talent across Canada, including the Oscar shortlisted masterpiece, Uncle Thomas. These films depict the nostalgia of childhood, and some of the textures of the fabric that make us who we are.

Recommended for grades 4-6

Themes: memory, coming or age, artistic expression, sound and colour, animation

Doc Day

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Examinations of freedom and identity pulse through stories set in unlikely places: a dog pound in Morocco, the streets of Brazil, and a farm in Nova Scotia. Each documentary is handled with care and empathy for its subject.

Recommended for grades 5-7

Themes: childhood, identity, issues of migration, treatment of animals, formal approaches to documentary filmmaking

Families Near and Far

Friday, April 24, 2020

Moving and thought provoking, these families are quite different, and yet have so much in common, compelling the viewer to empathize with their unique experiences.

Recommended for grades 6-7

Themes: gender expectations and barriers, sibling rivalry, support, love and bonding, coming of age



Students get animated! Choreographed by the instructor, the class will glide, disappear and fly through the air. This is a great introduction to special effects and stop motion animation.

Digital Filmmaking

The class will learn the functions of a digital video camera, and a few insider tricks. Then students will break into small groups and film short scenes on their own throughout the Roundhouse.


Students shape and mould characters with plasticine and, using stop motion animation, will create short films in small groups. The plasticine is messy, and all kinds of fun!

Handmade Film

Explore the art and history of cinema. Students will etch and draw on 16mm celluloid to create a collaborative short film. At the end of the workshop students will be able to see their work projected.

Cut Out Animation

A variety of pre-fashioned and cut out materials will be used to create characters and sets. In small groups, using video capture techniques, students will be taken through the steps of creating a short story.

Objects in Motion

Using everyday office and school supplies, students will animate objects in new, silly, and imaginative ways.

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