3rd year students taught village school pupils filmmaking

Pupils of Vilpeilä village school during shootings
Story and photo: Hannu Koivuranta
The “3 minute films” which take place every year were once again very different in the ways they were produced. This applied specifically to the shortfilm “Oppitunti” and its heads of department: director Outi Hartikainen, cinematographer Hannu Koivuranta, sound designer Mikko Koskinen, gaffer Jenni Riutta and producer Joni Luomanen.

The location scout for “Oppitunti” started early in September since the film features a small village school in the early 1960s. After scouting several possible and prominent locations it was decided that the film would be shot in Kangasala, at the local village school of Vilpeilä.

“If we are going to make a film with children they have to know something about filmmaking,” the crew pondered. An idea was born to visit the school actively before the initial shoot and teach the students about the basics of filmmaking. The principal Vesa Saarinen of Vilpeilä school was excited and welcomed the TAMK students with delight.

For the next four weeks the crew went on teaching students in their 3rd - 6th year with the goal of inspiring them to make their own movies by offering them the basic knowledge of e.g. storytelling with pictures.

The teaching sessions lasted variably from 45 minutes up to two hours since the sessions were part of the children’s official curriculum. “Oppitunti”-crew started the sessions every Wednesday as any teacher would: at 8.30 in the morning.

In the first sessions the crew befriended with the children by talking about the different roles that appear in a filmmaking crew and why they exist. Because the film’s director had to form a special bond and trust with the children it was decided that she would go alone the next session. The decision was right one.

During the last visits before the shoot the children learned about framing, lighting, editing and the goal of directing. They were also briefed about work-safety and technical equipment. These visits also made possible for the director to direct the children for the first time in a scene rehearsal which were also recorded on video. The videos were used as casting videos when the director selected Anette Salo, Matti Hölli and Laura Kurki to play the main parts of the film. In addition the film also feature 10 other students as extras.

The role of the teacher was played by Ulla-Maija Siikavire who has also acted in the television series “Lehmän vuosi” and in the thesis film “Ihmisiä tiellä” by a former TTVO-student Arttu Haglund.

“Oppitunti”-shortfilm was shot at the village school of Vilpeilä and its surroundings during 19. - 21. of November. Check back frequently: a story about the shoot is on its way to the blog!