Rich and Rachel Hansil have been heads of RFC’s education program since 2019 and their focus has been on K-12 education that gets kids behind the cameras and teaches them different skill sets dependent on what it is they may be interested in.
The Robinson Film Center’s education directors Rich and Rachael Hansil have been teaching kids K-12 the magic of movie making and nurturing a love for the film industry since 2019.
nullFrom learning how to write their own stories to analyzing Shakespeare on-screen to learning how to operate the cameras themselves and the editing process, there isn’t anything these kids can’t learn through RFC’s programs.
Through RFC’s program, students learn multiple aspects of filmmaking, such as writing their own stories, analyzing Shakespeare on-screen, learning how to operate cameras and editing.
The Hansils work as freelance film and tv producers for major corporations like Netflix as well as independent projects while serving as the education directors.
While serving as education directors, the couple also freelances for companies like Netflix.
“It gives the kids a different look,” says Rich Hansil. “She and I both have different styles, but also I had a lot of great teachers in film school, but a lot of them had been out of the business for a very long time and so a lot of the things we learned about like financing , even production was completely obsolete.”
Still being immersed in the industry allows the Hansils to stay up to date and teach what is currently happening so they’re better prepared if they decide to choose film as a career.
All of the current programs are free for students aside from those where they are learning how to use equipment, then it’s $10 a student. With the free programs, RFC is able to come to the schools or arrange a field trip for the students to come to the theater.
Here are the current programs RFC offers:
English-Language Arts Programs
These are recommended for English, film, drama and creative writing classes and grades 6 – 12.
- The Novel Experience- students will read one of the selected novels or short stories and learn to adapt one chapter into a short film. They will compare and contrast literary and cinematic terms, study how a novel’s story gets adapted into a screenplay then film and act in a short film.
- From Stage to Screen- similar to the Novel Experience class, except with stage plays. Students will compare the benefits and limitations of both stage productions and film productions. They will discover how to best utilize the resources of filmmaking to transform a play for the big screen and how to use the camera as a storytelling tool.
- Shakespeare in the Movies- similarly to the Stage to Screen class, except tailored specifically for plays by William Shakespeare. The education coordinator teaches Shakespeare through film and leads students in comparing and contrasting different filmmaker’s takes on the selected play and then the students film their own short film based off a selected scene.
- Screenwriting Workshop – Students will learn the basics of writing for film like character development, how to write dialogue and proper format for a screenplay. Students will watch examples of how screenwriting translates on screen then work as a class to write a one-page screenplay.
Film Studies Programs
nullRecommended for film, drama, history and fine arts classes and grades 2 – 12.
- Film Pioneers- Students learn the origins of cinema and experience through classic film clips and early experiments with sound and color. They will travel through time from the first moving pictures in the 1600s to the invention of film to the slapstick comedy classics of the 1930s.
- The Movie Musical- Students will study the works of musical greats like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and Julie Andrews. They’ll tackle issues like how a film musical differs from a stage musical, how they have evolved from over the decades, and more.
Recommended for film and art classes and grades 6 – 12.
- Understanding the Oscars- This series is written by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and dissects the Oscar categories and explores the art and science of movies. The activities teach valuable lessons in critical thinking and developing visual literacy skills.
Social Studies Programs
Recommended for Louisiana history and film classes and grades 8 – 12.
- Southern Cinema: Over a Century of Louisiana Films – From silent films to “Steel Magnolias” this program covers films made in Louisiana. Students tackle topics like what sets Louisiana apart from other filming locations, why filmmakers would want to film here now, and what it means for the residents.
Recommended for American history, civics and film classes and grades 6 – 12.
- The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials – The Museum of the Moving Image put together this lesson on presidential campaign ads that teaches students to think analytically about the visual messages they see. Students examine the historical context of former political ads, evaluate what makes an effective political ad and learn how to be critical viewers of the campaign commercials by analyzing images and sounds.
Elementary School Programs
nullRecommended for all language arts classes as well as Gateway, Discoveries and AIM classes and grades 2 – 5.
- Fairy Tales on Film – Students hear a short history of fairy tales and learn the “ingredients” that go into them. They are then challenged to recognize these ingredients in film clips of non-traditional fairy tale films. They will then make their own fairy tale on a storyboard.
- Cinemagic: The Films of George Melies – Known as the father of special effects, George Melies invented many camera tricks that are still used today. Students will view several of his films of him and then try out some of his movie magic tricks like making someone disappear.
The Hansils also are focusing heavily on workforce development through the Robinsons. Training those who take a serious interest in working in the film industry so that when film crews do come here, there are plenty of well-trained professionals that will keep them coming back.
“I want to make sure when you come here, the credits go towards local hires,” explained Rich Hansil. “So if there’s no one to hire, you have to fly everybody in the credits that don’t really matter as much, so we need a dedicated workforce and the Robinson is very much devoted to that workforce development and that is part of our role in the community.”
The economic impact of having film crews shooting in Shreveport is significant and if they are able to use local people to work behind the scenes, then that secures more jobs for locals in the future.
For more information on the classes offered by the Robinson Film Center, including their summer film camps, visit the Robinson Film Center website and Facebook page.
Meredith G. White is the arts and culture reporter for the Shreveport Times. You can find her on Facebook as Meredith G. White, on Instagram and Twitter as @meredithgwhite, and email her at email@example.com.