Watching and making: Back and forth

Unfortunately watching films and making them are more often very distinct approaches’ treated without reference to each other. However, creating a ‘back and forth’ between viewing film and practicing it, makes for a dynamic enriching relationship – especially over a long period.

Watching and making

Film excerpts help to understand the challenges of the chosen subject, while exercises make students aware of choices and problems, so they can go back to the excerpts with a practically informed understanding. Film excerpts are a precious pedagogical tool.


They often arouse the desire to see the entire film, and allow the immediate shock of an encounter with cinematic universes far removed from the students (author films, “old films”, Black and white, etc.). Well chosen extracts arouse instant emotion among students.


They allow us to focus on a particular issue. We believe in a ‘pedagogy of attention’ that makes students attentive to a fragment that they see, that they then describe. Comparing multiple stagings of the same situation invites a conversation between adults and students. Focus on a parameter (or a rule, or constraint) gives you also a key to watch film, directing attention (even films quite far from their own cinephilia). We become active spectators if we are searching for something precise.


They are as stimulating for experienced practitioners such as teachers, and for students as well. This confrontation of different aesthetic approaches is inspiring at the time of the transition to practice. They open new perspectives, different from common mainstream images. They do not function as models to reproduce, but their diversity invites students to situate themselves, to make their own choices. It allows them to dare, to allow them audacity.

It’s a pedagogy that works by impregnation:

“Showing of the films (made by students in CCAJ workshops) makes you realize the incredible appetite and intelligence with which the students have assimilated some of the film clips. The clips allow them to question their own taste and engagement with what they are seeing, whilst prompting them to think about their own practice. We are miles away from the cold, thoughtless replication of a model. We are, in reality, at the heart of an act of creation.” Alain Bergala


Watch this film, made in a CCAJ workshop about the parameter of “Color in cinema”. The film has a commentary from the teacher and filmmaker who were involved in the workshop: both analyse afterwards the way students created their film according to a cinema question and rules of game.

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Now, we invite you to watch the whole film realized by these French teenagers.

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