Doc Edge Schools brings documentaries to young audiences

May 2016 - present

Aotearoa New Zealand

School students enjoying Social Justice Shorts at the Doc Edge Schools festival.

Doc Edge Schools brings documentaries to young audiences

May 2016 - present

Aotearoa New Zealand

"We believe in the power of documentaries to expand the worldview of our young people"

— Reiko Fukutake, Director of Rei Foundation Limited

Since 2016, Rei Foundation has been partnering with the Doc Edge Film Festival to make documentaries more accessible to young people, both at film screenings in Auckland and Wellington and with an online platform. From May to June, the Doc Edge Schools programme provides free screenings of documentaries for schools in Auckland and Wellington.

These screenings help teachers engage their students with current issues, vital ideas, critical questions and new perspectives from around the world. Free education resource kits accompany each film, assisting teachers in bringing these conversations from the theatre directly into the classroom as learning experiences.

Rei Foundation Director Reiko Fukutake explains why she wanted to support the project; "We believe in the power of documentaries to expand the worldview of our young people, who will go on to effect positive change in society".

In 2019 Doc Edge Schools held over 50 school sessions across two cities, hosted 4,300 students, and delivered inspiring sessions for students with film makers and expert speakers from across the world. Satellite screenings in Māngere and Whāngarei have brought documentaries to big screens beyond the main centres.

Doc Edge Schools festival includes relaxed screenings for students who have special needs, as well as a screening and awards ceremony to encourage student filmmakers who have submitted their films into competition.

Slider Image Rosie Brown and Kerry Clancy (centre and right) of the Tupu Ora Eating Disorders Clinic in a question and answer session facilitated by Doc Edge's Jess Keogh, at the screening of I am Maris, a documentary about a teenage girl who overcomes an eating disorder.

Rosie Brown and Kerry Clancy (centre and right) of the Tupu Ora Eating Disorders Clinic in a question and answer session facilitated by Doc Edge's Jess Keogh, at the screening of I am Maris, a documentary about a teenage girl who overcomes an eating disorder.

Slider Image School students waiting to go into Q Theatre, the Auckland home of Doc Edge Film Festival.

School students waiting to go into Q Theatre, the Auckland home of Doc Edge Film Festival.

Slider Image Lawrence Wharerau from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision introducing the special Ngā Taonga double feature of Bastion Point: Day 507 and Te Matakite o Aotearoa - The Māori Land March.

Lawrence Wharerau from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision introducing the special Ngā Taonga double feature of Bastion Point: Day 507 and Te Matakite o Aotearoa - The Māori Land March.

Slider Image The film More Human Than Human raised a lot of issues around the role robots will play in the future. Artificial intelligence specialist Alex Bartley Catt was invited to screenings to help students process the film and answer their questions.

The film More Human Than Human raised a lot of issues around the role robots will play in the future. Artificial intelligence specialist Alex Bartley Catt was invited to screenings to help students process the film and answer their questions.

Slider Image Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Maungarongo respond to the screening with a waiata.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Maungarongo respond to the screening with a waiata.

Slider Image Sangeetha Punnia with her mother at a relaxed screening. Sangeetha was featured in the short film Lives in Action and came to Auckland from Sydney to be at the screening and take questions from the audience.

Sangeetha Punnia with her mother at a relaxed screening. Sangeetha was featured in the short film Lives in Action and came to Auckland from Sydney to be at the screening and take questions from the audience.

Slider Image Māngere College students at a satellite screening of Marks of Mana and Social Justice Shorts, at Māngere Arts Centre.

Māngere College students at a satellite screening of Marks of Mana and Social Justice Shorts, at Māngere Arts Centre.

Slider Image St Catherine's College at the Roxy, Doc Edge's home in Wellington.

St Catherine's College at the Roxy, Doc Edge's home in Wellington.

Slider Image Jason de Santolo's short documentary, Water Shield, was a part of Social Justice Shorts. Jason travelled to Aotearoa from his home in Australia to participate in the question and answer sessions after the screening.

Jason de Santolo's short documentary, Water Shield, was a part of Social Justice Shorts. Jason travelled to Aotearoa from his home in Australia to participate in the question and answer sessions after the screening.

Rei Foundation has also supported Doc Edge to create their Doc Edge Schools On Demand service, which brings documentaries into classrooms all over Aotearoa and also in Niue, Chatham Islands and the Cook Islands.

Access to quality, youth-appropriate documentaries can help teachers engage their students with current issues, vital ideas, critical questions and new perspectives from around the world. While the festival screenings are extremely popular, Doc Edge and Rei Foundation felt that students outside of Wellington and Auckland were missing out.

Doc Edge Schools On Demand allows students all over Aotearoa and the Pacific to glimpse the world beyond their front door and understand more about different cultures and perspectives.

Many of the films on the Schools On Demand platform have closed captioning available, making them accessible to a wider group of students, and teachers are provided with resource kits for each film to help them to lead meaningful conversations about the documentaries to tie them in with their learning objectives.

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