Make Film, Make History

Film shoot 'Future of Europe'
Goethe-Institut London / Maren Hobein

From mockumentary to live action drama, from animation with archive material to vox pop interviews and an interactive website, the five projects realised as part of Make Film Make History show what 30 young Europeans between 18 – 24 years from Denmark, Germany, and the UK can do, when they put their minds, skills and enthusiasm to the task.

They first met in the Belgian town of Ypres in April 2015, where they took part in a 3-day workshop. Inspired by the 1916 British film The Battle of the Somme (1916) as well as Ypres’s very specific history as a crucial WW1 battleground, they discussed the legacy of the First World War and explored what it means to be European one hundred years later. Various film exercises got them working together and thinking about how ideas can be visualised. At the end of the three days they decided which topic and what kind of film they would like to work on over the next year. Five working groups and five working titles were born.

It was the starting point for a long journey, marked by various milestones such as finishing the script, getting a shot list ready, finding actors and props, and developing communication plans. The special challenge was to do all this online via facebook or in skype meetings and google hang-outs with each other or their film mentors from London’s Chocolate Films, while carrying on with studies and jobs and life in general. It made April 2016 and the second three-day workshop come along very fast.

  • Make Film, Make History Participants, Ypres, April 2015 Make Film, Make History
    Make Film, Make History Participants, Ypres, April 2015
  • First World Problems Make Film, Make History
    First World Problems
  • My Personal Duty Make Film, Make History
    My Personal Duty
  • Future Of Europe Make Film, Make History
    Future Of Europe
  • Home, Hardship, Hope Make Film, Make History
    Home, Hardship, Hope
  • Film Shoot 'First World Problems' Make Film, Make History
    Film Shoot 'First World Problems'
  • In the IWM galleries Make Film, Make History
    In the IWM galleries
  • Group photo Make Film, Make History in front of the IWM Make Film, Make History
    Group photo Make Film, Make History in front of the IWM

This time everyone met in London, where the Imperial War Museum (IWM) became the base for transposing their ideas into images and sound. The IWM galleries and gardens turned into shooting locations, a teaching room became an animation studio, another saw some serious code writing for the interactive website. Interviews with members of the public were filmed on the banks of the Thames and in the shadow of the London Eye. Experts were caught on camera giving their opinions on subjects such as the future of the EU, the relevance of history for our decisions about the future, or the current refugee crisis. Days were long, busy, and intense. Time was tight. The date for a first presentation of the four films and the interactive website at the Goethe-Institut at the end of day three was set. This was when everything had to be ready. When the five teams, their film mentors, and the staff from the project partner organisations had gathered in the Goethe-Institut cinema, the air was thick with nervous anticipation. They all had worked hard but what would appear on the cinema screen?

Well, what did appear on the cinema screen? If you would like to find out, watch the Make Film, Make History films here. A link to the fifth project, the interactive website will follow soon.

Read about the project from the participants’ perspective on the Make Film, Make History project blog.
About the project
Make Film, Make History is part of IWM’s major centenary initiative The First World War on Film, which will mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the British film depicting the battle.

The Make Film, Make History Project aims to:

•    Examine the contemporary and lasting impact the 1916 and 1917 screenings of The Battle of the Somme film and associated events had on the home front, society and culture

•    Explore contemporary mass media parallels to the Battle of the Somme

•    Explore the use and development of film as a medium and communication tool, through the prism of the Battle of the Somme and the First World War

The project Make Film, Make History was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme "Europe for Citizens". It has been delivered by IWM in partnership with the Goethe-Institut London and Mosede Fort (Denmark), and with production partner Chocolate Films. With special thanks to the Goethe-Institut Mannheim.


Make Film, Make History