Movies, TV & Videos

NB: There are copyright restrictions on the use of TV/radio programmes and movies for educational purposes. Teachers are responsible to checking that their institution has an appropriate screenrights licence. See www.screenrights.org for more information. 

Collections of Film & TV resources

  • ESLMovies.com – includes resources for Rabbit Proof FenceThe CastleWhale Rider, Finding Nemo, Looking for Alibrandi, and more. Cheap and available to download, and in different levels for different movies.
  • Australian Screen – over a thousand video clip extracts from Australian films & TV programs with teachers’ notes and transcripts – highly recommended.
  • Using film texts to teach about the English Language – from ACMI, this resource offers suggestions for using film to introduce students to the different varieties of Australian English.  Topics include Australian English and Identity, Accent as the Theatre of Identity, The Australian Documentary Voice, The Ethnolect in Australia and Indigenous Language and Identity.
  • Rewatching Classic Australian Films
    A series of reviews in The Guardian, over the past several years – useful for anyone teaching Australian culture or film studies, or simply wanting to do an Australian film in class – or to tie in with the written review genre. Could also be given to students who are interested in working through this list in their own time as a way to learn more about Australian culture.

Short Films

  • Short Films Teachers Love
    Not strictly for ELT, but you will discover some excellent short films by following this podcast. Most of the teachers are Australian, but some are from other parts of the globe and the short films come from a variety of sources. (@cioccas)
    In each episode, 3 short films are profiled by teachers across a range of study areas, and discuss ideas for using the films with host Richard Leigh.
  • SFTL on Soundcloud: (full audio of each episode (+ occasional extras)
  • SFTL on YouTube: (browse by episode, by Subject Area or by Theme
  • SFTL on Facebook:  join this public group to access extra teaching resources and downloadables.
    • For ESL or EAL/D themed episodes check out:
      • Season 2, Episode 1 – English Language Teaching with James Taylor
      • Season 1, Episode 15 – English Language Teaching with Kieran Donaghy
      • Season 1, Episode 10 – EAL (English as an Additional Language), expat teaching with Nicole James
  • Tropfest Australia is a good source for short films that you could use in class for discussion or writing prompts. Take care as some are definitely rated TGR (Teacher Guidance Recommended 🙂  Here are some of the Tropfest films I’ve used in class (LesleyC):
    • LAMB (2002) A father and his blind son struggle to survive on a drought stricken land.
      NOTE: I’ve had one student cry at the end, but generally goes over well and generates a lot of discussion and writing.
    • EFFECTIVE TOWEL FLICKING – INTRODUCTORY TECHNIQUES (2003)
      NOTE: A humorous take on a procedural video.
    • MURBAH SWAMP BEER (2002) A documentary that could only be true in Australia. It captures the spirit of one small Aussie town, when a truck loaded with 40,000 beers crashes into the river just before Easter time.
    • BENNY UNSEEN HERO (2005) Benny the loser performs one amazing feat after another but no-one sees a thing, to his enormous frustration.
      NOTE: language warning.
    • BETWEEN THE FLAGS (2007) How many rioters does it take to start a riot? When two guys from opposing sides of conflict are the first arrivals for a beach riot, they are initially unsure of the accepted etiquette.
      NOTE: Good cross-cultural piece based on Cronulla riots.
    • GOGGLES (2006) Seven year old Billy encounters a couple of bullies on his way to the pool.
      NOTE: Good ‘issues’ film for discussion.
    • MOUSE RACE! (2008) Australians will bet on anything – but mice!? A fascinating and funny journey into the seedy underworld of amateur mouse racing.
    • MARRY ME (2008) Little girl likes little boy. Little boy likes BMX bike. Something has to give.
    • GREAT WHITE HUNTERS (2008) What do you need to hunt the world’s greatest hunter? How about some fishing line and a six-pack.
      NOTE: Made by the same team as Murbah Swamp Beer. I don’t like this one as much, but may be topical given recent (2014) shark cull protests. 
    • GUSTO (2002?) An ailing old man goes to pump yabbies for the last time, but is he still able to catch enough?
    • WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE (2013)  Jess has to come up with $800 or lose her house. A flat tyre leaves Joan stranded in the middle of nowhere. Matt needs a job. All these stories are brought together as what goes around comes around and they impact each other in a way they couldn’t imagine.
      Also on Film English with a lesson plan 
  • Flickerfest – another good source of Australian short films.
  • Australian short films on Film English with lesson plans:

    • SIGNS   – a beautiful short film by Patrick Hughes about communication. Not much spoken dialogue in this, but they’re definitely Aussie accents when there is!
    • WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE – a moving short film by Nicholas Clifford on the theme of empathy.

  • Girl Meets Boy – Identity, Marriage…and a Twist
    A lesson plan based on a GetUp! Australia video on marriage equality – Designer Lessons

Feature Films

  • Strictly Ballroom – has worked well for Lynda Cameron with these levels: CSWE III, ACSF 2 & 3
  • The Castle – Sarah Chamberlain has shared a lesson plan with a lead-in activity with a follow-up role play, in PDF and Word formats: Castle movie lesson PDF and Castle movie lesson WORD
  • Rabbit Proof Fence
  • Charlie & Boots
  • Australia
  • Man from Snowy River 1 & 2
  • Red Dog
  • Muriel’s Wedding is one of the films covered in Arizio Sweeting’s Language Through Film (Phoenix Education Online) containing ready-to-use photocopiable classroom activities.

Documentaries

  • National Film and Sound Archive’s Digital learning resources
    NFSA Digital Learning combines the former Screen Australia Digital Learning websites and NFSA’s online education resources. These content rich education websites feature thousands of video and audio clips available for streaming and downloading.  Includes these collections:

    • History:  
      • Australian History Timeline – Search film excerpts via people, place and decade.
      • Captain James Cook – Explores one of the greatest explorers of all time.
      • Wireless to Web – A selective history of broadcast media in Australia.
      • Constructing Australia – Three powerful stories of nation building – the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Kalgoorlie Pipeline and the Overland Telegraph.
      • Moving History – 60 years of Film Australia – Provides a history of documentary making at Film Australia.
    • National Treasures and Investigating National Treasure– Treasures from Australia’s National Heritage List.
    • Australian At Work – These video clips show everyday Australians at work in a variety of contexts (see more detail below)
    • Completely Gorgeous – An hilarious and helpful look at body image for modern girls and guys.
    • On the rails – Interactive journey following Australian trains through time and place.
    • Indigenous:
      • Twelve Canoes – people, history, culture and place of the Yolngu people.
      • Ceremony – Yolgnu culture
      • Mabo – The Native Title Revolution – The Mabo legal case and the important issues it raises.
    • Talkback Classroom Learning Journeys – Follow Australian secondary students as they interview leading decision makers and investigate the issues that matter.
    • Arts Portal – Access a wealth of performing and visual arts resources.
    • DIY Doco – Engage students in the world of documentary storytelling.
    • Australian biography – Extraordinary Australians talk about their lives.
    • Our region
      • Screen Asia – Supports the development of Asia literacy in the middle years.
      • Pacific stories – A gateway to the Pacific region. Features a teacher guide and interactive map.
  • Australians At Work
    Selected from the Film Australia archives, these Video Clips show everyday Australians at work in a variety of contexts. Each Video Clip is accompanied by a number of Study Modules, which include Key Concepts, Curriculum Applicability Notes, Context / Background Information, Discussion Pointers, and Suggested Classroom Activities.
  • A Lion Called Christian – A documentary about 2 Australians in London in 1969 who bought a lion cub from Harrods department store.  There’s a lot you can do with this, and it’s always popular with students! (@cioccas)

Television

  • The Colony
    Australian broadcaster SBS teamed up with RTE Ireland and History Channel UK to produce a reality series in which participants recreated life in a New South Wales colony 200 years ago.
    Study Guide on Enhance TV
  • Lonely Planet Six Degrees – Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Short, funky, segmented
  • You’re Skitting Me by ABC3
    An Australian sketch comedy show for kids. The sketches are an edgy mix of zombies, cavemen, naughty girl guides, animations and parodies of Twilight and talent shows. Could be some good content for classes with young adult learners here. (@cioccas)
  • The Friendship Graph by Flight of the Conchords –  Designer Lessons ESL lesson plan…
    Sometimes, finding comedy clips which appeal across cultures can be tricky, but you know it’s working when your students start laughing along. Perhaps because it deals with people who are some way out of their own cultural safety zone, the HBO series Flight of the Conchords seems well suited to classroom use…
    The following is based on an excerpt from Season 2, Episode 2 which I felt would not only test my students’ listening skills (New Zealand accents are hardly over-represented in ELT listening material) but would also provide an ideal context for some focus on tense usage (particularly the present perfect and present perfect continuous) and conversation based on the theme of friendship.
  • Redfern Now
  • Simon Reeve Australia
  • Lost In Pronunciation (ABC 2016) “Follows the arrival in Australia of a Venezuelan comedian, Ivan, whose heart is set on breaking into the local comedy scene.” Could be fun to use for Australian idioms and culture (but with a language warning, so you will want to vet the programs before using).

Advertisements (including public service announcements)

  • Dumb Ways to Die is an Australian public service announcement campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to promote rail safety. The campaign video went viral through sharing and social media starting in November 2012. Steve Muir created this fun lesson plan on All at C: Video Lesson Plans for Teachers with “a lesson based on an Australian railway safety advert featuring a song with a ridiculously catchy chorus”

Digital Storytelling

  • Creating the Connections – a digital stories resource kit for adult literacy (and ESL) teachers
    This is an excellent free resource created by AMES Vic and GOTAFE for adult literacy students, specifically for CGEA 1 (Introductory), 1 & 2; CSWE II & III.
    “This flexible resource kit on CD guides teachers through the process of developing students’ skills to create digital stories about their local community. Activities develop students’ oral and written communication skills, ICT skills, project planning skills and employability skills. The ten session plans in the kit are accompanied by printable tasks and handouts for students. The kit includes sample digital stories and copyright-free photos and music.”
  • Digital Storytelling at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image
    ACMI used to have some excellent examples on their Digital Storytelling page that could also be used as Australian themed stories for ESL classes.  They have now redesigned their whole website and that section seems to have been removed.  But you could find something useful on the ACMI YouTube playlists.
    ACMI also run Digital Storytelling workshops, in Melbourne but they might travel to you.  I did a similar one in Canberra years ago and it was excellent! (@cioccas)
  • Digital Stories from Engaging Solutions .  ES is a private company running DS workshops, and they have some interesting short films on their site that were created as Digital Storytelling Workshop Projects – includes stories from multicultural youth, people with a disability, rural women, and more.

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