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In the Distance — Florian Grolig, 2015

It might seem like a calm and peaceful life above the clouds but, in the distance, danger is getting closer with each nightfall. As one man and his chicken try to carry on with their lives, they must find ways to survive despite ever-present threats to their quiet existence.

A simple yet powerful animation that brings to mind the damage caused by war and the plight of innocent people caught in the middle of it.

Classroom Activities

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Critical

  • Before watching, ask pupils what they think the title might mean and what they think the film might be about.
  • After watching, describe the situation the character is in.
  • Identify what shot is used throughout the film. Discuss the effect using only this shot has.
  • A lot of the action happens off-screen. Why do you think it was filmed in this way?
  • Discuss the colours used in the film. How do the colours change throughout the film and what information does this give us?
  • Discuss how the editing shows the way time is passing.
  • What sounds can we hear? How do these help to tell the story?
  • Why do you think there are no non-diegetic sounds in the film? Discuss the impact this had on the film.
  • Watch from 05:56 – 06:18 again. What do we think the creator of this film is trying to tell us here?
  • Look at a screen shot of the film at the start and compare it to a screen shot from the film at the end. How do the two scenes compare and what information does it give us?

Cultural

  • Where do you think this is set? What makes you think that?
  • The creator explains that he left a lot of the information vague and a lot of questions unanswered. What questions do you have at the end of the film?
  • Research current wars that are going on in the world just now. Choose one to focus on. Present your report to the class.
  • Many people have to leave their homes due to being caught up in the middle of conflict and it becoming unsafe. How would you feel if you had to leave your home with nothing and start building your life again?
  • As a class, create a spider diagram on the impact of war on civilians. They could be given time to research this first.
  • Discuss how this depiction of war is different to other you have seen in different films.
  • What message is this film trying to get across to the audience? What makes you think that?
  • Class debate: ‘War is a necessary means to an end’. Have half the room argue for this statement and the other argue against.

Creative

WRITE

  • Write a diary entry for a soldier who is flying one of the planes we see in the movie. What are they thinking and feeling?
  • What impact do you think having to live through a war would have on you? Write a poem describing how you feel and the impact.

MAKE

  • Screen shot 8 key moments from the film and turn those images into a comic strip. Insert speech and thought bubbles to show what the main character and even the chicken is thinking. You can also include descriptor boxes to explain what is going on around them.
  • Create a welcome leaflet/ video welcoming new residents to your local area or school. What would be useful for them to know? Where can they meet friends or ask for help? Think about making it as welcoming as possible.

DRAMA

  • Create a script to go along with this film and record it. Play it over the film for the class.

MUSIC

  • Add a soundtrack to the film. Why did you choose to include the music that you did? How did it change the feel of the film?

SOCIAL SUBJECTS

  • Create a newspaper report outlining a war that is currently happening just now. Focus on the impact it is having on the people of that place.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

  • Draw the outline of a person. Label it with how someone who has escaped living in a warzone might be feeling. Draw a second person and label it with how someone could show compassion and make them feel welcome in their new home.

Clip Details

Year of Production 2015
Genre Drama
Curriculum Areas Health and Wellbeing, Modern Languages, Literacy and English, Religious and Moral Education, Social Studies, Technologies
Director Florian Grolig
Country of Origin Germany
Medium / Content 3D Animation, Fiction, Colour, Sound, No Dialogue
Themes Feelings, Loss / Memories, Danger / Fear, History / War
Clip Length 07:27
Clip Length 07:27
Age Group P5-P7, S1-S3, S4-S6