Reel Educational Leadership: Amateur Administrator Film Festivals & Why They Are Important

administration film festivals!?

I recently read an interesting article titled "Lights, camera, action: Advancing learning, research, and program evaluation through video production in educational leadership preparation" by Jennifer Friend and Matthew Militello on the importance of using film in educational admin + leadership preparation. In their article, the authors suggest that video can be used for student reflective learning, leadership research through the production of videos and documentaries, and exploring film as a means by which to share innovations within the field of ed admin + leadership. One important issue they discuss is accessibility of research to the public through administration film festivals (a completely new concept for me), and accessibility of research to the public.

lights, camera, action!

What's great about video these days is that anyone can make one with their phone and easily upload it on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. In their article, Friend and Militello suggest that sharing admin + leadership videos through social media, incorporating them into lesson plans, screening films in community forums, and even incorporating video into professional development sessions, is a great way to make research more attainable to the public. Some conferences already even have video categories in their call for proposals.


Perhaps the most prominent example of administrator film festivals is the annual festival hosted by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). Film submissions are to be no longer than 5 minutes in length and can touch on issues like the quality of leadership preparation, admin research and engaged scholarship, design of preparation programs and efforts to improve them, policy work, and the practice of educational leadership. There are some exceptional films available to browse on the UCEA's website, but really, anyone can make a film and either submit it for peer-review to an organization like the UCEA, or simply publish it on their own YouTube channel.

diy admin + leadership films

You don't need to be an expert to make your own admin + leadership film. What's important is what you learn about the experience and reflective practice. I love the idea of departments of Educational Policy Studies organizing their own film festivals, which by no means need to be formal and expensive events. They can happen right in our classrooms, with a film component built right into the syllabi in admin preparation programs. Since the creation of a film requires an application of a higher form of knowledge on the subject of ed admin + leadership, these projects would also help students to reach higher levels of Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy. The best part? Films can easily be made right from a student's phone or borrowed video equipment from the school library, and they provide an important opportunity for students to reflect on admin theory and on their own leadership skills and practices.

How do you think films could be used to improve admin preparation programs? How might your school start its own film festival?

C. Valentine