Kirran and the Hatchmaker
Kirran is 12 and lives in rural Wales with his mum and dad. His first love is breeding and raising chickens, which he does with knowledge and passion. At the same time he is planning to build a boat, with the apparent intention of sailing – with a selection of his chickens – to a place unspecified.
|Production||Edinburgh College of Art|
|Themes||Ambition, Dreams, Childhood, Country Living, Birth & Death|
|Curriculum Areas||English, Literacy, Numeracy, Science(Biology), Religious & Moral Education, Art & Design|
- The importance of openings in narrative.
- Using background to create effect.
- Camera position, angles and shots – the choices available to a filmmaker.
- The differences between fact and fiction.
You will need
TV and DVD player or computer, projector and screen; writing materials; internet access.
A closer look using tools for reading film
Play the sequence first without sound, using the pause button to look more closely at the opening sequence up to the point where the titles appear (1 min 40 sec).
After watching this first section, ask pupils to write down or draw what they see in each of the shots using the grid supplied, or one of the storyboard templates. Use these to discuss what ‘kind’ of film this is going to be. Is it fact or fiction? How do we know?
Now play it again with sound, and ask the same questions.
Looking for Patterns
- Use the pause button in the same way to freeze shots of the house and/or landscape.
- Ask pupils to describe in each case what they see (including light, darkness and colour)
- Use this information to discuss how the landscape – and by implication Kirran’s lifestyle - is portrayed in the film.
Questions for discussion (evaluating)
- How would you describe Kirran?
- What is unusual about his name and how did he come to have it?
- Where do you think he lives?
- How would you describe Kirran’s relationship with his parents?
- What is the ‘hatchmaker’ and how does it work?
- How many chickens (and how many breeds) is he planning to take with him on his boat?
- Where do you think he might be planning to go on his boat?
Literacy/Health & Wellbeing/Science
1. Find out what you would need to start raising your own chickens, and how to look after them properly. 2. Find out about the different ways in which chickens are reared in this country, and what the differences are in terms of welfare, food quality etc. (see Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall campaigns for example).
My Passion: Ask pupils to create and make a presentation (in any format) to the class on the hobby or interest they hold most dear.
Kirran says at one point in the film, “Even if they are deformed, I still love them.” Is this too sentimental a view of animals which are only there to provide us with food?
Kirran says at another point, “They’re probably the cleverest of farm animals – cleverer than cats, cleverer than dogs.” What, in your view are the cleverest animals on the planet, and how would you justify your choice?
In the film Kirran discusses the genealogy of the chickens. Ask pupils to research and create their family tree, or the family tree of a famous/historical figure.
Conduct a survey in your class or school of the kinds of chicken people buy, where they buy it, how it is reared, and how much it costs. Present your findings as a chart.