Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Schools :The Present, a short film about teens with disability

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey

The Present is a touching animated short film, created by Jacob Frey, about a young boy with some disability and his new dog. 

The film, appropriately titled The Present, was a thesis project from filmmaker Jacob Frey, who wrote, directed and animated the entire short.  He developed with several others as a thesis project at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany. 

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey
"This project is my thesis from Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, got entirely animated by myself  and took a little over a year to finish it from scratch to final comp.
It was built and animated within Maya, we used Pixar Renderman for the rendering and used Yeti Fur for the fur pipeline."

Jacob Frey

It's been screened at over 180 film festivals around the world and has raked in more than 50 awards. Frey deserves it. The short film is so touching!

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey

When I first started watching it I was pretty angry at the kid who gets this new present. The boy, who appears entranced in his video game, at first treats his present poorly due to a missing leg. Then, I found out why. 


The short animated film tells the story of a boy who rather spends his time indoors playing videogames instead of discovering whats waiting in front of the door. One day his Mum decides to get a little surprise for his son. And it will be harder to concentrate on his video game...

comic strip

Frey’s short animated film is based on artist Fabio Coala‘s equally emotional comic strip titled “Perfection.”

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey
Some information:

Did you know that animated shorts used to be shown in theaters before feature-length films? 
Yes, I still remember that. This was a great way to showcase new talent and warm up the audience before diving into a bigger story. 
Disney is keeping this tradition alive today with lovely little films like Paperman, premiered before Wreck-It Ralph in 2012.
My usual readers know I love animated films in the classroom and I shared Paperman as a digital resource to inspire Valentine's Day lessons. It had a huge success! Don't miss the post.

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey


The Present is well done animation film with an awesome point: Teens and disability. And why not animals and disability?

Teens disability is a very delicate problem that we have to face in our classes. Especially we must care about their classmates. When we see a teenager student has some kind of disability, we can't let his classmates stigmatize him.

So this short animated film is a touching pedagogical resource to introduce the theme into your classroom. Children should be able to succeed in every area taught in schools, no matter their disability.

I recommend watching the short film before reading the comic that it was based on. However, no matter what order you decide to see them, you're sure that your students will be touched by this powerful story of friendship and love of a special boy and a special puppy. 

This pup only has three legs. He’s missing one of his front legs, but that doesn’t slow him down. It brings the boy out of his shell and helps him realize, that we can be happy the way we are, even if we aren’t 'perfect'.

Let's explore the short :

Theme: Teenagers and disability.

Languages: English and other languages.

Level: Primary education ; Secondary education (different grades); Vocational Arts (Media).
Time: Two lessons ore more. That will depend on the activities you will prepare to comple the resource.

Learner ages: All ages
Activities: Watching the short film, prediciting the reasons of the bad attitude of the boy, paying attention to the first reactions from the students, predicting the ending of the film. The puppy's role is important as well.

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey
  • Show the film in two parts. The first one until the dog doesn't give up to play with the boy.
  • Ask your students to summarise the story the film tells. And then ask to predict the rest of the film.
  • Tell your students they are going to watch the rest of the film. As they watch they should compare their ending with what they saw in the short film.
  • Students will speak about the short film, and then they will be invited to watch the Fabio Coala‘s emotional comic trip.
  • Hold a plenary discussion based on the two resources: the short film and the comic trip.

Practising vocabulary and grammar : character; adjectives;  
  • Adjectives to describe character of the boy and behaviour of the dog.
  • Get feedback from the whole class on the boy’s character and behaviour. 

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey
Some thoughts:

Animated films can be used to teach different skills. I wrote on Exploring Animated Movies in Education and on Éducation : on parle films d'animation en français?

Animated films are amazing! What a great way to get and keep students' focused!

Animated videos, short or not, can offer teachers and students a nice motivation push to have an amazing lesson! 

The Present is a fantastic digital 

  •  to teach literacy, grammar, morals, civics, animation, other.
  • to talk about equity, tolerance, friendship. Students with some disability must be seen for their classmates as equal.
  • for reinforcing values, skills, reading, writing, composingfor reinforcing or introducing the skill of inference.

The Present
short movie
by Jacob Frey

Equity, morals, civics:

Displaying this short film in a face-to-face lesson is so important to include teen disability into the curriculum. 

We have some students with disability in our classes. Sometimes they feel stigmatized, they have some difficulty to accept their disability. And classmates have also some limitations to see this students as a equal. This is the role of the teacher. And this short film helps in a touching way.

This animated short film make everyone realize that even if we are missing a leg, we can be perfect and happy, just like this cute little puppy. A lesson for many out there. 

Help your students to adopt some animals with disability. Animals are often so grateful!

Languages : the narrative, grammar, vocabulary:

A Narrative even without words lets us know so many things. It tells us what happened. Why it happens. It tells us a story. In this case, an emotional story that will touch students and teachers.

Students love to hear stories, watch, write, draw stories. This one is particularly special. 

The positive attitude - joy - of the little dog, even when the boy keeps it away helps the boy to see himself as a 'normal' teen.

Exploring animated films will help the students to develop values, create better storytellings.

"We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see imperfect person perfectly."


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