The ISSOS Film Summer School

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Girl holding a film slate

The ISSOS Film Summer School

Are you passionate about film and dreaming of making it big in the world of cinema? If that sounds like you, then ISSOS Film Summer School might just be the stepping stone you need. This program isn’t just about learning the nuts and bolts of filmmaking; it’s about immersing yourself in a creative environment where your love for cinema can flourish.

Here, you’ll find yourself among fellow aspiring filmmakers, all fueled by the same ambition: to tell stories that captivate and inspire. So, if you’re ready to explore the magic of film and take a significant leap toward your college goals, let’s dive into what ISSOS Film Summer School has to offer.

What is the Film Summer School?

The ISSOS Film Summer School offers you an extraordinary opportunity to explore the world of filmmaking in a dynamic and international learning environment. You’ll be immersed in a comprehensive course that covers all aspects of filmmaking. This includes learning about location scouting, scriptwriting, set design, directing, production management, cinematography, and editing.

What makes this program stand out is its combination of expert instruction and practical experience. You’ll receive guidance from working professionals in the film industry, ensuring that the knowledge you gain is not only theoretical but also grounded in real-world practices​​​​.

During your time at the ISSOS Film Summer School, you will also develop crucial skills beyond filmmaking. The program emphasizes teamwork and leadership, as you will be working in small groups to create your own short films. This hands-on experience allows you to put theory into practice, transforming your unique ideas into reality.

With access to professional-grade cameras and equipment, you’ll learn the technical skills necessary to produce a film. Beyond the technicalities, the course is designed to boost your confidence in expressing and discussing ideas, teaching you what it takes to turn these ideas into action. The culmination of the program is the showcasing of your short film to the entire summer school, a rewarding experience that brings your creative vision to the big screen​​​​.

Who Can Participate in Film Summer School?

The program is designed for teenagers aged 13 to 18. This age range makes it an ideal choice for high school students who are passionate about filmmaking and eager to explore this creative field. The program caters to students of all abilities, from beginners to those with more experience in film.

This inclusivity ensures that no matter your current level of expertise, you will find the program enriching and suited to your learning needs. Additionally, ISSOS promotes an international experience by limiting the number of students from any one nationality, enhancing the diversity and cultural richness of the learning environment. This approach makes it a fantastic opportunity for students from around the world to learn, collaborate, and grow in a truly global setting.

Where Does the ISSOS Film Summer School Take Place?

The ISSOS Film Summer School program takes place at three prestigious university locations: St Andrews, Cambridge, and Yale. Each of these locations offers a unique setting and atmosphere, contributing to the overall experience of the program. The campuses are renowned for their history, beauty, and academic excellence, providing an inspiring environment for students to learn and explore the world of filmmaking.

a director chair in the middle of a studio

How Long Does the Program Usually Last?

The ISSOS Film Summer School program typically lasts for three weeks. This duration is designed to provide an immersive and comprehensive experience in filmmaking, allowing students ample time to learn various aspects of film production and to work on creating their own short films. The program combines academic and practical elements, offering both in-depth instruction and hands-on experience in a collaborative and international setting.

The Story of ISSOS

The story of ISSOS, the International Summer School of Scotland, begins with its establishment in 2005 by Jen Munro, a graduate of the University of St Andrews. After her experience working at a summer camp in the USA, Munro was inspired to create a balanced summer program for students from all over the world.

ISSOS’s foundational mission was simple yet powerful: to create a safe place for people to learn and grow. This mission has been the driving force behind the organization’s growth and success over the years.

ISSOS held its first summer session in 2006 at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, a location chosen for its safety and the small, coastal setting. In its inaugural year, ISSOS welcomed 50 students from 18 different nationalities, laying the groundwork for what would become a vibrant and diverse international family.

The popularity and demand for the ISSOS experience grew rapidly, and by the second summer in 2007, the program had expanded to offer two sessions at St Andrews, hosting over 170 students from more than 35 nationalities.

Recognizing the growing interest and the international appeal of its programs, ISSOS opened its second location in 2011 at the University of Cambridge, England. This expansion was a testament to the program’s unique combination of international diversity and exciting class choices. The ISSOS family continued to grow, welcoming students from over 60 different nationalities in the summer of 2011.

In 2016, ISSOS expanded once again, this time crossing the Atlantic to establish a campus at Yale University in the United States. This move was in response to years of requests for a US-based program. The Yale campus maintained the Scottish aspects of the program that students had come to love, and in its first year, it welcomed over 130 students.

Throughout its history, ISSOS has been dedicated to creating a nurturing and inclusive environment. This commitment has enabled it to welcome over 600 students each summer from more than 80 nationalities, creating a truly international family. The diversity of its student body is a cornerstone of the ISSOS experience, with a limit placed on places to 10% from any one nationality to ensure a truly global mix.

The ISSOS family, however, faced challenges in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the first summer since its inception when the campuses could not open. Despite these challenges, the spirit of the ISSOS community remained strong, with virtual initiatives like the Virtual Clan Cup and the creation of an ISSOS Family video album to maintain the sense of community.

In 2021, ISSOS celebrated its 15th anniversary and launched ISSOS Online as a permanent addition to its summer schools. This initiative was designed to meet the needs of students facing unprecedented academic challenges due to the pandemic, expanding the reach of ISSOS’s mission to help more students worldwide.

Throughout its journey, ISSOS has remained true to its core values, offering students from around the world the opportunity to learn, grow, and experience the summer of a lifetime in a safe, fun, and culturally enriching environment. The commitment to high-quality teaching, personal safety, and well-being, along with a truly international experience, continues to make ISSOS a unique and cherished place for young learners.

Why Should I Join the ISSOS Film Summer School?

Joining the ISSOS Film Summer School program offers a unique opportunity for personal and professional development in the field of filmmaking. The program’s immersive nature allows you to dive into various aspects of film production, from scriptwriting to editing, in a supportive and expert-led environment.

You’ll collaborate with peers from around the world, enhancing your teamwork and leadership skills while broadening your cultural perspectives. The prestigious university locations add to the program’s allure, offering a stimulating backdrop for creative exploration. ISSOS’s focus on small class sizes ensures personalized attention and a tailored learning experience.

This program is not just about learning film techniques; it’s about growing as a storyteller and an individual, gaining confidence and a global network that could be invaluable for your future in film or any other field you choose to pursue.

How Hard is it to Join the Program?

Gaining admission to the ISSOS Film Summer School is competitive, but it’s not an insurmountable challenge if you’re genuinely passionate about film and committed to learning. The program is designed for students aged 13 to 18, and it seeks applicants who demonstrate a keen interest in filmmaking.

You need to prepare a thoughtful application that showcases your enthusiasm for the subject. Your application should ideally reflect your understanding of film, your aspirations in the field, and how attending the summer school will help you achieve your goals. Remember, the ISSOS Film Summer School is not solely looking for expertise in filmmaking; instead, they value your eagerness to learn and grow in this creative field.

Another important factor in your application is demonstrating your ability to work well in a team. Since the program involves collaborative filmmaking projects, showing that you can contribute positively to a group is essential. Your previous experiences in team settings, whether in school projects, extracurricular activities, or community services, can be beneficial to mention in your application.

ISSOS values diversity and aims to create a multicultural learning environment, so highlighting your readiness to engage with peers from various backgrounds will strengthen your application. While the selection process is rigorous, focusing on these aspects and presenting a well-rounded application will increase your chances of being admitted to this prestigious program.

film students filming in the desert

When is the ISSOS Film Summer School?

If you’re planning to join the next ISSOS Film Summer School program, you’re in luck, as several sessions are lined up for 2024. The program is offered at three prestigious locations: St Andrews, Cambridge, and Yale, each providing a unique backdrop for your filmmaking journey.

At St Andrews, there are two sessions available: the first runs from June 30th to July 21st, and the second from July 24th to August 14th. If you’re considering Yale, there’s a session from July 14th to August 4th. These dates provide flexibility for you to choose a session that fits your schedule.

Remember, each session spans three weeks, offering you an immersive and comprehensive filmmaking experience. You’ll be diving into every aspect of film production, from scripting to editing, and by the end, you’ll have created a short film to showcase your new skills and creativity.

When is the Deadline to Apply?

The deadline for applying to the ISSOS Film Summer School program is not explicitly stated on their website. However, they do mention that the registration fee must be paid in full for a place to be confirmed, and if a place cannot be confirmed within 14 days, the fee will be refunded.

This implies that there might be a rolling admissions process. It’s advisable to apply as early as possible, especially considering the popularity of the program and the limited number of spots available. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it’s best to contact ISSOS directly or check their official website.

How to Join the ISSOS Film Summer School

Applying to the ISSOS Film Summer School is an exciting opportunity for young film enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the world of filmmaking. Here’s a detailed guide on how to apply:

1. Understanding the Programme: The ISSOS Film Summer School offers a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of filmmaking. You’ll engage in interactive lessons, technical training, and hands-on camera experience. This course is designed for students aged 13 to 18 and is hosted at prestigious university locations such as St Andrews, Cambridge, and Yale.

2. Choosing Your Session: ISSOS offers various sessions at different locations and times. For example, St Andrews has sessions from June 30 to July 21 and July 24 to August 14, 2024. Yale’s session runs from July 14 to August 4, 2024. Select a session that fits your schedule and preferences.

3. Reviewing Fees and Financial Commitments: The fees for the program include a registration fee and tuition. For instance, the total cost for St Andrews and Cambridge in 2024 is £6,900, and for Yale, it’s $8,900. These fees cover academic and elective tuition, accommodation, course materials, trips, activities, insurance, and more.

4. Preparing Your Application: The application process is online. Make sure to gather all necessary information, such as personal details, academic background, and reasons for wanting to join the course. Tailor your application to reflect your passion for film and how this course will help you achieve your goals.

5. Understanding What’s Included: The program offers 45 hours of academic tuition and 36 hours of elective tuition. It includes accommodation, course materials, cultural trips, evening activities, and even insurance. It’s an all-inclusive experience designed to enrich your knowledge and skills in filmmaking.

6. Submitting Your Application: Once you’ve prepared your application and are ready to commit financially, submit your application through the ISSOS website. Ensure all details are accurate and your application reflects your enthusiasm for film and learning.

Remember, applying to the ISSOS Film Summer School is not just about learning film; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in a multicultural environment, develop teamwork skills, and bring your creative ideas to life. If you have any further questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact ISSOS for guidance.

students walk and chat on a college campus

Building a Strong Network at Film Summer School

Attending a Film Summer School is not just about learning the technical and creative aspects of filmmaking; it’s also a unique opportunity for you to build a strong network that can benefit your future career in the film industry.

Networking in such an environment involves more than just exchanging contact information; it means establishing meaningful connections, learning from others, and creating potential collaborations. Here’s how you can maximize your networking opportunities at Film Summer School.

1. Engage Actively in All Activities: Film Summer School offers various activities, including workshops, group projects, and social events. Actively participating in these activities is your first step in networking. When you engage, you’re not just gaining new skills but also showing your peers and instructors your dedication and enthusiasm. This can leave a lasting impression, which is crucial for building a strong network.

2. Collaborate and Learn from Peers: Remember, every student at the summer school has a unique set of skills and experiences. Collaborating on projects is not only about completing a task but also about exchanging ideas and learning from each other. Be open to different viewpoints and try to understand how others approach filmmaking. These interactions can lead to lasting professional relationships.

3. Connect with Instructors and Guest Speakers: Instructors and guest speakers at Film Summer School are often experienced professionals in the film industry. They can offer invaluable insights into the industry and can be great mentors. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions, seek advice, and discuss your interests. Show genuine curiosity and respect for their expertise.

4. Attend Networking Events: If there are any networking events, make sure you attend them. These events are specifically designed to help you meet and interact with a wide range of people. When attending these events, have a clear introduction ready about who you are and your interests in filmmaking. Be concise but informative.

5. Follow-Up and Stay in Touch: After making initial contact with someone, don’t forget to follow up. A simple email or message on social media saying how much you enjoyed meeting them can go a long way. Keep the conversation going by sharing interesting articles or information related to a topic you discussed. Staying in touch keeps the relationship alive and can lead to future opportunities.

6. Use Social Media Effectively: Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter can be powerful tools for maintaining and expanding your network. Connect with your new contacts on these platforms. Share your work and updates about your film projects, and engage with the content posted by your peers and mentors.

7. Collaborate on Projects Post-Summer School: One of the best ways to strengthen your network is to collaborate on projects even after the summer school has ended. Propose a collaborative project or join an ongoing one. Working together on real-world projects can cement relationships far more effectively than casual conversations.

8. Be Supportive and Give Back: Networking is a two-way street. Be supportive of your peers’ projects and endeavors. Offer help where you can and be generous with your knowledge and resources. People are more likely to remember and help those who have been supportive of them.

9. Keep Learning and Sharing Knowledge: As you continue your journey in filmmaking, keep learning new things and sharing this knowledge with your network. Sharing articles, insights, and experiences can spark discussions and keep you connected with your peers.

10. Be Patient and Authentic: Building a strong network takes time and patience. Authenticity is key. People are more likely to connect with you if you are genuine in your interactions. Be yourself, and let your passion for filmmaking shine through.

Remember, the connections you make at Film Summer School can lead to future collaborations, job opportunities, and lifelong friendships in the film industry. Each person you meet could potentially play a role in your career development, so treat every interaction as valuable and invest time in nurturing these relationships.

Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in the ISSOS Community

The ISSOS Film Summer School program is renowned for its commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion. This unique aspect of the program enriches your learning experience by exposing you to a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds.

ISSOS ensures a truly international environment by limiting the number of students from any one nationality. This policy promotes cross-cultural understanding and collaboration, allowing you to work alongside peers from different parts of the world. Engaging in this diverse community not only broadens your worldview but also enhances your creativity and problem-solving skills, which are essential for filmmaking and beyond.

The inclusive atmosphere at ISSOS encourages you to embrace and learn from these differences, fostering a sense of global citizenship and mutual respect. This approach to diversity and inclusion is integral to the program and plays a significant role in shaping your overall experience.

How the Film Summer School Helps in College Applications

Attending the ISSOS Film Summer School can significantly bolster your college applications. This program demonstrates your passion and commitment to filmmaking, a trait that colleges often look for in prospective students. Participating in such a program shows initiative and a willingness to learn beyond the traditional classroom setting.

You also develop a range of skills, such as teamwork, leadership, and creative thinking, which are highly valued in higher education. Moreover, the international aspect of ISSOS allows you to gain a global perspective, a quality that is increasingly important in today’s interconnected world. Colleges often seek students who have diverse experiences and can contribute unique viewpoints to their campus communities.

Additionally, the hands-on experience and the projects you complete at ISSOS can be powerful additions to your portfolio, showcasing your practical skills and artistic vision. These elements combined can make your college application stand out, as they reflect a well-rounded, proactive, and skillful individual.

Financial Planning for Attending Film Summer School

Financial planning for the ISSOS Film Summer School involves several key steps. Firstly, familiarize yourself with all costs, including tuition, registration, and additional expenses like travel, visas, and insurance. Early planning is crucial, as it allows you to spread out these expenses over time. Consider saving a portion of any earnings or discussing financial support with your family.

Secondly, explore financial aid options. ISSOS may offer scholarships, and external grants or scholarships can also provide substantial support. Additionally, creative approaches like crowdfunding or community fundraising can be effective in supplementing your budget.

Finally, consider part-time work or internships as a practical method to save for the program. Managing your finances wisely is vital: Create a budget, track expenses, and make cost-effective decisions. Seek advice from counselors or financial professionals if needed. Remember, investing in your education at ISSOS is an investment in your future, providing invaluable skills and experiences.

The Impact of Summer Learning on Academic Performance

Evaluating the impact of summer learning on your academic performance involves understanding how these programs can enhance your learning experience, skill development, and overall educational journey. Summer learning programs, like summer schools or camps, often provide an environment distinct from regular school settings, offering a blend of academic rigor and creative exploration.

1. Enhanced Subject Knowledge and Skills: Summer learning programs often focus on specific subjects, allowing you to dive deep into areas you’re particularly interested in or where you might need extra help. For instance, if you’re struggling with math, a summer course in this subject can help you understand concepts that were challenging during the school year. 

Alternatively, if you have a passion for a subject like history or science, summer programs can provide advanced study that might not be available in your regular school curriculum. This focused study can lead to improved grades and a deeper understanding of the subject matter when you return to school.

2. Preparation for Future Academic Endeavors: If you’re considering higher education, summer programs can be especially beneficial. They often offer courses that mimic the style and intensity of college-level classes, providing a taste of what to expect in university. For high school students, this experience can be invaluable in preparing for the transition to college. Additionally, some summer programs offer test preparation for exams like the SAT or ACT, which can be crucial for college admissions.

3. Development of Soft Skills: Beyond just academic knowledge, summer learning programs can help you develop essential soft skills. These include time management, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. 

In a summer program, you often work on projects or in group settings that are different from regular school classes, offering opportunities to enhance these skills. This holistic development can be beneficial not only in your academic life but also in personal growth and future professional endeavors.

4. Reduction of Learning Loss: Summer learning, especially for younger students, can be crucial in preventing the ‘summer slide,’ a phenomenon where students lose some of the knowledge and skills they gained during the academic year. By engaging in educational activities over the summer, you can maintain and even enhance your academic skills, ensuring that you start the new school year ready to learn and succeed.

5. Increased Engagement and Motivation: Summer learning programs can reignite your passion for learning, especially if you’ve experienced burnout during the regular school year. These programs often use more interactive and hands-on methods of teaching, which can be more engaging than traditional classroom settings. This can lead to increased motivation and a more positive attitude toward learning in general.

6. Exposure to New Experiences and Perspectives: Summer programs often bring together students from diverse backgrounds. This can be a great opportunity for you to meet peers from different cultures and regions, broadening your perspective. 

Exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking can enhance your empathy, cultural awareness, and social skills. It also allows for the exchange of ideas and encourages open-mindedness, which are valuable traits in both academic and personal development.

7. Enhanced College Applications: Participation in summer learning programs can also bolster your college applications. Colleges often look for students who demonstrate a commitment to learning and self-improvement. A summer program, especially one that aligns with your intended field of study or shows a pursuit of academic challenges, can make your application stand out.

Overall, the impact of summer learning on your academic performance is multifaceted. It goes beyond just improving grades; it encompasses the development of soft skills, preparation for future academic challenges, prevention of learning loss, and enhancement of your overall educational experience. As you consider summer learning opportunities, think about how they align with your academic goals and personal interests to make the most of these experiences.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Final Thoughts

As we wrap up, think about where you see yourself in the next few years. Do you envision yourself behind the camera, bringing stories to life, and contributing to the ever-evolving world of film? If so, ISSOS Film Summer School could be a pivotal part of that journey. 

With its hands-on courses, expert faculty, and a community of like-minded peers, this program offers more than just a summer course; it offers an experience that could shape your path to college and beyond. 

Remember, the world of film is vast and full of opportunities – and it all starts with that first step. Ready to find out more and potentially write your own success story? Check out ISSOS Film Summer School and see how it can help you turn your cinematic dreams into reality.

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