WHEN the credits rolled out and the lights were turned on, the movie-goers gave a resounding applause. It was unlike any other movie that they had been to.
The reason for their glee and enthusiasm was not just because the movie was based on a much-loved classic Disney character, it was also because of the camaraderie the viewers had before the movie.
The audience comprised mostly students from schools in Johor. They were accompanied by teachers and parents for a special movie screening of Christopher Robin by Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) Sdn Bhd. This junior movie club programme is held in partnership with Star Media Group under its English for Better Opportunities (EBO) project.
What made this screening unique was the language activities and quizzes held in the cinema hall before the show. They were hosted by Star Media Group NiE (Newspaper-in-Education) senior executive Rowena Chua.
Students got to know the characters from Winnie the Pooh a little better as they read out descriptions and guessed which characters they belonged to. They also performed an impromptu skit with characters from the movie.
“I have never felt a greater impact when going for a movie - I won gifts and I made a lot of new friends!” said student participant Muhd Nuqman Mohd Zubir from SMK Taman Daya.
“The activities were great! I was nervous during the skit. But, overall, it was a good experience. I would rate the activities 10 over 10,” said the Form One student.
“The movie was also great. It showed that we should focus on what really matters in life. Plus, it was a nostalgic flashback to my childhood,” he added.
Devhadarshan Balan from SMK Sutera performed his part in the skit with much gusto as he played Winnie the Pooh.
“The activities before the movie were very enjoyable. It’s nice that I could enjoy myself and learn English at the same time.”
The Form One student admitted to choking up during the heart-warming movie. “I would encourage my friends to watch Christopher Robin as it conveys a meaningful message. I think a lot of thought was put into this movie.”
Form One student Sherlyn Mah Mei Ying had been wanting to see the movie ever since she saw the trailer.
“Winnie the Pooh is cute and likes honey, just like me! The activities before the show added some learning experience to this movie trip. I hope that I can improve my English as I don’t speak English very well,” said the SMK Taman Daya student.
“The movie showed us that family and friends are very important and that we should spend more time with them. Winnie the Pooh is a wise and interesting character. This movie imparts moral values. I also learnt a lot of new words from the movie.”
Her teacher Santhanalakshmi Pachiyappan, also from SMK Taman Daya said, “It brings together students from many schools in Johor. It is also enjoyable for teachers to join the students on this movie outing.
“Apart from using NiE in the classroom, I will be having post-activities in my class. We look forward to seeing more of this programme in the near future. I think this initiative in promoting fun English learning should continue.”
This special movie screening is the first of three to be held at its 16-screen GSC Paradigm Mall Johor Baru multiplex.
All three movies, which are based on books, will lend its visual stimulation to storytelling.
GSC chief executive officer Koh Mei Lee said these movies help bridge the gap between the written word and motion pictures.
“By engaging younger audiences using movies, we hope to enable them to see, hear, and practise English as it is spoken and used throughout the movie.
“More than that, we also hope that they find the passion for the worlds created by these movies, and thus seek out the original source to read and discover for themselves.”
She also noted that the importance of English as a key language for communication, especially in business, is often overlooked and underestimated.
“Through this initiative, we intend to create an opportunity for them to discover English with the movies and experience it in a way that would help enrich their literacy and proficiency, while teaching them other skills that can help them be better communicators.
“This social event also enables them to connect with other like-minded peers, which helps them forge mutual friendships and bonds that can help them improve their social skills as well,” she added.
The other movie screenings – Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – are slated to be held in October and November respectively.