Movie Posters: Capturing the Essence of a Story

byKaren Yarnall
After participating in the "Storytelling around the World" seminar with Dudley Andrew, the R. Seldon Rose Professor of Film Studies and Comparative Literature at Yale, I have created a cross-curricular unit that combines the study of storytelling in films and literature with the art of movie poster illustration.

Students will analyze and evaluate trailers (film previews that are snippets or tiny narratives) and movie posters using the narratology, filmmaking and art knowledge that they will be learning as we progress through the unit. Trailers and movie posters both share the goal of enticing viewers to see the films they represent. Thanks to the internet, these can be easily viewed in the classroom. To produce a greater sensitivity and understanding of storytelling traditions and cultures that differ from their own, students will explore foreign films along with more traditional Hollywood fare. After students have experimented with different art media and techniques, they will each create an effective movie poster from a film of their choice. These will be displayed in an art show for the community at the end of the unit.


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