About See-Hear-Feel-Film

See-Hear-Feel-Film is our groundbreaking arts program for third graders, using the immense power of cinema to inspire creative writing and critical thinking in young learners.  

The program serves over 1,400 children from throughout the Pioneer Valley – over 70 third grade classes.

70% of the children come from underserved public school districts and ALL come on scholarship!


What Students Learn.

Students learn that films are moving stories, that books and films have much in common, and that dialogue and descriptive detail make stories come alive. The activities help children understand how conflict is created in a story when a character faces obstacles.

By the end of the program, the students have gained an understanding of tools filmmakers use to move ideas from their imaginations into the world. The children see that stories live inside each of us, and that they, too, can become powerful storytellers and writers.


How See-Hear-Feel-Film Works.

The program uses short films and film clips from around the world to spark written  expression. The films range from a one-minute animated film created by an 11-year old to an eight-minute film clip about a boy who attends a school for the blind in Teheran. The films were carefully selected to help the children see the world from different perspectives.

See-Hear-Feel-Film is taught in five units.  During two visits to Amherst Cinema, students watch and discuss films in the larger class, then break into small groups of 6 – 8 led by volunteers to work collaboratively creating, writing and presenting their own stories.

Classroom teachers receive interactive training sessions at the Amherst Cinema, a comprehensive curriculum guide, and a DVD with all 8 films taught in the program. They can then teach three additional units in their own classrooms. 

Each student receives his or her own film journal!



The curriculum was designed by nationally known educator and media expert Anne Marie Santoro, at the direction of the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY, where the program has been taught successfully to over 50,000 school children since 2001.   See · Hear · Feel · Film is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy which incorporates the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.




The goals of See • Hear • Feel • Film are to use short films from around the world to help third-grade students:

  • Become more active, thoughtful viewers of visual media
  • Understand how to write with clarity, confidence, and joy
  • Improve their creative expression and storytelling skills
  • Lead more examined lives

See · Hear · Feel · Film provides opportunities for third-grade students to:

  • Exercise their critical-viewing skills and imagination
  • Experience a variety of films from around the world
  • Examine how filmmakers tell stories
  • Engage their senses to focus on their inner and outer worlds
  • Enliven their creative expression and storytelling skills using the tools of a filmmaker

Third Grade Children Served

70 third grade classes (over 1,400 children) from throughout the Pioneer Valley are participating in See-Hear-Feel-Film for school year 2016-2017.

  • Holyoke Public Schools
  • Chicopee Public Schools
  • Pelham Elementary School
  • Northampton Public Schools
  • South Hadley Public Schools
  • Greenfield Public Schools
  • The Bement School
  • Amherst Public Schools
  • Springfield Public Schools

Scholarships and Financial Support

Scholarships for See · Hear · Feel · Film are provided by generous donors to Amherst Cinema, and through Memberships and contributions to our Annual Fund.  


Volunteers, which include college students, seasoned adults and active retirees, are a key part of the program’s success. Volunteers work closely with the children during class visits to the cinema.  Click here for information on volunteering.

What Educators and Students Say About See · Hear · Feel · Film


“As a teacher with more than 30 years of teaching experience and having attended numerous workshops, I was completely energized after the teacher training workshop. I returned to my classroom higher than a kite and was able to transfer what I had learned to my students. They were thoroughly prepared for the morning at the cinema. As they climbed onto the bus, I overheard students saying that they couldn’t wait to come back for Unit 2.”  —Meg Gallagher, 3rd grade teacher, Pelham Elementary School.

“The best critics are the students, and they loved it!  They enjoyed it so much, they wanted to write in their journals on the way home!  They are very excited about returning in a few months and cannot wait.” 
—Diane DeLuca, 3rd grade teacher, Selser School, Chicopee.

“Better than Christmas!" —Holyoke 3rd grader

"I have been teaching for over 20 years and this was truly one of the best field trips we have taken."  
—Deb Ward, 3rd grade teacher, Litwin School, Chicopee





"Thank you for the wonderful morning at the Amherst Cinema!  My students and I were thrilled with the whole program.  My students absolutely loved it!  We can not wait to visit again."
Jillian Carriere, 3rd grade teacher, Peck School, Holyoke

“This was the best field trip ever!” —Chicopee 3rd grader

"I was amazed that my son  immediately made the educational connections -- that he found the film analysis interesting and  that what he was doing today, story boarding, could help him in drafting the narrative story he was recently assigned. . . ." —Amherst Parent

Read article on See · Hear · Feel · Film  from The Springfield Republican

Download Peck School's Storyboard Project