Filme und Audioaufnahmen über Summerhill

zusammengestellt von Dorothea Fuckert, März 2000

Wenn Sie über Hinweise auf Filme oder Radiosendungen verfügen, die hier noch nicht stehen, so senden Sie uns bitte eine E-Mail! Vielen Dank.

  1. Titel steht noch nicht fest.
    Das bisher längste Live-Porträt von Summerhill wird gerade end-produziert. Es sind die dreijährigen Recherchen und Dreharbeiten eines amerikanischen Film-Teams.
    2000. Director/Producer: DP/Co-Producer Editor:William Tyler Smith Julian Hoxter Ann Jackman. Genre: Documentary. 60-90 Minutes. Beta SP/Super 8/ S-VHS images shot by children.
    "New York, humanist filmmaker and supporter of Summerhill, William Tyler Smith is currently in post-production of what will be one of the most in-depth films ever made about school. His film will follow the narrative of Summerhill's struggle against negative and uninformed government and public perceptions of the school, culminating in the recent closure threat which will include the school's campaign and appeal against the Dfee and Ofsted. It explores the merits of democratic education and contrasts common perceptions of the school as exemplified by the OFSTED report, with images and interviews from highly well-informed and articulate pupils of the school.

    The film examines the workings of Summerhill from a long-term perspective, following both the emotional and intellectual development of the children over a period of three years, thus highlighting for the skeptics the benefits of democratic, self-governing education. It aims to transcend the superficial and elucidate the oft-misunderstood theories of A S Neill. It is an engaging film, shot in the true spirit of Summerhill, using camcorder images filmed by the students from their own perspective. The film will include interviews with ex-pupils actors, Rebecca De Mornay and Jake Weber, and supporters of the school, actors Peter Coyote, Orson Bean and Tom Conti, and will be sold to braodcasters worldwide.

    Smith's last documentary, The Third Mind, which is about the artistic collaboration between Doors keyboardist, Ray Manzarek and Beat Poet, Michael McClure was broadcast on the Sundance Channel last year and had its successful premiere at The Venice International Film Festival. If you have any questions about the film, please contact William Tyler Smith at .

    Project Description: Summerhill School, the world's oldest and most influential democratic free school may soon be forced to close its doors, a casualty of Tony Blair's New Labour "educational standards" campaign. The school, where there are non-compulsory lessons, where children have the freedom to develop at their ownindividual pace, and where students and adults share equal responsibility for communal decisions such as thecreation of rules, has survived for eighty years in spite of much skepticism and criticism. Its closure would deprive educational institutions all over the world of an important working model, and greatly lessen hope for the future of democratic education as a whole. This threat has caused an international outcry of support for the school from academics, educators, and parents. Three years ago, independent filmmaker William Tyler Smith setout with Director of Photography Julian Hoxter, to produce a documentary about Summerhill that would transcend the superficial and elucidate the oft-misunderstood and -maligned theories of A. S. Neill, the school's founder. One of the few films shot over an extended period of time in an alternative school, Smith aims to show that democratic schools can in fact be an extremely beneficial learning environment for children and a valuable learning resource for educators worldwide.

    Since the 1996 Education Act, the aim of which is to standardize education, the school has been under the constant scrutiny of Her Majesty's Inspectors. OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education), which inspected the school in March 1999, recently released a negative and oddly jumbled report on Summerhill to the Secretary of State for Education, David Blunkett, citing Summerhill as "abrogating its educational responsibility." Based on these findings, Blunkett has issued a Notice of Complaint, enabling the government to legally close the school within six to twelve months if standards described in the 1996 Education Act are not met. Strangely, OFSTED produced a positive report on Summerhill just last year. This year, however, the results of their "inspection" were quite different. And while the introduction to the report states that "This report cannot and does not pass judgement on the unique philosophy on which Summerhill is founded," the report itself objects to such democratic policies as allowing students to choose for themselves whether/when to attend their various classes, attacking one of the fundamental cornerstones of the school's philosophy. "For the great majority of pupils," alleges the report, "their curriculum is fragmented, dispirited, narrow, and likely adversely to affect their future
    options [emphasis added]."

    This seems rather a questionable prediction, given the list of highly successful Summerhill graduates in a wide variety of disciplines. The list includes London University mathematics professor Michael Burnal, artist Evelyn Williams, architect Keith Critchlow, medical science lecturer Dane Goodsman, Nuclear Physicist lecturer Cecil Waddington, music producer Gus Dungeon, and film actors Jake Weber and Rebecca De Mornay. The latter, who was appalled to hear that her alma mater faced closure, sent a statement of support for Summerhill. Within it, she states: "I spent roughly two years of my earliest education at Summerhill School in the Sixties. For me, it was not only an overwhelmingly positive experience, but a powerful influence on the rest of my life."

    In response to the OFSTED report, Zoe Readhead, Neill's daughter, who has been running the school since 1985asserts: " OFSTED is from a different culture. The inspectors were looking for something Summerhill was never meant to provide." This lack of understanding is clearly exemplified in their report, which cites some oftheyounger student's below average literacy and numeracy levels, yet later on seems to be quite satisfied with the older student's above average levels. Given that this is how Summerhill works, one would think that thiswould provide clear evidence to the inspectors of the efficacy of the school's ethos of self-motivated learning-

    Carol Fitzgibbons, Professor of quantitative research at Durham University and OFSTED "watch dog," describes OFSTED 's methods as arbitrary and in effect, meaningless. In a recent interview, to be included in the documentary, she states: "The philosophy of Summerhill is very much based on Rousseau and the idea that a child will mature naturallyand will become self-actualized. And therefore, in the early years of Summerhill, I would expect that their reading and their maths would be behind normal pupils. The critical way to evaluate Summerhill would be to do follow-up studies by the pupils who’ve
    been through Summerhill."

    Through showing day to day images of Summerhill, the film will examine from a long-term perspective theworkings of an alternative institution within a democratic society. Viewers will see how the children develop both emotionally and intellectually, thus highlighting for skeptics the benefits of democratic, self-governingeducation. Included will be interviews from ex-pupils including De Mornay and Weber: other ex Summerhillians from recent graduates to octogenarians: and supporters of the school, actors Peter Coyote andTom Conti. It will also include camcorder images shot by the students, historical footage of A. S. Neill and the school, footage of two recent events staged by the school (one in which the entire community held a general meeting at the Parliament and the other, the school’s protest at 10 Downing Street), as well as recent news coverage in the UK on the current situation.

    The fate of Summerhill School is an important political event that will affect the rights and freedoms of all who live in democratic societies. Does a democratic government have the right to quash alternative ideas, the elementcomprising the very core of the ongoing development of a truly democratic society? And does it have theright to close a fee-paying school, which both parents and children have chosen? Does it have the right to tell us how and where to educate our children? In the United States, for example, the subject of education has in recent years been the topic of much debate, and the boom of charter schools and home schooling is powerful testimony of parents' dissatisfaction with the state of education. Unfortunately, however, much of this debate seems to focus on how to improve academic achievement, and largely ignores the equally important emotional development of children. As David Gribble, founder of the Sands School and author of Real
    Education, recognizes:

    The question the ambitious ask is: How can we make children learn more? The conscientious ask: How can we teach our children the difference between right and wrong?; The conventional ask: How can we improve discipline?; and the intellectuals ask: How can we train children to think? No one seems to be asking the more fundamental and rudimentary questions such as: What is education?; What is its purpose?; Who controls it?; and, Whose interests does it serve?

    These issues and more will be explored in depth by Smith's documentary. Through a detailed and balanced portrayal of Summerhill School, the film will demonstrate that democratic education is a viable and practical way to educate and prepare students for later participation in a democratic society. Viewers will see that when children are given freedom, they are, contrary to common belief, amazingly responsible and mature, and need very little adult supervision. The documentary will be a fascinating, multi-layered investigation, and a must-see for anybody interested in children, education, and democracy.

    William Tyler Smith Biography:A native New Yorker, William Tyler Smith began his studies at NYU focusing on political theory. After continuing studies in Spain and France, Smith decided to combine his intellectualinterest in psychology, philosophy, politics and humanist thought with his great love of visual art. After having received critical acclaim for his experimental videos, A VOICE FROM THE STREETS and BARI-ELLEN, CAN YOU HEAR ME?, Smith joined UCLA's graduate filmmaking program where he was the recipient of numerous prestigious awards such as the Lew Wasserman Fellowship. Smith's mentor at UCLA, Hungarian director, Gyula Gazdag, selected Smith to share camera operating duties on his recently completed documentary about Alan Ginsberg, A POET ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE. While studying at UCLA, Smith wove ambitious visual tapestries with mature narrative themes in two short films, LLOYD, ELISE & JENNIFER &and NEW YORK. INTERIOR-NIGHT. Both films have been internationally screened at festivals in Ankara, Bilbao, Bombay, Valencia, Malta, Naples, Czech Republic, Barcelona and in the United States. With LLOYD, ELISE & JENNIFER, Smith was praised by "The Telegraph" in Calcutta, India for his "commendable restraint and marked control over his medium." Vidyarthy Chatterjee said, "Smith's films are a combination of video art, psychology and humanist thought." The LA Village View called NEW YORK. INTERIOR-NIGHT "provocative" and "challenging." The Daily Bruin, "bold and visually stunning piece."

    Doors keyboardist, Ray Manzarek saw NEW YORK. INTERIOR-NIGHT, calling Smith "extremely talented" with "a strong artistic and poetic vision", which led to Smith's first feature documentary about the artistic fusion of Manzarek and beat poet, Michael McClure. Blurring the lines between documentary, performance and narrative forms, THE THIRD MIND blends the creative forces of the celebrated poet's words, the musician's improvisational jazz-inspired riffs and Smith's dynamic visual style. THE THIRD MIND had its successful international premiere at the 1996 Venice Film Festival in Italy, its US premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, was broadcast on the Sundance Channel in November 1997 and has just been picked up for distribution by Mystic Fire Video (Fox-Lorber). Kevin Thomas, film critic for the Los Angeles Times said of the THIRD MIND, "an incisive and engaging exploration", "THE THIRD MIND has lots of energy and style and it is an altogether stimulating work." (Smith)

  2. Phone In: Summerhill. 25.11.
    1999, Radiosendung (BBC Radio Suffolk), 90 min.
    "Aktuelle Berichte, Live- und Radio-Interviews mit Schülern, Eltern, Fachleuten und interessierten Laien." (Fuckert)

  3. Matters of Fact.
    1999, VHS (BBC East), 30 min., Film von Malcolm Penny.
    "Dokumentation des Überlebenskampfes der Summerhill-Schule gegen die englische Bürokratie. Der Protest-Marsch zum Regierungssitz zur Downing Street 10, London, unterstützende Aussagen von Politikern, Schulleitern (Colin Reid, Headteacher St. Christopher School, Hetchworth, John Hipkins, Education Consultant, Interviews mit Summerhill-Schülern, Lehrern, Zoe Readhead, Leiterin). Bericht über die Summerhill-Conference 'The Free Child' im Juli 1999, Aussagen von Derry Hanham, Educationalist, ehemaliger Ofsted-Schulinspektor und Bericht über die Ausbildungs-Messe in London." (Fuckert)

  4. The Children of Summerhill
    1998, VHS, 60 min. Filmdokumentation von Bernard Kleindienst, Les Films de L'Interstices.In Englischer und Französischer Sprache (Untertitel), zu kaufen bei der Summerhill-Schule.
    "What is Summerhill like? Well, for one thing, lessons are optional. Children can go to them or stay away from them, for years if they want to. There is a time table, but only for the teachers. Summerhill goes against the notion of traditional schooling, and against that of parents obsessed with standards of success measured in terms of money. It also rejects a social system designed to turn people into manipulated and compliant individuals. But what happens to Summerhill's pupils in today's world? Archive footage and interviews with former pupils of all ranges, prove to be a voyageof discovery, and demonstrate a different way of thinking about the process of social integration which forms the basis of compulsory education." (Kleindienst)
    "Beste neuere Dokumentation zur Philosophie und den Funktionsprinzipien Summerhills: zwei ehemalige Schüler kehren nach 50 Jahren nach Summerhill zurück und beleben viele für ihr Leben prägende, angenehme und auch unangenehme Erinnerungen aus ihrer Schulzeit. Ausführliche Basis-Dokumentation der grundlegenden Prinzipien Summerhills mit Originalaussagen A.S. Neills, Textstellen und zahlreicher Interviews mit ehemaligen Schülern verschiedenster Altersklassen, Nationalitäten, beruflicher und familiärer Hintergründe." (Fuckert)

  5. A Class Apart.
    1997, VHS (TV ANGLIA), 30 min. Englische Sprache.
    Kurzer Bericht zur bedrohten Situation der Summerhill-Schule.

  6. Summerhill-Snapshots.
    1996, VHS, 22 min., zu kaufen bei der Summerhill-Schule.
    "Ein von Zoe Readhead selbstgedrehter Tagesablauf von Summerhill, von früh morgens bis spät abends, Essen, Unterricht, Aktivitäten außerhalb, usw. Ein von Interpretation weitgehend freies Dokument, da nur tatsächliche Abläufe gefilmt wurden." (Fuckert)

  7. 24-Stunden-Kulturreport: Chorknaben und Schmuddelkinder.
    1995, VHS (RTL), Film von Florian Hartung, 30 min.
    "Ein etwas tendentiöser, aber dennoch interessanter Vergleich zwischen der Summerhill-Schule und dem Thomaner-Gymnasium in Leipzig". (Fuckert)

  8. Kinder-Reporter: Hausaufgaben in der Sendung Kinder-Einspruch.
    1995, VHS (Sat I), 8 min.
    "Valentin Muthers, ein vierzehnjähriger Summerhill-Schüler aus Berlin moderiert diesen kurzen dokumentarischen Film über das Thema 'Hausaufgaben' und interviewt dazu selbst andere Schüler von Summerhill." (Fuckert)

  9. Kulturzeit.
    1995 (S3), VHS, 8 min.
    "Achtminütiger Filmbericht innerhalb der Sendung Kulturzeit zur aktuellen Lage Summerhills, Interview mit Gerold Becker (ehem. Leiter der Odenwald-Schule und Zoe Readhead, Leiterin von Summerhill." (Fuckert)

  10. In Sachen Bildung: Und sie leben doch-Summerhill und die antiautoritäre Bewegung
    1994 VHS (Hessischer Rundfunk), 45 min.
    "Eine typisch-deutsche kopflastige, bildungspolitische Diskussion mit Schulgründern, politischen Vertretern, Redakteuren und kurzen Filmberichten. Positive Ausnahme zur Kopflastigkeit: Summerhill-Fototagebuch von Inge Hammelmann, Redakteurin der Zeitschrift 'Erziehung und Wissenschaft' der GEW, Journalistin." (Fuckert)

  11. Pädagogische Trends: Summerhil-Die Legende lebt
    1992, Radiosendung (NDR), 55 min.

  12. Sendung Kultur: Summerhill-Gibt's das noch?
    1992, Radiosendung (S2), 30 min. Bericht von Inge Hammelmann.

  13. Happiness is what matters most.
    1988, VHS (BBC), 25 min., in englischer Sprache.
    "Ein sehr lebensfrohes, vergnügliches, lustorientiertes Bild des Alltags der Summerhill-Schule, mit alten Filmausschnitten und Interviews mit A.S. Neill, Interviews mit Schülern, Ena Neill und Zoe Readhead, Neills Frau und Tochter, die nach seinem Tod die Schule leiten ." (Fuckert)

  14. Rückblende: Ein Mann namens Neill: Kinder erobern die Schule.
    1983 (WDR), 15 min. Film von Christa Donner, Archivierung: DRA (0123879)
    "Anlässlich des 100. Geburtstags des englischen Pädagogen Alexander Sutherland Neill, der vor 10 Jahren fast neunzigjährig gestorben ist, ein kurzer Einblick in das Lebenswerk des Erziehers: die Internatsschule Summerhill, mit der in den 70er Jahren Begriff und Praxis der antiautoritären Erziehung auch in der BRD Anhänger fand" (Archivkarte DRA)

  15. Ich war Schülerin in Summerhill - Antiautoritäre Erziehung in unserer Gesellschaft
    von Juliane Schuler
    1982 (SDR), VHS, 44 min. Verleih (nur für interne Zwecke): Universitätsbibliothek München (3965)

  16. Situation: Wir und die Kinder:
    Summerhill heute - das Ende einer Hoffnung? Porträt einer Schule

    von Juliane Schuhler.
    1981 (Bayr. Rundfunk), VHS, 44 min. Archivierung: DRA (0033428), Verleih (nur für interne wissenschaftliche Zwecke): Universitätsbibliothek München (372)
    "60. Geburtstag der englischen Schule Summerhill. Die Dokumentation zeichnet ein Bild des gegenwärtigen Lebens und Lernens in Summerhill und geht am Beispiel mehrerer Kinder der Frage nach, ob das von der Hoffnung auf einen glücklichen und freien Menschen getragene Konzept der sich selbstregulierenden Erziehung dort immer noch gültig ist." (Archivkarte DRA)

  17. Summerhill.
    Produziert von FWU (410091) von Dennis Miller,
    1979 VHS, 28 min., in englische Sprache, Verleih über Landesmedienstellen.
    "Die Videoaufzeichnung informiert über die Lebensweise von Schülern und Lehrern der Internatsschule Summerhill in England. Interview mit dem Gründer der Schule, Alexander Sutherland Neill, machen einige seiner Grundgedanken über freiheitliche Erziehung deutlich. In vielen Gesprächen mit Schülern und Lehrern dokumentiert sich die grundlegend positive-zum Teil aber auch kritische-Haltung der Summerhill-Bewohner gegenüber ihrer Schule". (Spanrad)

  18. Sie-er-es: Porträt Alexander S. Neill.
    1972 VHS (NDR), 16 mm-Film, 15 min. Archivierung: DRA (72.314/F9).
    "Interview mit dem Gründer und Leiter der Schule von Summerhill über sein Lebenswerk, seine Auffassung von freiheitlicher Kindererziehung und Ihren politischen Aspekten." (Archivkarte DRA)