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NZ filmmakers produce unique drama series for English learners

A crowd-funded television series that is targeted at English language learners has completed filming, and is set to be released in early October.

Nick Williamson plays the lead role of Jimmy Fortune in Fortune Photo: Chasing Time English

The filmmakers have both worked in the language learning sector previously

Fortune’ is described by Chasing Time Productions as a “ground-breaking concept”, using modified language to create a drama that assists ELT across two proficiency levels.

The gripping storyline is aimed at adult learners – it centres around private investigator, Jimmy Fortune, who receives “a desperate call for help” that drags him back into a past life..

“Each episode has been filmed twice, once in level A2 English, and again in B2 English”

Filmmakers Scott Granville and Ben Woollen have both worked in the language learning sector previously, both in New Zealand and elsewhere.

“Scott worked as an English language teacher for over a decade both overseas in South Korea, and in New Zealand… Both Ben and Scott have produced a range of media content, both video and audio, to prepare students for major language examinations such as IELTS and TOEFL,” the pair told The PIE News.

To aid the teaching of English as a second language, each short episode has been filmed twice, once in level A2 English, and again in B2 English.

“As an example, in one episode, at the lower level we focus on the Past Simple tense while the higher level focuses on the Past Perfect tense,” the directors said.

In conjunction with classroom activities and vocabulary support materials, the filmmakers hope ‘Fortune’ will be a useful tool for both English teachers, and English learners.

“Teachers spend hours and hours of their valuable time watching popular shows such as Friends, creating lessons based on random features from particular episodes,” Chasing Time Productions said.

But they added that “these shows are created for English speakers, NOT English learners”.

The difference, then, is that Fortune has been created with the help of teachers, to fit in the classroom and curriculum specifically.

“We have worked closely with a team of highly respected English language teaching professionals to prepare the teaching and learning materials that accompany the first season,” they said.

Fortune will be released on October 1, and more information on Chasing Time Productions’ further projects can be found here.

Future series planned include shows aimed at young adults and at young learners.

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