At National Schools Partnership we have been very excited to be delivering the first National Youth Film Festival as part of our partnership with Film Nation UK. The Festival, a UK-wide celebration of film created especially for schools and youth groups, kicked off on 21st October with over 240,000 young people and educators attending across 3 weeks.
The Festival aims to inspire young people to watch, make and use film in new and creative ways that support their education and personal development, while building a lifelong passion for film. The Festival also helps educators to bring learning to life for 5-19 year olds.
As part of the Festival celebrations young people all across the UK had the opportunity to take part in over 1,300 events – including a massive free screening programme with 127 films shown, film-based workshops, and Q&A sessions with industry professionals.
Highlights from the Festival include the Selfish Giant gala event featuring multi-venue screenings and a Q&A with the young actors, and the exciting preview of Enders Game. Young people were also able to view clips from the yet-to-be-released Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, shown alongside a Q&A with actor Idris Elba, and attend a special screening of Wikileaks with a Q&A from the Cambridge University Conspiracy Group. Younger children could go along to The Gruffalo Animation workshops, and expert guest speakers included an underwater cameraman and the Primate choreographer.
Response to the Festival has been overwhelmingly positive with teachers saying “this was the ideal opportunity to broaden the children’s experience”, and “the film festival is a tremendous opportunity to allow all young people to access films, especially those who can’t afford it.”
The Selfish Giant was particularly well received by young audiences. One member of cinema staff commented that “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house at this morning’s screening of The Selfish giant. Fairly unruly kids were throwing popcorn etc and became visibly calmer and thoughtful when the film ended. Stunned atmosphere as they shuffled out.”
Another key element of the Festival was a programme of awards with thirteen categories. These included filmmaking awards, awards for “ones to watch”, best film club, and best use of film in the community. The filmmaking awards received more than 400 fantastic entries.
National Schools Partnership led the planning and development of the Festival including the digital development, booking management and speaker management. We also handled all communications to schools including recruitment, and the logistical management of over 400 cinemas. National Schools Partnership liaised with more than 40 distributors who provided films and created a suite of corresponding educational resources for schools.