National Schools Film Week begins this week in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with every sign that by the time doors finally close on 6 November in Scotland, this year’s festival will be the most successful ever, surpassing even last year’s total of over 400,000 bookings.

This year, almost 2,500 film screenings are being held free of charge to schoolchildren in over 560 locations across the UK as part of the 14th National Schools Film Week, already the biggest event of its kind in the world.

Children and young people attending each screening will be greeted by a specially-commissioned trailer featuring supportive comments from famous industry faces such as Danny Boyle, Kevin Macdonald, Paul Greengrass and Gurinder Chadha.

Supported by the CEA through All Industry Marketing, the festival’s goal is to support classroom teaching by providing schools with a powerful experience for their students that links directly to elements of the curriculum.

A number of introductions, masterclasses, talks and events will take place before and after the screenings, including masterclasses on the process of film classification from a BBFC examiner, ‘Meet the Critics’ masterclasses by journalists, talks by senior lecturers at regional universities and storytellers.

Again the programme will feature a range of current and forthcoming films to address topical and challenging issues shown from a variety of different perspectives.

Films for primary schools include: Igor, Night at the Museum, Charlotte’s Web, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Bolt, Secret of Moonacre and Coraline whilst older students will be attending screenings of: The Kite Runner, Persepolis, Walz with Bashir, The End of the Line, The Orphanage, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Somers Town.

Looking forward to the festival, Film Education Director Ian Wall said:

‘It’s amazing to see how National Schools Film Week has grown in just 14 years. When Film Education launched it, we didn’t dare to dream that it would become this big, with this many separate events and locations. We believe passionately that film can play a pivotal role in education. For many kids across the country, this will be their first magical experience of cinema.’