National Schools Film Week 2012 – supported by the CEA and colleagues in theatrical distribution – saw a record-break 541,333 children and young people attend free screenings at UK cinemas, with around 15 per cent of those young people seeing a film at the cinema for the first time.

That number of children and young people, from 4,165 primary and secondary schools as well as those home educated, represented a 14 per cent increase on attendance in 2011. 185 films were featured amongst the 3,115 screenings at 530 cinemas across the UK. Participating cinemas represented 70 per cent of total cinemas in the UK.

Commenting on that success, Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Creative Industries said:

“Film is a fantastic way of broadening our horizons and exploring cultures, emotions, struggles and triumphs.  It can also be tremendously entertaining, and in the UK we are particularly good at making exciting, innovative and engaging films. National Schools Film Week is an excellent way of helping young people engage with great cinema and I am very pleased it has had such a successful year.”

Highlights included events with:

  • Writer Michael Morpurgo (Private Peaceful, War Horse)
  • Director Mike Newell (Great Expectations)
  • Producers Allison Abbate (Frankenweenie) and Elizabeth Carlson (Great Expectations)
  • Actors Alexandra Roach and George MacKay (Private Peaceful)

Over 2,100 school children and pupils with a sensory/cognitive/physical impairment or disability attended Film Week screenings. This highlights the continuing efforts of the industry and the event itself to improve access for all.

Film Week 2012 enabled children and young people to enjoy the social and cultural experience of seeing films in the cinema and to hear and talk to filmmakers, cinema managers, education officers and academics. Already the biggest event of its kind in the world and one of the most well established events on the UK film industry and education calendar, Film Week set the bar even higher in its 17th year.

This year Film Week featured 177 in-cinema events for pupils and their teachers as well as support for classroom activities, offering teachers and pupils an online library of curriculum linked film related resources.

Films screened during the week included British films such as Private PeacefulGreat ExpectationsPrometheus, Attack the Block, The Woman In Black, We Need To Talk About Kevin and Frankenweenie alongside international and foreign language films including Berlin 36, Le Havre, The Skin I Live In, The Well-Digger’s Daughter and The Artist.

In addition, new partnerships established by Film Education with Film Africa and the British Federation of Film Societies expanded the programme and its reach into even more communities. The British Federation of Film Societies brought more community cinemas and film societies into the programme thereby increasing the opportunities for children in rural and certain urban areas to take part.

Film Week continues in Scotland until 9 November as well as taking 7 films on tour across the UK with the London Film Festival.

A full festival report will be released by the end of November.