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Into Film Festival returns to Northern Ireland

Date Posted: September 1, 2016

For three weeks this autumn young people all over Northern Ireland are invited to enjoy a free, fun and educational trip to the cinema at the Into Film Festival 2016 – the world’s biggest youth film festival, which returns from November 9th to 25th with its diverse programme of free screenings and events for 5-19 year-olds. The Festival, which uses the power of film to captivate young minds and bring learning to life, will host 70 screenings and events across Northern Ireland, including a tribute to Roald Dahl’s centenary year and screenings linked to diversity, wellbeing and anti-bullying.

The annual celebration of film and education, made possible by funding from Cinema First and support from the BFI through Lottery funding, a wide collaboration with UK cinema industry partners and delivery partners National Schools Partnership, is hosted by Into Film throughout the UK as part of an on-going initiative to place film at the heart of young people’s learning and personal development. Into Film is supported locally by Northern Ireland Screen. Supporters include actor Sir Kenneth Branagh, the Into Film Ambassador for Northern Ireland.

Open to schools, colleges, home educators and youth leaders the Festival features a variety of film screenings and related events. In this year’s thought-provoking programme, the Into Film Festival will offer a range of stories curated around six themes. Selected with educators in mind, the film titles – encompassing blockbusters, adaptations of novels and plays, British and classic films, documentaries, foreign language and world cinema – will address the importance of diversity and encourage young people to empathise with others. Films exploring changes in circumstance, environment, bullying and transition will offer the chance to debate current topics including immigration, loss and discrimination as well as individuals, movements and achievements that have changed the course of history or challenged our way of life.

In 2015 over 12,000 young people across Northern Ireland engaged with the Festival. Highlights from the Into Film festival 2016 programme in Northern Ireland include:

The 2016 Into Film Festival in Northern Ireland will kick off with a special Satellite screening of Matilda at the Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast to mark the Roald Dahl centenary. Other highlights from the programme in Northern Ireland include:

  • Special screening of Two By Two in the “Ark on a farm”, followed by a tour and interaction with the animals at Ark Open Farm Newtownards;
  • Belfast Zoo to give a talk on animal conservation at the Moviehouse Dublin Road, Belfast, with real life examples;
  • Recreating the authentic cinematic experience with a Cardboard drive-through screening, at the Braid Ballymena;
  • Ulster Aviation Society aircraft hanger to host screening of Paper Planes, followed by a tour;
  • Navan Fort to host a screening and guided tour;
  • Screenings in towns including Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Newry, Dungannon, Lisburn, Bangor, Antrim and Coleraine of a diverse selection of films including: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Brooklyn, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Jungle Book, Secret Life of Pets, Sing Street and Eddie The Eagle.

Teaching resources linking to each of the Festival strands will be available to download from the Into Film Festival website for use at screenings and in the classroom to facilitate further exploration of the films and the themes within them. Also available will be Into Film Festival guides for different age groups and a dedicated resource for students with Special Educational Needs and Disability. Autism-friendly screenings will be widely available and over half of the screenings on offer throughout the Festival will be accessible to attendees with a visual or hearing impairment through audio-description and subtitling.

In a survey of teachers who attended last year:

  • 98% felt the Festival activities were valuable to the broader education of young people
  • 83% said the Festival has made them more likely to use film or cinema visits to support the curriculum

Sir Kenneth Branagh, actor and Into Film Northern Ireland Ambassador said ” “I’m thrilled to support the Into Film Festival. It’s an incredible opportunity for young people in Northern Ireland to experience the cinema and be immersed in a film or a discussion. The fact that they could watch something that they would not necessarily consider seeing on their own – all for free – is a truly magnificent offer. I hope that young people and teachers in Northern Ireland take advantage of the Into Film Festival and come away with a head full of new insights, ideas and an invigorated passion for film.”

The Into Film Festival 2016 will take place from 9th-25th November. Into Film Club leaders will have priority ticket booking on Monday 5th September, with all educators able to book tickets from Tuesday 6 September. All events and screenings are free. For information visit

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