Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Today on a train from Swindon to Cardiff, children from FILMCLUB - the UK’s most exciting after school activity - met with the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Culture Minister Barbara Follett to discuss their ideas relating to recent movies screened at their school.

FILMCLUB is driven by a simple idea – that showing a diverse range of films in schools and cinemas will have a beneficial impact on generations of children as they grow up.

Championed by the Prime Minister since its pilot days in 2007, this government backed initiative, is proving that film is an exciting vehicle for informal learning - stimulating the imagination and the intellect.

Today, the Prime Minister commented: “The great thing about FILMCLUB is that you can access all of the great films from years ago. When I visited a Film Club the children were watching Hotel Rwanda, which is a very powerful film that tells the terrible story of genocide.”

January 2009 sees close to 1000 schools running weekly after school clubs, where young people are watching, discussing and being inspired by an extraordinary range of films. Within three years FILMCLUB will be rolled out to 7,000 schools.

The children from Wootton Bassett School in Swindon have watched a host of classic and popular movies since their Film Club began this academic year. Recent screenings include It’s a Wonderful Life, Full Monty, Bullet Boy and Trading Places movies which explore relevant themes of the economy, social justice and gun/knife crime. The Prime Minister, who is on a regional tour seeing for himself how the government is providing help to families and businesses heard ideas from the children inspired by their film viewing experience.

When asked what his favourite film is, the Prime Minister responded: "My favourite film is Cry Freedom. It was made by a great person and a great British film maker, Richard Attenborough. It's set in South Africa and is really the background to the story of Nelson Mandela."

Through the bespoke website ( and partnerships with other agencies, Film Club provides pathways for children to express themselves and explore their creativity through film and related art forms. These aims dovetail with a range of government priorities fulfilling the objectives of the government’s Every Child Matters policy in being both educational and enjoyable.

Background Information

The children meeting Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Culture Minister Barbara Follett are Chloe Kindred, Emma Marney, Rochelle Montousany, Kevin Emsley, Josh Harding and Sasha Alexander Wheeler. The teacher is Fiona Aicken and the address is Wootton Bassett School, Lime Kiln, Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 7HG.

Notes to Editors

• FILMCLUB was founded by film director Beeban Kidron and educationalist Lindsay Mackie as a non-profit initiative designed to give children weekly access to one of the most vibrant and powerful art forms of the last century.

FILMCLUB offers a wide range of educational benefits to schools including:

• Developing critical appreciation of film including narrative structure, allusion, characterisation, thematic motifs and cultural significance.

• Stimulating a vocational interest in film and the film industry through Film Club membership and interaction with the filmmakers that we offer - from
electricians to costume designers, directors to cinema managers.

• Inspiring creativity by increasing appreciation of film and providing progression routes with our partners to enable students to make their own films.

• Providing an entrée into a range of cultural appreciation that will have knock on effects to other learning and cultural activities including those in the curriculum.

• Developing debating and writing skills through discussion and reviews

• Improving literacy

• Broadening understanding of different cultures, languages, philosophies and societies has been identified by many teachers and a major factor in their interest in Film Club, especially in rural and multicultural settings. It also connects to the Respect agenda

• Deepening students understanding of the world in an accessible format

• Encouraging independence of mind

• Increasing receptiveness to learning

• Improved behaviour and engagement

• A vehicle for informal learning that stimulates both the imagination and the intellect

• A real opportunity for enjoyment and fun identified in the aspirations of Extended Schools

• FILMCLUB is funded in England by the Department for Children, Schools and
Families and the UK Film Council; in Northern Ireland by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland Screen and Cinemagic; in Wales by the Film Agency for Wales and Skillset Screen Academy and in Scotland by Scottish Screen.


LOVEFiLM is Europe’s biggest online film community. Sharing the FILM CLUB philosophy that film can broaden our minds in extraordinary and unexpected ways, LOVEFiLM is providing teachers and schoolchildren with access to a huge number of free DVDs – from Hollywood blockbusters to art house classics.

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