I studied film as part of my university degree, but I must admit that it always felt like a bit of a blag to spend the afternoon watching a movie and be able to call it work.
But films can be a great way to learn about the world, and now FILMCLUB, a nationwide after-school club giving children free weekly access to thousands of classic and popular films, is launching an ambitious 'Film Journeys' season. It's aimed at primary and secondary school children, to encourage them to discover British-made and internationally renowned films that they would not necessarily watch.
Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor supports the initiative: "FILMCLUB is incredible, it's brilliant how teachers are using movies to engage kids with the world... Teachers can use films to really open children's minds to the limitless possibilities that life has to offer."
Films in the 'Behind The Headlines' special season will include everything from Pop Idol in Afghanistan (Afghan Star) to an animated coming-of-age story about a young Iranian girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution (Persepolis). The films have been put together with the aim of opening children's eyes to cultures, ideas, people and places that they may not normally encounter.
Founded by film director Beeban Kidron (Bridget Jones' Diary: The Edge Of Reason) and educationalist and journalist Lindsay Mackie, FILMCLUB has access to a diverse catalogue of movies in 21 different languages and actively encourages members to watch a wide variety of films – from Hollywood and British blockbusters to foreign language films, black and white classics to thought-provoking documentaries. Insight from FILMCLUB's movie experts enable teachers to expose their pupils to interesting and rewarding films.
The network now includes over four thousand after-school clubs offering children the chance to watch a wide variety of films, as well as film industry news, screenings and talent.