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Actors Rhys Ifans and Matthew Rhys call on Welsh teachers to make most of free film festival

With bookings now live for the Into Film Festival, where pupils and teachers go free, the leading education charity’s celebrity ambassadors, Rhys Ifans and Matthew Rhys, are today calling on teachers and other educators in Wales to book as soon as possible in order to make the most of the world’s largest free film festival.

Now in its 7th year, and coming to Wales between 6 and 22 November, the UK-wide Into Film Festival, offers a rare opportunity for children and young people between the ages of 5 and 19 years to go to the cinema for free. Its purpose is to bring film into the heart of the classroom, while offering teachers and other educators a wealth of complementary educational resources to support literacy, numeracy and digital literacy, as well as other requirements under the new Welsh curriculum.

This year, Into Film has called on some of its celebrity ambassadors to help curate the festival’s programme. Matthew Rhys who chose E.T. says: “This was the first film I ever saw in the cinema. For many reasons, I’m glad it was. That first experience was and still is so enormously vivid. Of course, I may be biased but I think E.T. might be the perfect film for a first time visit to the cinema…especially if you’re seven. The film I think has every exponent that a film should have….an incredible narrative, suspense, thrilling peril that is enormously emotional. But most of all, it has true magic. Which is what every trip to the cinema should potentially have. Let alone your first!”

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Rhys Ifans, who chose Oliver! (showing at Chapter Arts Centre, 8 Nov) as it is one of his ‘all-time favourite films’ says:What’s great about the film festival, which is completely free, is that you’re opening up a world of possibilities for all, regardless of how much money they have in their pocket. Film should be accessible to all and I, for one, want to champion its power.”

The festival programme includes a range of blockbuster and classic films, including pupil premiere, 2040, an environmental documentary with UNICEF and Greenpeace pre-screening sessions (6 November in Caernarfon and Cardiff); How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Singin in the Rain; Mary Poppins Returns;Peter Rabbit; Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseRocketman;Eighth Grade; and Welsh language films, Deian and Loliand Gwen.

A range of special events will also be held in Wales, complementing the eight festival strands including: Mental Wellbeing & Identity, Language & Creativity, The Natural World, Exploring History, Debate, Fantasy & Adventure, Rebellion and Musicals. These include a session in partnership with the Irish Film Festival about Are you Proud; a panel discussion on women’s rights with the film On the Basis of Sex; a careers’ talk with Bait Studio and Creative Pathways; Q&A with Modern Films and Dirty Godlead actor Vicky Knight; a review writing workshop with Welsh language film Deian a Loli; as well as sessions with Epilepsy Action Cymru and Oxfam Cymru.

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Non Stevens, Head of Into Film Cymru, said: “We’re thrilled in Wales to have Rhys Ifans and Matthew Rhys share their favourite children’s film, both of which will be screened at the Festival. There are some fantastic films – and resources – this year, as well as our annual Into Film Festival review writing competition, and we’re encouraging schools to book as soon as possible in order to avoid disappointment. 

“For me, I’m very much looking forward to our pupil premiere, which will be the new climate change documentary 2040, supported by Greenpeace and UNICEF. It offers a hopeful response to youth ‘eco-anxiety’ and I can’t wait to see it.” 

The Into Film Festival, hosted by film education charity, Into Film is supported by Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery funding and backed by the UK film industry. It is notably one of the biggest, free cultural events of the year and is curated for UK pupils aged 5-19 offering over 3,000 film screenings and speaker events covering a vast range of curriculum-linked topics.

The Into Film Festival 2019 will take place from 6-22 November.  All events and screenings are free. For programme information, to sign up for priority bookings, book tickets and download resources visit: www.intofilm.org/iff19bookings

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