FilmClub to come to Cookstown

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SCHOOL children in Northern Ireland are set to benefit from the innovative FILMCLUB programme when the initiative launches across the country following a successful pilot scheme.

Pupils in primary, secondary and special schools in receipt of Extended School Funding can now broaden their cultural understanding and improve their literacy by exploring the world of films through the education charity, which officially launched last week in Holy Trinity College, Cookstown.

Cookstown District Council chairman, Sean Clarke and representatives from FILMCLUB were in attendance to celebrate the launch, which was also attended by teachers and young people from Holy Trinity College and neighbouring schools.

Attendees watched a special screening of Danny Boyle’s ‘Millions’, in Cinemobile - a magnificent, state-of-the-art 100-seater mobile cinema - and heard about the benefits of belonging to the scheme which helps schools set up and run weekly film clubs encouraging young people, age 5 – 18, to watch, discuss and review a diverse range of films from past and present, and from around the world.

FILMCLUB in Northern Ireland is a Northern Ireland Screen extended schools initiative funded by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and is managed by Cinemagic and the Nerve Centre. Currently delivered in 68 schools throughout the province, FILMCLUB is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular after schools activities with over 2,500 students taking part each week.

The scheme is now to be extended to 338 schools in receipt of Extended School Funding - to reach 75% of all Extended Schools in Northern Ireland and approximately 28% of the total number of schools in Northern Ireland - commencing in April 2012.

Speaking about the project, Culture minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, said: “I am delighted to support the launch of the expansion of FILMCLUB in the north of Ireland. This initiative has already proved itself in schools here.

“Children can learn so much about the world through watching film, discussing what they have seen and writing reviews to share with other children. Regular access to film culture should be an important part of every child’s life; my department has been working closely with the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to expand this initiative in schools offering extended services.”

Beeban Kidron, Film Director and FILMCLUB Co-Founder, said: “I am absolutely delighted that FILMCLUB is being officially rolled out to hundreds more schools across the region. The educational outcomes of our members are a great privilege to behold and we are looking forward to see the same outcomes and engagement in Northern Irish children as we have seen up and down the country in England.”

FILMCLUB offers young people the chance to watch, debate and review the very best in cinema. Through weekly screenings, online reviewing and close links with the film industry, the scheme is promoting new avenues of learning in an informal setting and is having a transformative impact on the lives of children. FILMCLUB members and teachers will be able to select from thousands of classic and popular DVD titles available to order via the interactive website (www.filmclub.org) through partner LOVE FiLM, arranged in special seasons to appeal directly to young people and covering every genre and era of movie-making. To celebrate the launch, this month sees a new season of films, each with a connection to Northern Ireland (http://www.filmclub.org/blog/details/756/celebrating-our-forthcoming-launch-in-northern-ireland-a-special-film-season)

The website also contains tips for members to discover new films and features over 650 hand-picked ‘FILMCLUB Recommends’ titles, selected by Danny Leigh – BBC Film 2012 host and former FILMCLUB Film Manager - as well as discussion topics, film guides, blog posts and FILMCLUB and industry news. Members will be encouraged to post their reviews on the website, with prizes awarded each week for the winning review. Other benefits include access to film industry events and talent through the unique “Close Encounters” programme of in-school VIP visits, webcasts, screenings and workshops.