For over a hundred years, the British public has enjoyed a love affair with cinema that continues to this day. For many of us, there’s nothing more exciting, more thought-provoking and more downright fun than a trip to the local movie house to see a film, whether it happens to be the latest Hollywood blockbuster or a lesser known UK production.
Over the decades, many of cinema’s more memorable scenes have become embedded in our memories for ever, and remain iconic landmarks of our lives. Who can forget the moment when ET soared into the skies? Or when a giant shark terrified the people of Amity? Or the moment Andy escaped in The Shawshank Redemption? The list could go on forever.
For almost all of us, the movies began to touch our lives when we were young. Whether it was via the magic of Disney cartoons or the adventures of Caribbean-bound pirates, the cinema became a refuge for us during a seminal period, a magical castle that filled us with wonder, excitement, anticipation, laughter and even a few tears.
In every young cinema audience, there will be a handful of individuals who will want to become more than just spectators, who will see in their futures a chance to become the next Spielberg or Pacino. For them, every trip to the movie house will be a voyage of discovery, and for one or two it will be part of a learning curve that will dictate their future careers.
There was a time, back in the 1980s, when the British film industry was in serious decline, but that has changed significantly over the past decades. The UK has produced a rich and diverse body of work since then, ranging from art-house movies that have won awards at festivals all over the world to spectacular offerings such as the Harry Potter series.
Needless to say, the famous names that bring us these wonderful films all had to start somewhere, and that’s one of the reasons why the National Schools Film Week is such an important event. Seeing movies as they are supposed to be seen, on a large screen with an audience, will set off a spark of creativity in some that will last a lifetime.
In recent years, the advent of the Technological Age has enabled many budding film-makers to dip their toes into this fascinating activity without having to spend a fortune. Video cameras and laptops are no longer the preserve of the wealthy, of course, so there’s plenty of opportunity to create a masterpiece with the most basic of elements. Even low-end laptops have video editing software, such as Windows movie maker, a great package for younger children to get creative.
The National Schools Film Week gives schoolchildren a chance to see movies from around the world as a group, encouraging the concept of attending a cinema as a social event. As well as watching the actual films, there are also discussions and question and answer sessions with some of the people behind the productions.
In 2011, more than 450,000 students were able to see free screenings across the UK, and for some of them the event provided their first introduction to the magic of cinema. The 2012 National Schools Film Week takes place in autumn and promises to be every bit a success as it was in 2011.