Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Most Important Artistic Medium' Gets Champion; A Love of Film Helped to Steer Lee Hall to International Success as a Writer. Now, as David Whetstone Reports, He Is to Help Today's Youngsters along the Same Path

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Most Important Artistic Medium' Gets Champion; A Love of Film Helped to Steer Lee Hall to International Success as a Writer. Now, as David Whetstone Reports, He Is to Help Today's Youngsters along the Same Path

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

ARGUABLY there is no more powerful medium than film - and therefore no more useful educational tool.

A national initiative called FILMCLUB has proved very successful around the country and now more North East schools are being encouraged to take part.

Although it is a national initiative, there is a North East connection. The co-founder of FILMCLUB, and one of its passionate advocates, is the film director Beeban Kidron, who happens to be married to Lee Hall, Newcastle-born writer of Billy Elliot and much more.

Lee is to host a special FILMCLUB induction for teachers at the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle, next month.

Lee is one of many celebrities who have contributed to FILMCLUB's new "Films That Changed My Life" season which shows how film can inspire people and affect lives. Lee is also to visit his old secondary school, Benfield, and Collingwood Media and Arts College, Morpeth.

FILMCLUB is a network of after-school clubs funded in England by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the UK Film Council.

The scheme benefits from a partnership with LOVEFiLM, Europe's biggest online DVD rental company, which provides teachers and schoolchildren with access to more than 60,000 films, ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to art house classics.

FILMCLUB was piloted in 2007 and currently serves 1,400 schools around the country. But the idea is that over the next three years hundreds more will be added, building to a total of 7,000 schools.

Bafta Award-winning Beeban Kidron, who directed films such as Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Hippie Hippie Shake, initiated FILMCLUB with writer and educationalist Lindsay Mackie. She says: "I think that stories, and the telling of stories, are the foundations of human communication and understanding. If children all over the pcountry are watching films, asking questions and telling their stories, then the world will eventually be a better place. That's how important I think FILMCLUB is." Yesterday her thoughts were endorsed by Lee, who said: "Film is the most important artistic medium today. It is amazing to me why it is not at the centre of the school curriculum. …

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