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Kirsty calls for support for film club project

June 25, 2009 4:23 PM

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has welcomed the successful FILMCLUB pilot Scheme and called for support for its expansion in an Assembly statement of opinion.

The Welsh pilot gets school pupils involved in setting up clubs where they can watch, discuss, review and debate films. FILMCLUB is giving schoolchildren free weekly access to thousands of classic and popular titles. There are currently 17 clubs running across Wales, with project partners, the Film Agency for Wales, Skillset Screen Academy Cymru and ContinYou Cymru seeking to extend the scheme throughout the country.

Welsh film star Michael Sheen recently lent his support to the project, visiting 2 schools in Rhondda Cynon Taff to talk to them about getting into the film industry.

Kirsty Williams said: "Films play a very important part in the social and cultural development of our children and our society. They can inspire, educate and broaden the minds of our young people.

"I still remember the first time a saw Twelve Angry Men, with Henry Fonda, a gripping film which made me truly think about justice and prejudice and reshaped some of my ideas. "

FILMCLUB allows children, who may not otherwise have the opportunity, to access a vast array of films from classics to more modern day pieces and allows them to analyze and debate in a way that builds confidence, opinion and tolerance.

"I hope that the statement of opinion will gain cross party support from Assembly Members and will ensure the future of this great scheme so as to bring the wonder of film to more Welsh children."

Pauline Burt, Chief Executive of the Film Agency for Wales said: "FILMCLUB is designed to inspire pupils about all aspects of film and give them an insight into the industry. This is a wonderful opportunity to spark the imaginations of young people and broaden their horizons. Film clubs in Wales are a way to noticeably improve so called 'soft skills' - communication, social integration, a sense of citizenship and an ability to engage with others - delivered through the enjoyable and accessible medium of film.

We would like every 8-18 year old in Wales to have the chance to learn about and enjoy film through after school clubs. A final evaluation of the pilot is taking place in July, providing a key tool in the campaign to raise ongoing funding for the scheme in Wales. After such a successful year with our 17 clubs, it is vital we and our partners Skillset Screen Academy Wales and ContinYou Cymru share the positive impact of the scheme with the Welsh Assembly Government and Local Education Authorities in order to secure FILMCLUB's future in Wales."

The Statement of opinion reads:

This Assembly:

  • celebrates the work of the FILMCLUB pilot in Wales, which introduces children and young people to the wonder of film, helping them broaden their horizons and strengthen their literacy skills through watching, reviewing, critical appreciation and group discussion
  • welcomes actor Michael Sheen as the ambassador for the scheme in Wales
  • supports the Film Agency for Wales, Skillset Screen Academy Cymru and ContinYou Cymru in their work to extend the scheme throughout Wales