Kenneth Branagh has spoken of the "power" of film as a means of engaging pupils, as he was announced as an ambassador for the film-education charity Into Film.
Belfast-born Branagh is best known for his acting and directing interpretations of Shakespeare plays, such as Hamlet and Henry V, as well as for playing the vainglorious defence against the dark arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart in the film of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Branagh first worked with Into Film earlier this year, when he hosted a special fundraising screening of his latest film, Cinderella. He decided to support the charity after being impressed by the work that it does using film to help educate children in disadvantaged communities.
“Film is an accessible and powerful medium,” Branagh said. “It can reach young people from every walk of life, and inspire them to want to learn and achieve more.”
The announcement comes a few weeks before the start of the Into Film festival – the world’s largest film festival for pupils and teachers. Supported by TES, it invites 450,000 primary and secondary children to participate in watching and making films.
The event, which will be held between 4 and 20 November in 520 cinemas around the country, will include preview screenings, film-making workshops and question-and-answer sessions with industry experts. These will all be accompanied by teaching resources.
Tickets are now available for more than 2,700 screenings of over 100 films, held around the country. Branagh’s version of Cinderella will also be among the films shown, and 98 screenings will take place in Northern Ireland.