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Media Studies - Film-makers and Beastie Boy hold masterclass

So many free film screenings and movie-making masterclasses are planned for schools next week that it is understandable if the organisers are losing track.

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So many free film screenings and movie-making masterclasses are planned for schools next week that it is understandable if the organisers are losing track.

So many free film screenings and movie-making masterclasses are planned for schools next week that it is understandable if the organisers are losing track.

Around 400,000 pupils and teachers take part in the 13th National Schools Film Week, which starts today in England and Wales.

Among film-makers is Adam Rauch, a founding member of the rap group Beastie Boys, who has recently directed a basketball film, Gunnin' For that #1 Spot.

What did the organisers think of involving a Beastie Boy in a question and answer session with secondary pupils? Ian Wall, director of the charity Film Education, appeared to have forgotten the session altogether. "I should have known that," he said.

Such memory slips are forgivable given that more than 2,000 screenings and talks are planned in more than 500 venues across the UK.

British film-makers will give masterclasses and join Qamp;A sessions, including Stephen Frears, director of Dirty Pretty Things and The Queen; Abi Morgan, screenwriter of Brick Lane; Kevin McDonald, director of The Last King of Scotland and Touching the Void; Michael Winterbottom, director of 24 Hour Party People; and Noel Clarke, writer of Kidulthood and director of its sequel, Adulthood.

Mr Wall, a former teacher at Holland Park comprehensive in London, said he and the other organisers had listened closely to what teachers wanted this year, and had seen bookings rise by a third.

"What's fantastic is that teachers haven't been asking for the large blockbusters, they've been asking for films such as The Counterfeiters and The Lives of Others," he said.

For around 60 per cent of the younger primary children, this will be the first time they have visited a cinema. The theme of this year's event is "Discovering Cultures", so several films have been chosen because of the perspective they provide on other countries, such as Persepolis and The Kite Runner, set in Iran and Afghanistan.

A range of international documentaries will be screened from Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? to The Devil Came on Horseback, about the genocide in Darfur.

Limited tickets may still be available. www.filmeducation.org.

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