Sir Ian McKellen and Carey Mulligan back Into Film festival
Sir Ian McKellen, Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen are among the stars supporting the Into Film festival, which returns for its second year running.
The film event, specially for school pupils, kicks off in November with 2,700 screenings across the UK of more than 150 films, including documentary He Named Me Malala about Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Sarah Gavron's drama Suffragette, Danny Boyle's biopic about late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the gripping thriller Everest.
Mulligan, who stars in Suffragette alongside Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst, said: "The Into Film festival is really exciting because it is a great opportunity for young people to do this, and also learn more about the film industry itself.
"I think it's an incredible chance for young people to discover films that they may not have considered watching before, talk about it with their classmates, and possibly be inspired to follow a career in the film industry. And all for free, which is great!"
The 30-year-old actress added: "I remember when I was at school, and the times when I wasn't as engaged with the class, the minute a film was shown I found a way into learning.
"Film is an amazing learning tool - it enables people to understand more about events, history, society and much more... And it also brings people together and encourages discussion.
"There are so many great conversations you can have about different topics and issues after watching a film together."
Sheen, an ambassador of the education charity Into Film, said: "The Into Film festival is a great thing for young people to go to as together with their peers they can sit in a cinema watching a whole range of films, films that they usually wouldn't have access to or wouldn't choose for themselves, and connect with the film industry through special events, and of course it's all free.
"So that makes the Into Film festival totally unique."
Suffragette actress Romola Garai, Aardman founder Peter Lord and Terry Jones will take part in Q&A sessions, while there will be film-making workshops to offer students the opportunity to make and showcase their own short film.
Sir Ian McKellen, who has starred in the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as well as the X-Men films, said: "Education is a very wide term and it certainly should cover a stimulus and an introduction to ideas and topics and people who otherwise they might not know about. I can't recommend this venture strongly enough."
The Into Film festival runs from November 4 to 20, with tickets available now at www.intofilm.org/festival.