Explore Black History and Experiences on Into Film+

04 Sep 2023

12 mins
Rye Lane
Rye Lane

There is a notable lack of Black and Black British history across the UK curriculum, and while Black History Month each October is a valuable window to explore these topics, we believe that they should be embedded in young people's learning throughout the academic year.

Black History Month can help encourage schools to prioritise this area of British and world history, but more needs to be done to allow young people to understand how this history shapes the world they live in today, and how it impacts them individually. In light of that, we are proud to bring teachers a Black History and Experiences programme of films and resources, via our streaming service, Into Film+ , which is available and relevant for use in the classroom all year round.

Why film is key to sharing Black stories

Film is a vital tool for learning, as it can elevate stories from under-represented groups and cultures, providing a space for their voices and perspectives to be heard. As an inspiring and far-reaching medium, film has the power to amplify historical and current events that can be overlooked. 

In this programme, and in the films below, we want to celebrate a wide variety of past and present Black stories, as well as Black figures from all walks of life who have acted as inspirational change-makers for past, present and future generations. While many films focus on the deep injustices and trauma experienced by generations of Black people, we're also keen to showcase films that demonstrate Black experiences of joy, celebration, success and love. These facets of the Black experience are just as important to acknowledge, and can transform our ways of educating, learning, and thinking about these issues.

As well as a range of feature-length films, we also have a whole host of short films, documentaries and additional material that celebrate Black history and experiences. As well as streaming films with Into Film+, you can download our free film guides and teaching resources, designed to support you to guide your students into new ways of thinking.

Browse the films below, and stream them for free* with Into Film+, where you will also find curriculum-linked resources, film guides, and exclusive extras to help you delve deeper into the issues covered by this carefully curated selection of films. Plus, if you're a state school in England that's funded by the Department for Education, you'll have access to Into Film+ Premium, which offers even more films with which to explore Black stories.

Feature Films: Primary

Soul (PG)

A beautiful animation from Pixar that traverses the world of music and the afterlife to explore themes of finding your purpose in life. Accompanied by a bonus video from the filmmakers and composer discussing the representation of Black culture on screen.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (PG)

A highly creative and visually dazzling spin on the typical Spider-Man story, which sees an Afro-Latino teenager wrestling his destiny as his dimension's new Spider-Man - with the help of a colourful collection of Spider-People from alternate worlds. Accompanied by an interview with Miles Morales' voice actor Shameik Moore.

Queen of Katwe (PG)

Phiona is a young girl born and raised in Katwe, a slum in the capital city of Uganda, before finding international renown as a master chess player. This is an uplifting film about aiming high and never giving up, and is accompanied by interviews with actors Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo, and director Mira Nair.

Supa Modo (PG)

When nine-year-old Jo, an imaginative Kenyan girl, is diagnosed with a terminal illness, her sister and community come together and fulfil her wishes of becoming a superhero in this hugely charming and emotional African drama. Accompanied by our Supa Modo: Search for the Superhero resource to support filmmaking for ages 11-16.

The Princess and the Frog (U)

Tiana is a feisty young woman with big dreams in Disney's New Orleans-set re-telling of the classic fairy tale. Accompanied by a film guide that explores the film's key themes and topics.

Zarafa (PG)

This stunning animation follows a young Sudanese boy's escape from slave traders, and his incredible and perilous journey to Paris with a orphaned giraffe. Accompanied by a film guide that explores the film's key themes and topics.

Feature Films: Secondary

Rye Lane (15)

This hugely charming and uplifting debut puts a distinctly Black and authentically London spin on the usual romantic comedy conventions, giving the genre a welcome update for 2023.

White Riot (15)

This vibrant music documentary tells the crucial story of the influential Rock Against Racism movement in the late 1970s. Accompanied by a film guide that explores the film's key topics and themes.

The Hate U Give (12)

This a powerful film that encourages self-expression and introduces young audiences to current topics on racism and oppression, and how they manifest in society in both stark and subtle ways. Accompanied by an interview between director Angie Thomas and an Into Film young reporter.

Do The Right Thing (15)

Racial tensions run high in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year in Spike Lee's timeless exploration of gentrification and racism in American and inner-city communities. Accompanied by a film guide that explores the film's key topics and themes.

Hidden Figures (PG)

Inspirational and uplifting, Hidden Figures shines a light on a lesser known, yet culturally important story about diversity during a key moment in US history - the race to the Moon. It is accompanied by our Hidden Figures: Pretty Curious resource, which focuses on diversity and careers in STEM.

Black Panther (12)

A landmark film for both the superhero genre, and for wider Black cinema, this Marvel film sees the king and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda finding his authority challenged by threats from within and without. With its radical Afrofuturist setting, few major films that focus on Africa have ever looked like this.

Black Panther is accompanied by a variety of additional material, including interviews with actors Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright, as well as the film's stunt performers, and an introduction from the Mama Youth Project.

Blue Story (15)

Two best friends are torn apart by gang culture and South London postcode wars in this thoughtful and hard-hitting drama. Accompanied by interviews with director Rapman and the film's cast, who discuss the film's themes of gangs and street crime, offer advice for aspiring filmmakers, and discuss the challenges of filming on a small budget.

Pariah (15)

In this trailblazing film from the perspective of a Black lesbian, 17-year-old Alike struggles with heartbreak and her family relationships while striving to be her authentic self. Accompanied by a film guide that explores the film's key topics and themes.

Short Films

Drop Out (Unclassified)

Tobi has just received the offer of a lifetime to pursue his rap career but how will he tell his traditional mother he has to drop out of uni?

This award-winning short examines the complexities of being a second-generation immigrant and an artist, as well as raising conversations around the role of a parent in a young person's life.

Black Barbie (Unclassified)

In this vibrant short animation, a woman recounts her reaction when, as a child, she was given a Black Barbie doll by her mother. Accompanied by our Celebrating Yourself: Body Image (11-16) resource, which uses the film to explore body image and mental wellbeing.

Being Black (Unclassified)

Inspired by a series of tweets, this short film explores the daily struggles faced by young Black people in the UK. Despite its sometimes heavy subject matter, the film also celebrates Black experiences and identities through spoken word poetry.

Nuraiyah (Unclassified)

A hopeful documentary with beautiful cinematography, Nuraiyah follows a seven-year-old girl as she contemplates the wonders of being alive.

In A Room Full of Sisters (Unclassified)

This brilliant short film by photographer Ashrah Suudy celebrates the cultural pride that can be found in traditional clothes and in sisterhood.

Into Film+ Premium films

King Richard (12)

This uplifting biopic charts the early days of tennis sensations Venus and Serena Williams and the impact their father had on their careers, offering a sharp and emotional look at the early days of two sporting icons whilst also being an entertaining story with a fantastic lead performance.

Queen and Slim (15)

This beautifully shot drama explores racial and class issues in modern America - as well as celebrating African-American culture - as a man and woman go on the run after they shoot a police officer in self-defence.

Harriet (12)

This biopic of American abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman is an important account of an historical figure that is often overlooked and aims to start a valuable discussion about racism and its deep history in American society and politics.

I Am MLK Jr. (Unclassified)

This engrossing documentary uses original recordings, archive footage, and talking-head interviews to look back at the life of Martin Luther King Jr., and his role within the Civil Rights Movement in the US.

Films and more from the Educational Recording Agency

As well as the feature films and shorts listed above, Into Film+ also features an ever-growing collection of films and TV content provided by ERA (the Educational Recording Agency). This includes I Am Not a Negro, a searing documentary in which late writer James Baldwin looks back at his experiences throughout recent American history, most notably the Civil Rights Movement. 

Also available is Small Axe, a collection of five films from Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen, which explore many different facets of the Black British experience over recent decades. Each of these films is accompanied by its own film guide to help you further explore the topics and themes covered.

Stephen: the Murder that Changed a Nation is a harrowing but essential three part documentary on the racist murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence, which led to a landmark inquiry that exposed institutional racism within the police force - a topic sadly still all-too relevant today.

And finally, three episodes of short documentary series Inside Cinema from directors Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay and Jordan Peele provide valuable insights from some of the most prominent Black directors in Hollywood today.

How Do I Get Started?

To access Into Film+, all you'll need is an Into Film Account - it's completely free*, and only takes a moment to set up. Into Film+ is free to use for all UK state schools that hold a valid Public Video Screening (PVS) Licence from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia PVS Licences are paid for on behalf of schools by all local authorities in England and by some local authorities in both Wales and Scotland. Into Film NI cover the license cost for some schools in Northern Ireland. For further information on licensing in your locality please see our FAQs.

If you're a state school in England that's funded by the Department for Education, you will automatically have access to Into Film+ Premium, which offers an extended catalogue of 500+ titles. Find out more about Into Film+ Premium in our FAQs.

If you don't have a PVS Licence, or aren't already covered, then a licence can easily be obtained from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia logo, the words Digital, Entertainment, Technology appear


Filmbankmedia licenses and distributes film and TV entertainment to many groups and is the licensing authority we work with to ensure schools, libraries and youth groups have the permissions to screen films from our catalogue.

* Screenings for an entertainment or extra-curricular purpose require a PVS (Public Video Screening) Licence from Filmbankmedia. State-funded schools in England are covered by the PVS Licence.

Into Film and the Into Film+ streaming service is supported by the UK film industry through Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery Funding, thanks to National Lottery players. Since the very first National Lottery draw in 1994, public support - raised directly through National Lottery ticket sales - has funded more than 670,000 projects, raising more than £46 billion for good causes.

You may also be interested in...

Viewing 4 of 4 related items.

Into Film Clubs

Into Film Clubs

Find out everything you need to know about starting an Into Film Club.

News details

Want to write for us?

Get in touch with your article ideas for the News and Views section.