Empathy Week - an important time for film and education

20 Feb 2023

6 mins
IFA nominees from Northern Ireland
IFA nominees from Northern Ireland

Empathy Week (27 February - 5 March) recently came across our radar and is a key film and education date in the academic calendar, using the power of film to develop the crucial skills of empathy in 5-18-year-olds.

The free programme this year consists of five films of people's lives from Nepal that are tailored to three different age groups between 5-18 and accessible to schools across the world. You can register as a school for the full programme of films, lesson resources and action projects through their website. Throughout the week, the organisers are also putting together a series of events, assemblies and talks (as part of an overall webinar series) for students, teachers and even parents; largely focused around this year's theme of 'Opportunity and Education' and with the aim of building the #EmpathyGeneration. These will feature some of the best speakers in the education world covering empathy in creativity, sport, peace and war, politics, social-emotional learning, inclusion and even what it's like to stand on top of Everest (14 times).

We've always believed that film - perhaps more than any other medium - can encourage a sense of empathy, as it viscerally places the viewer in the perspective of others and allows them to truly understand different worldviews and experiences. We've therefore got a vast range of relevant material including *freely available films on our streaming service Into Film+, resources and youth-made shorts (both from Nepal and across the UK); the best of which we've rounded up below.

Empathy Week 2023

Into Film+ Titles

We host a wide selection of titles on Into Film+ that can instill a greater understanding of empathy in your students, from more accessible and visually centred films for younger pupils to topical and informative documentaries for older pupils around subjects such as mental health and gender identity.


These three resources explore many of the same broad topics as above, with the first two focusing on key foreign language feature films and the latter on our second Moving Minds project, which paired professional filmmakers with young people to create a film around a mental health topic of their choice.

Youth-made Shorts

From the Into Film Awards to our ongoing Film of the Month competition, we're passionate about giving young people the opportunity to engage with filmmaking; a process that engenders empathy by allowing pupils to actively consider and construct different characters and narratives. Watching some of those films for Empathy Week is crucial here, both in inspiring your students to try out filmmaking and because they're a quick and easy way of exploring perspectives/topics of particular importance to young people.

Each year, Empathy Week creates films around the unique stories of five individuals across the world so that young people can engage in experiences far removed from their own. As we mentioned earlier, this year's films all focus on individuals from Nepal; a country that we have a longstanding connection with having run a series of filmmaking projects there such as Camera Sika and Beyond Borders (all made possible through funding from the British Council). So, we've started this final section with two of our favourite shorts from Nepalese young people before showcasing four shorts from across the UK.

If you're interested in trying out filmmaking with your class, our Six Sessions from Story to Screen resource is a great starting place, as well as our many training courses for educators.

Shorts from Nepal

Shorts from across the UK

*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.

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