Revealing the 2019 Into Film Festival Strands

16 Jun 2019

5 mins
Primary pupil in the cinema
Primary pupil in the cinema

The Into Film Festival, the largest youth-focused film festival in the world, returns in November 2019, and we're thrilled to bring you the eight Festival strands that will shape this year's programme.

The strand summaries below gives you a taste of what you can expect to see in cinemas across the UK come November, all presented especially for our audience, and all completely free of charge. 

Tickets will be made available for all on 5 September, with 24 hours of priority booking for Into Film Club leaders on 4 September.

Want to be the first to know which films are going to feature in each strand? Sign up for Festival updates and you'll get all the details sent straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing. What's more, we'll also send you booking reminders to help make sure you don't miss out on the hottest tickets!

Mental Wellbeing & Identity

This strand will open up discussion around young people, identity, and mental wellbeing. The mental health spectrum is vast and complicated, and unpicking what we mean by 'wellbeing' can be a challenging task, as can being aware of the impact that a person's mental health issues can have on the people around them. Whether it is being there for others, learning how to take care of oneself, or simply grappling with the question of "who am I?" the films in this strand feature characters wrestling with such issues, with varying degrees of success.

Language & Creativity

Language and creativity are all around us: language, in all its diverse forms, impacts almost every moment of our lives, both positively and negatively. Alongside films in English, this strand includes titles in modern foreign and indigenous languages, allowing young people to see these languages in action and develop a greater feel for their nuances. Characters expressing themselves through the written word, the performing arts, play, the online world, and the language of film itself all feature in this strand, as do examples of the myriad ways we have of communicating who we are to those around us and the wider world.

The Natural World

This strand focuses on films that teach us more about those creatures and environments that we share the world with, whether they be cute household pets, farmyard animals, or fearsome jungle beasts. Many of these titles help introduce our youngest audiences to themes around friendship, kindness, looking after others, and dealing with loss. As the global climate crisis becomes increasingly urgent, and concerns increase regarding the planet that today's young people look set to inherit, understanding the world around us has never been more important. Despite that, nature's capacity to inspire awe remains undimmed, and cinema can capture the changing state of our land and seas in truly remarkable ways, as in many of the films showcased in this strand.


Film can be an extraordinary tool for igniting debate and developing our understanding that issues and individuals are complex, nuanced things. The titles in this strand inspire empathy, provoke conversation, and encourage young people to look at the world in a slightly different way, whether through stories of economic inequality, contemporary race relations, the plight of refugees and displaced people, or the increasing role of robots and artificial intelligence in our everyday lives.

Exploring History

During increasingly turbulent and uncertain times, looking to the past to gain knowledge, understanding and perspective, and to develop critical thinking, is as vital as ever. In a year that takes in the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the 50th anniversaries of landing on the Moon and the Stonewall riots, and the bi-centenary of Queen Victoria's birth, cinema continues to turn to history as a means of engaging audiences. The films in this strand will tell stories of remarkable events - those large and small, triumphant and infamous, ancient and modern - all in ways that will provoke, stimulate and inspire.

Fantasy & Adventure

Out of all the pleasures that film provides us, few are as pure as the capacity it offers for escapism, and an ability to take us into worlds beyond imagination. Superheroes, fire-breathing dragons, magical creatures, and explorations of life in far flung universes all feature in stories that celebrate the wondrous and dazzle with their spectacle, alongside more grounded, human takes on the spirit of adventure.


Growing up always involves a healthy amount of rebellion along the way. From establishing ourselves as individuals, challenging the status quos put down by previous generations, or being the only person to believe in the seemingly impossible, change - on an individual and global scale - can only truly come about through rebellion. Taking in coming-of-age stories, the quiet dignified protests of unsung heroes, and vibrant portraits of true trailblazers, the films in this strand celebrate the rebel in all of us.


This strand complements the BFI's autumn blockbuster season and celebrates one of the most enduring and loved genres in all of cinema. The strand has been curated with the help and guidance of Into Film's Youth Advisory Council, and the BFI's Film Audience Network programming groups. We have broken the genre down into eight sub-categories: contemporary; Broadway; fantasy and fairy tale; animated; family; star performers; the golden age; and non-Hollywood, to provide young audiences with a comprehensive historical overview of the musical in all its glorious diversity, right up to the present day.

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