Explore SEN Screenings and Resources at the Into Film Festival

11 Oct 2016 BY Beatrix Clark

3 mins
Inside Out
Inside Out

For young people with Special Educational Needs, visiting the cinema can be challenging. Enabling all young people - including those with a range of special educational needs - to enjoy and benefit from the magic of the big screen in a relaxed and engaging manner is a key aim of the Into Film Festival.

It's so great to have this for our students [with] learning difficulties and disabilities; they get so much from this and the school wouldn't have the budget to facilitate this experience so from all of us… a huge thank you.

Jan Robinson, Lincoln St Christopher’s School (Into Film Festival 2015 attendee)

This year the Festival offers over 250 dedicated-autism friendly screenings of films including, among others, The BFGFinding DoryFinding NemoIce Age: Collision CourseFrozenInside OutKubo And The Two StringsPete's DragonThe Princess And The FrogFrozen and Japanese animation My Neighbour Totoro. Special features such as lower than normal lights and volume, and groups being allowed to take their own food and drinks into the screening and move around in the auditorium, will help pupils on the autism spectrum to enjoy a stress-free and enriching cinematic experience. In addition over half of the screenings on offer at this year's Festival will be accessible to attendees with a visual or hearing impairment through audio-description and subtitling.

To help you get the most from your visit our Supporting Students with SEN Guide for educators, available to download free from the Festival website, offers practical details on planning a visit alongside activities to support a range of levels and learning styles. Among the elements covered in the Guide are: tips on choosing your film and preparing for a screening, discussion starters, and activities some visual, some auditory and some kinaesthetic - for use before and after a Festival screening.

The Into Film Festival has enabled us to offer our pupils valuable learning experiences outside the classroom. Staff who attended thought it was a brilliant way for our pupils to see a film as they weren't worried about the pupils making a noise or having to leave the room and disturbing others. The pupils were very relaxed and enjoyed the film - they gave good feedback when they returned to school and were able to provide a synopsis of plot, likes, dislikes etc.

Helen Hemsley, Barndale House School, Northumberland

Our diverse programme also includes events to raise awareness of and empathy for issues around SEN. Two of particular interest are: a special screening and Q&A in Manchester of a short film entitled The Sea Reminds Me from Oska Bright Film Festival, the leading international festival of films made by learning disabled artists, followed by the British drama My Feral Heart, about a young man with Down's syndrome struggling to adapt to new surroundings following the death of his mother, and a screening in London of the thoughtful documentary Notes on Blindness followed by a talk with the filmmakers and the RNIB.  


Beatrix Clark, Communications Officer and Journalist

Beatrix Clark is a freelance communications officer and journalist. She has worked with Into Film for 8 years and frequently writes for education media about uses of film in education.

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