Into Film and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

20 Nov 2019

7 mins

Today, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), we want to demonstrate the ways in which we at Into Film embed a 'children's rights approach' in our work. We also want to give an idea of how the films in our 3,000-strong catalogue can help flesh-out some of the articles that make up the internationally binding agreement, which was adopted 30 years ago today, on 20 November 1989.

We offer each child and young person from the age of five the opportunity to experience film creatively, whether that be by facilitating Into Film Clubs, offering our free annual Into Film Festival, or by encouraging entry into our prestigious Into Film Awards. As just one example of how this ties into the treatry, Into Film Clubs can help children learn about the importance of certification on films, which falls under Article 17 of UNCRC - "being protected from information that could be harmful".

In our work in each of the UK's four nations, we take seriously the rights of children and young people. That's why, as part of this year's Into Film Festival, we worked with partner UNICEF to present simultaneous pupil premieres of environmental documentary 2040 at cinemas across the UK. Young audiences were encouraged to take part in the #WhatsYour2040 campaign, to imagine their vision for a sustainable future. In Wales, this meant young people heading down to the Welsh Assembly to deliver their suggestions for a greener Wales to politicians.

Identifying children and young people as active citizens is vital, and our 2040 activity supported both Article 12 and Article 29 of the UNCRC: in "helping children and young people to form opinions and for these opinions to matter"; and "for them to receive the kind of education that encourages them to value and respect the environment".

Watching, critiquing, reviewing and making films is in the "best interests of the child", which supports Article 3 - one of the most important articles of the UNCRC. It means that young people's interests should be thought about at all levels of society - including within charities like Into Film - and that their rights be respected by people in power.

Our day-to-day work with young reporters and the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) does just this. We help demonstrate how young people can have a potentially vital role in shaping their classroom and school, their community and even their world. For instance, our young reporters regularly have the opportunity to engage with the film industry and interview actors on the red carpet - very much as equals.

Our YAC members, meanwhile, are an ever-evolving panel of passionate young people aged between 10 and 18 years, who once helped us decide on our very name and logo, and who today are empowered to help shape not only our film catalogue, but also our film festival, competitions, and even our teaching resources. Children and young people have a right to be heard - and we make it our business to listen to them.

Film itself can, of course, also help develop pupils' understanding of the UNCRC (supporting Article 42). Timm Dadds, an Into Film teacher ambassador in Wales, has helped his pupils develop a short film offering a whistle-stop tour of the UNCRC's key articles. Even the very act of creating a short film (Article 13) is a celebration of the UNCRC itself, in that it can offer an impactful way for children and young people to express themselves regarding the problems they face, like accessing safe spaces to play and combating cyber-bullying (Article 31), and can help adults to sit up and take notice.

The UNCRC matters - how can your school or Into Film Club help support it? 

Films to Support Key Articles of the UNCRC

Below, we're suggesting some films from our catalogue that you can order for free for your school or Into Film Club to help support and explore the issues raised by some of the key articles that make up the UNCRC.

Don't have an Into Film Club? Sign up today and gain access to our free catalogue of over 3,000 films and help young people be aware of their rights.

Article 27: You have the right to a good enough standard of living, like food, clothes and a place to live

Article 28: You have the right to education

Article 30: You have the right to enjoy your own culture, practise your own religion, and use your own language

Article 31: You have the right to play and relax by doing things like sports, music and drama

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