World’s biggest youth film festival returns to NI

The world’s biggest youth film festival returns to Northern Ireland on November 7-23, with 22,633 free places available for film screenings and events for 5-19 year-olds.


Bookings opened today (September 5) for the sixth Into Film Festival 2018, which is open to schools, colleges, youth leaders and home educators.


The Festival uses the magic of film to engage young minds in a broad range of topics. This year it will host 98 events in 34 different venues all over Northern Ireland; for programme details and to book free tickets visit


Held right across the UK, the festival will welcome an estimated audience of almost half a million young people and their educators offering a packed and varied programme, many linked to subjects in the curriculum.


Bridge Integrated Primary School in Banbridge teacher Paul Scowcroft said: “You must attend the Into Film Festival, it presents all children with the opportunity to embrace the cinema-going experience and storytelling is the key essence of film. It’s an absolute must.”


The annual celebration of film and education is made possible through a wide collaboration with the UK cinema industry and funding from Northern Ireland Screen, Cinemagic, Nerve Centre and support from the BFI through Lottery funding and Cinema First. The Festival takes place throughout the UK as part of an on-going initiative to place film at the heart of young people’s learning and personal development. With support from all the major UK cinema chains and a variety of other venues the Festival provides access to the big screen at its best.


The Festival opens on November 7 with simultaneous pupil premieres of Illumination’s The Grinch, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, London and Manchester. Additional pupil premieres in Northern Ireland include Cannes Palme D’Or winner Shoplifters and lovable, Christmas caper, Nativity Rocks. The programme ranges from indie titles to popular classics to engage young minds in a broad range of topics from foreign language films, documentaries, animation, classics and hidden gems from the archive.


Screenings will be held across Northern Ireland including: Belfast, Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Bangor, Lisburn, Banbridge, Coleraine, Carrickfergus, Glengormley, Larne, Maghera, Dungannon and Portstewart.


Highlights from this year’s programme in Northern Ireland include:



The programme supports educator and student needs and interests and has been curated in six strands:


Mental Wellbeing: Moving Minds

This is our wellbeing strand that aims to open-up discussion around young people’s mental health.


Year of the Woman: Empowered Voices

Titles in this strand are ‘F’ rated – this standard refers only to films that have either been directed or written by a woman, or in some cases both. If the films feature strong female characters at the centre, they are considered to represent the gold standard of the F-rating.


Visions of Europe

Celebrating our relationship with continental Europe, their respective film industries and film culture, with key titles from the past and present.


Saving the World: Eco Warriors, Superheroes and Revolutionaries

From environmental issues to superheroes, international politics and dystopian futures, saving the world is never straightforward.


Anim 18 Connections: An Animated World

In support of the BFI’s FAN-led (Film Audience Network) year-long celebration of British animation

– Anim18. This strand will feature new and archive animated content from across the globe.


Comedy Genius: Slapstick to Subversive

Complimenting the BFI’s blockbuster Autumn season, ‘Comedy Genius’ will give a platform to the stand-out comedians from film history. The strand is compiled with the help of young programmers from Into Film’s Youth Advisory Council and the BFI’s Film Audience Network (FAN), programming groups who have provided their view on what constitutes comic genius.


The Into Film Festival is supported by Into Film’s various educational resources and hosts an annual review writing competition providing an added opportunity for using the Into Film Festival to support literacy and critical thinking.


Accessibility and inclusivity are key aims of the Festival with over half of the programme offered as audio-described, subtitled or autism-friendly.


For programme information, to book tickets and download resources visit

Keep up to date

Receive the latest news, events, offers, competitions and so much more!