UK film festival starts at the Hippodrome

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Where better to launch a national film festival which aims to introduce young people to the joy of films than Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema?

The Hippodrome in Bo’ness is promising to roll out the red carpet after being chosen to launch Into Film Festival – the world’s biggest free film festival for children and young people.

Opening in Bo’ness today, the nationwide festival runs until November 25.

During that time, 150 films will be shown, with the aim of immersing young people in the world of film watching and making.

Programmer Alison Strauss said: “The Hippodrome is well-loved and well-used by schools in the area and it’s great to be able to offer pupils and teachers something extra special during this year’s Into Film Festival.

“We’ll roll out our real-life red carpet to make sure all our guests enjoy the special festival atmosphere.”

Into Film isn’t just about going to the cinema to passively watch a film.

The festival promises rich educational resources to accompany films.

Celebrity backers include Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen and Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor.

Actor Michael Sheen, star of The Queen, is also backing the event.

He said: “When you’re watching a film it feels like you’re being entertained but at the same time it’s a window to the world of other cultures, other possibilities.

“The Into Film Festival is a great thing for young people to go to as, together with their peers, they can sit in a cinema watching a whole range of films that they usually wouldn’t have access to or wouldn’t choose.” 

The Hippodrome event is particularly showcasing the Scots language.

And the film that launches it all? A red carpet showing of the Roald Dahl classic, Fantastic Mr Fox.

It will be introduced by the National Scriever, Hamish MacDonald, who will read from Sleekit Mr Tod – the Scots language version of Fantastic Mr Fox.

The writer was appointed as Scotland’s first National Scriever in 2015 with a remit to create original new work in Scots and raise the profile of the Scots language.

He has been involved with recent screenings of The Gruffalo and Fantastic Mr Fox for schools which, he said, were “a joy to be involved in”.

He added: “The crossover into Scots through the use of contemporary book translations before film showings has given children a chance to extend their vocabularies and broaden understanding of language.

“Into Film is a lively and imaginative venture which is great to be a part of.”

The children attending the special event will then get the chance to use their own Scots language skills.

Following the screening, there will be a workshop on review writing in Scots and the youngsters will have the chance to win prizes.

Bruce Eunson, the Scots language co-ordinator for Education Scotland, will also explain why it is vital to keep the Scots tongue alive through education.

He said: “It is important that we recognise, respect and value the wide and varied Scots dialects children use.”

Across the country, the festival will use films to address a wide range of issues such as diversity, well-being and anti-bullying.

And they all have a variety of teaching resources to bring them to life after the credits roll.

The films are diverse too – from IceAge 3: Collision Course; to Stick Man & Room on the Broom.

For full listings, visit