Programme announced for first National Youth Film Festival; includes preview of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 3D.

Film Nation UK, a new organisation for film education, has unveiled the line-up for the first National Youth Film Festival, which takes place across the UK from Oct 21 to Nov 8.

The festival is aimed at giving young people a chance to enjoy a variety of films, engage with film culture and learn about the industry. Alongside screenings of new films, there is also a programme of screenings, workshops, events and the opportunity to meet industry professionals.

A total of 407 cinemas across the UK will take part, involving nine major exhibition chains and 70 independent cinemas involved, alongside 30 distributors.

There will be 1,500 screenings of 136 films over a period of two weeks aimed at attracting more than 250,000 young people. The festival is supported by the BFI, Cinema First, Film Nation UK, RealD 3D, the TES and First News.

Recent releases will include The Bling Ring, Wadjda and Monsters University; foreign language films such as Therese Desqueyroux; and classic films including Oliver! and Peter Pan as well as silent movies.

Every film has been curated for educational value and education resources will be made available for teachers to enhance the film going experience and develop learning. 

The opening film will be The Selfish Giant (Artificial Eye) on Oct 21 - for secondary schools - that includes a satellite link up from the National Media Museum (in Bradford, where the film is set) in which director Clio Barnard and young actors Shaun Thomas and Conner Chapman will take part in a Q&A (to be screened at multiple venues).

Other highlights include a gala preview of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 3D (Sony UK) on Oct 21 – for primary schools – with simultaneous screenings at 20 venues across the UK. These are being supported by RealD.

Q&A’s, workshops and masterclasses will include talks with actors, directors, producers and other film industry specialists including stunt-men, cameramen and costume designers.

A total of eight special events will be hosted by Magic Light Pictures, creators of the Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita and One Life, who will reveal how their animated films are made.

Highlights from the BFI Gothic season, which explores the darker side of film, will also be featured revealing restored cinematic gems from the early 1900’s.

Shorts made by young people will be screened before every feature screening and childhood favourites of stars such as Dame Helen Mirren (Cinderella), Guillermo Del Torro (Frankenstein) and Stanley Tucci (Oliver!) will be shown including an introduction from each on their choice.

The BFI is investing $40m (£26m) of lottery funding over the next four years into the film education project.

The board of trustees is led by Working Title’s Eric Fellner and includes James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and director Beeban Kidron.

It builds on National Schools Film Week, which ran until 2012.