Chancellor Gordon Brown, Thandie Newton and film directors Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland) and Beeban Kidron (Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason) today launched Film Club, which aims to expose 10,000 primary and secondary schoolchildren in the UK to the joys of film.

Funded and supported by the UK Film Council, the BFI, LOVEFiLM, Film Education, All Industry Marketing (AIM), Film Bank / PVSL and Film Distributors Association, Film Club is the first national initiative of its kind.

The club will involve weekly after-school screenings for children aged 5-18 in 25 schools across Yorkshire, London, Kent, Surrey and Northern Ireland. Teachers and pupils will be able to programme films from hundreds of titles available via the website, where they will also be encouraged to write reviews and rate films.

A host of industry celebrities are backing the scheme by posting stories on the website, running competitions and making personal appearances at schools. Among others, Nick Hornby has put together a season of his top five comedy films, while Renee Zellweger has written for the website about one of her favourite childhood films.

Currently in its pilot phase, if the scheme proves successful and funding permits the project will expand to a further 10,000 schools across the UK.

Film Club was founded by director Beeban Kidron (Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason) and educationalist Lindsay Mackie.

Said Kidron: 'We believe that if we show Film Club to all the schools in the country, the stories they see and hear will not only entertain but touch the hearts and inform the minds of a whole generation.'