THE power of films to inspire and educate Scottish pupils is to be harnessed under an ambitious new £500,000 initiative.
The Into Film Scotland project, backed by the British Film Institute, will see a catalogue of thousands of films made available to schools across the country free of charge.
Curriculum materials have also been prepared to help teachers hold critical discussions with pupils about the movies they see as part of the new film clubs.
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The film education programme, created in collaboration with a range of bodies including Scottish Film, Creative Scotland and curriculum body Education Scotland, will also help pupils make their own films.
There will also be opportunities for pupils to develop skills such as writing film reviews, visit film sets and be given information about careers in the industry.
Speaking at the project launch at St Mungo's Academy in Glasgow, Paul Reeve, the chief executive officer of Into Film, said the medium was one of the richest educational resources available.
"Its compelling stories have enormous historic, literary, geographic, linguistic, cultural and social value and the relevance these stories embody speaks across age, class, gender and background," he said.
The project has been backed by industry figures including Kevin Macdonald, who directed The Last King of Scotland, and Ewan McGregor, the star of Trainspotting.
Macdonald, who was born in Glasgow, said: "Film is so beneficial, it has the power to inspire, connect and expand our understanding of each other and the world around us.
"I'm really proud to be part of the film industry here in Scotland and it's so important that we nurture and educate the upcoming generation of talented young filmmakers so they understand and embrace all the opportunities that are available for them right here on their doorstep.
"Films have the capacity to take you to a magical place and I remember queuing up in Sauchiehall Street with great excitement to see the first Star Wars film.
"Harnessing the enthusiasm young people have for films and allowing them to discuss the themes that lie behind them is a vital educational tool."
McGregor added: "It's brilliant how teachers are using movies to engage kids with the world.
"Through it children will be exposed to different worlds, new cultures and the limitless possibilities life has to offer."
The project has also been welcomed by Education Scotland. Senior education officer Louise Glen said: "Education Scotland recognises the important part that films can play in allowing young people to learn about and create stories and understand the themes that lie behind them."
As part of its outreach programme, Into Film is currently working with young people in Shetland and Edinburgh aged 14 to 19 who are unable to access mainstream education.
Into Film has also run a number of pilots film clubs at 25 schools and youth groups in Aberdeenshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perthshire, Banffshire, Dunbartonshire and Fife.
In addition Into Film has launched a new Commonwealth Through Film teaching resource, which is part of the official education programme for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It enables teachers and students to explore through carefully selected films the culture and identity of Commonwealth countries in the run-up to the Games.
Into Film is also offering Scotland on Film, Great Scots, Glasgow on Film and Sport Around the World themed film selections on its website to support the Commonwealth resource and highlight the work of Scottish actors, directors, writers, animators and documentarians.
For further information about Into Film visit: www.IntoFilm.org, or find out how to start a film club at www.filmclub.org.