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New films for teachers and young people to explore LGBTQ+ issues

Education charity, Into Film, has launched a curated programme of films, resources and exclusive collaborations with LGBTQ+ organisations such as Stonewall, Mermaids and Brook ahead of LGBTQ+ History Month in February.

The collection is available for educators on Into Film+, the only free* and rights-compliant film streaming service for UK schools.

This comes at a pivotal time for LGBTQ+ issues within education. Whilst the subject is now integral to the curriculum as part of Relationships Education for primary students and Sex and Relationships Education for secondary ones, recent research* from LGBT+ charity ‘Just Like Us’ found that only a third of teachers felt ‘completely comfortable’ teaching the subject and one in five felt ‘uncomfortable’.

Meanwhile, a poll of secondary students* from the same charity found that nearly half of young people had received little or no positive messaging at school about being LGBT+ in the past 12 months. 

Into Film’s programme aims to help educators feel confident in exploring lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace spectrum experiences, not just across February, but every day. Meanwhile, crucial contributions from experts and individuals in the LGBTQ+ community mean that the accompanying resources and videos for each film can speak with authority on how to inspire and educate young people across the UK as well instigate and normalise peer-to-peer discussions around this subject.

Into Film engages with over half of UK schools and offers trusted, free educational support for teachers, advocating the use of film as a powerful tool for learning.

The programme is aimed at 11-19-year-olds and includes the following films, resources and additional content:
•    Love, Simon (cert 12) – accompanied by a film guide and exclusive content from Stonewall who provide an introduction and a closer look into the film’s themes
•    Pride (cert 15) – accompanied by a film guide and two exclusive videos from curation experts at Into Film.
•    Philadelphia (cert 12) – accompanied by a film guide and exclusive content from The Terrance Higgins Trust who provide an introduction and Q&A about misinformation and the progress of AIDS/HIV.
•    Tomboy (cert U) – accompanied by a film guide and an exclusive video from Mermaids (coming on February 3rd) discussing the film’s key topic of gender identity and an overview of the use of personal pronouns.
•    Pariah (cert 15) – accompanied by an exclusive video from youth sexual education organisation, Brook, who provide an introduction and deeper dive into some key issues within the film including ‘coming out’, knowing your rights and how to find support from friends and family.
•    Tangerine (cert 15)
•    All About My Mother (cert 15) – accompanied by a film guide.
•    The Imitation Game (cert 12) – accompanied by a film guide and LGBTQ+ assembly resource.
•    Tokyo Godfathers (cert 12) – accompanied by a film guide.
•    One Year – a youth made short film about Ben Hodge’s personal experience of transitioning. Ben’s inspiring film won Best Documentary at the 2020 Into Film Awards.

Filmmaker Ben Hodge commented on the importance of having LGBTQ+ films and resources easily available in the classroom: “Showing young people LGBTQ+ films and media in the classroom is only going to create a more positive and open environment for self-exploration and self-expression. In school, if my teachers had access to and utilised the resources and films that are on offer, I probably would’ve had better mental health, greater understanding of myself, and I wouldn’t have had to hide myself around peers who don’t understand what it is to be LGBTQ+. Encourage conversations about what that means as well as what self-expression and understanding looks like – it will really create a more inclusive community within your school”.
Into Film has also worked closely with Iris Prize and produced a collaborative educational resource focusing on five short films from the Iris Film Festival that explore themes of trans issues and inclusion. These include Between Us, Dawn, Something About Alex, Take Your Partners and Tomgirl. The accompanying resource was funded by Ffilm Cymru Wales and is available in English and Welsh.

Short films are a great way of using film in the classroom when teachers don’t have the time to watch a full-length feature. Into Film+ also includes collections of short films that explore a variety of LGBTQ+ stories and narratives including Crocodile, Half A Life, Turn It Around, In Nature and The Son’s Name. Finally, several short films are available in collaboration with Peccadillo Pictures including Closets, Silly Girl, Happy & Gay, An Afternoon, Run (A)way Arab and Sign. Peccadillo is an award-winning UK film distributor of Art House, LGBTQ+ and International Cinema.

For further information about the LGBTQ+ programme and signing up to Into Film+ – https://www.intofilm.org/lgbtqplus

Into Film and the Into Film+ streaming platform is supported by the BFI using National Lottery funding, thanks to National Lottery players, and the UK film industry through Cinema First. The National Lottery raises £36 million each week for good causes across the UK.

*Into Film+ screenings of Filmbankmedia’s films for an entertainment or extra-curricular purpose require a Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL) from Filmbankmedia. State-funded schools in England are covered by the PVSL. 

*Just Like Us Teacher Research – https://www.justlikeus.org/single-post/one-in-five-teachers-uncomfortable-discussing-lgbt-topics-with-pupils 

*Just Like Us Student Research – https://www.justlikeus.org/single-post/lgbt-young-people-mental-health-coronavirus 

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