Ultimately, films are about escapism,” Into Film Ambassador and Hollywood actor, Naomie Harris muses.

The Into Film Festival is returning for its sixth phenomenally successful year from 7-23 November, with a dazzling array of free films and events in Oxfordshire’s many cinemas.

From Didcot and Witney’s Cineworld to Vue in Oxford and Bicester, and the city’s independent cinemas The Ultimate Picture Palace and The Phoenix, there is something to engage every child and teenager.

“Film’s unique ability to tap into our own lives through the narrative of another is really quite magical,” says Naomi, pictured. “And to be able to experience that by watching film together with friends or peers as part of the Into Film Festival is a great opportunity for young people, and I hope that educators take advantage of that,” the British actress adds.

Organised by education charity Into Film, which engages with over half of UK schools, the festival is free to all 5-19-year-old students and supports education through an eclectic programme of films and events for schools, engaging in topical themes and debates.

The Oxford programme offers a hugely exciting and diverse range of free special events and screenings this year.

For example, on November 8 at The Phoenix Picturehouse, acclaimed artist and director Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow will be screening.

The documentary is centred around the global refugee crisis of the 21st century and explores some of the most essential topics of our age – particularly for young people – including immigration, human rights, modern warfare, poverty, and child safety.

This is followed by a workshop with Oxfam where, amongst many other unique activities, young people will participate in the charity’s ‘Home Is...’ action and write a message of solidarity for refugees.

Just as excitingly, there will be a showing of Academy-Award-nominated animation, The Breadwinner on November 15 at Vue Oxford with an introduction by Female Lead; a non-profit organisation dedicated to making women’s stories more visible.

It is set in Afghanistan and follows a young girl who disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family after her father is unjustly arrested.

Above all else, the film is a lesson for young people in empathy and understanding towards the hardships faced by people of their own age around the world.

The Oxford programme additionally offers an extensive programme of current screenings for all ages - many of which are tailored specifically for people with Autism - including Suffragette, Fantastic Mr Fox, Peter Rabbit, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Zoo, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween and The Darkest Minds.

“Into Film is a really brilliant initiative because anything that facilitates the arts in our current climate, particularly with regards to younger people, is really vital as we are seeing increasing cuts and less funding in schools,” actress Gwendoline Christie agrees.

And with big names behind Into Film from Kenneth Branagh to Michael Sheen, Will Poulter and Rosamund Pike, the festival is going from strength to strength, determined to introduce young minds to the wonders of film in its many guises.

The Festival has been programmed by Into Film’s curation team into six contemporary themes to properly engage with the young audience its aimed at, namely: Mental Wellbeing: Moving Minds; Year of the Woman: Empowered Voices; Visions of Europe; Saving the World: Eco Warriors, Superheroes and Revolutionaries; Anim18 Connections: An Animated World; Comedy Genius: Slapstick to Subversive.

“We are incredibly proud of the Into Film Festival, Paul Reeve, CEO of, Into Film says: “With the fantastic support of the UK film industry, this event reached 487,000 children, young people and their educators last year.

“With nearly 3000 screenings across 550 venues featuring over 150 films nationally this year we look forward to welcoming schools, teachers and pupils, enabling them to experience the magic of cinema.

Into Film Festival runs from November 7-23. intofilm.org