HUNDREDS of schoolchildren across Sunderland and County Durham are getting the chance to visit the cinema for free.
Pupils from Highfields Community Primary, Valley Road Primary and Shotton Colliery Primary schools were the first to enjoy their trip to the Empire Cinema in Sunderland.
The cinema is taking part in National Schools Film Week, which runs until next Friday, and hundreds of primary and secondary youngsters will be able to enjoy a range of movies.
Kung Fu Panda 2 3D was the first to be screened followed by Gnomeo and Juliet, and next week the youngsters will enjoy Rio, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, The King’s Speech, Rango and Yogi Bear.
Also going along to the screenings to give a short talk to the pupils about film studies is Trish Winter, lecturer in film, media and cultural studies at the University of Sunderland.
The week is the world’s largest festival for movies and young people, with more than 500 cinemas opening their screens free of charge.
Since 1985 the charity Film Education, which runs National Schools Film Week, has been bringing film to teachers and schoolchildren and the aim of the week is to link the film experience into the curriculum.
Angela Snaith, a teacher at Highfields Community Primary School in Ford Estate, said: “The children were so excited about it. A number of them had never been to the cinema before, so it was a really big adventure for them. It really is a good project and something special that we can do for the children once a year.”