BFI makes investment in film education

Org announces $45 million to raise awareness, understanding of cinema

LONDON — British Film Institute chairman Greg Dyke urged the government to recognize the importance of film education on Saturday, while unveiling the org.’s plan to invest £28 million ($44.8 million) in education over the next four years.

Speaking at the awards dinner for the 56th BFI London Film Festival the former director-general of the BBC raised concerns about pols’ plans to alter education in Blighty, returning to traditional subjects and more traditional teaching methods.

“Whilst I fully understand the aims I want to say that in the YouTube age it would be ridiculous not to use the moving image as a means of teaching, and ridiculous not to promote the understanding of film as part of the school curriculum,” Dyke said.

He highlighted this year’s bicentennial celebrations of the birth of author Charles Dickens, pointing out that most Brits were introduced to Dickens by watching films or TV series.

The fest closed Sunday with the European preem of new Dickens adaptation “Great Expectations.”

Dyke admitted his words would be met with derision from traditionalists who believe that film is simply a form of entertainment with no place in classrooms, but argued that the work of Alfred Hitchcock had equal claim to be studied as the work of William Shakespeare.

He quoted BFI cultural director Heather Stewart’s words when launching a retrospective of Hitchcock’s films earlier in the year, “The idea of popular cinema somehow being capable of being great art at the same time as being entertaining is still a problem for some people.

“It’s barmy if we are going to restrict the minds of the young while in school only to the conventional learning approach and traditional scholarly works in an era when the medium of choice for millions is the moving image,” he said.

“It’s vital that film, art and creativity are taught alongside English, maths and computer studies because it’s the knowledge of all these essential subjects which is needed for kids who want to go into post production, special effects, games and animation.”

He revealed that as part of the BFI’s “Film Forever: Supporting U.K. Film” plan, launched Oct. 3, the organization would invest $44.8 million over four years in a new film education offering for 5-19 year olds. “It will be available online and we aim to make it available in every school in the U.K., we want to make it available to every pupil.”