Ron Howard, Ian McKellen, Michael Sheen Join BBC’s ‘Cinemaniacs’

LONDON — Director Ron Howard, and actors Ian McKellen and Michael Sheen are among those to feature in a kids’ program about moviemaking, which has just been greenlit by the BBC.

Novel Entertainment will produce “Cinemaniacs,” which will comprise eight half-hour episodes. The series, which is aimed at 6 to 12-year-old film fans, looks at all aspects of moviemaking.

Lucinda Whiteley, Novel co-founder and exec producer of “Cinemaniacs,” said: “We want to convey the excitement of the movies whilst also encouraging and helping our young audience to experiment with making their own films, something they are increasingly confident about doing.”

The child-led show aims to be “fast moving, funny and inspiring.” Among the strands will be “Michael Sheen: Super Actor,” where each week the actor is challenged by a young audience, and “DIY Blockbuster,” featuring, among others, Howard and McKellen.

Sheen added: “We know that children start their love affair with films at an increasingly young age, and we wanted to capture that in a TV series that not only inspires them, but gets kids actively involved in the art of moviemaking.”

Among the other strands are “Secrets of Movie Making,” which reveals how to achieve home-made Hollywood-style special effects, “Rock Hard Quiz,” which sees young contestants put to the test on their favorite films, and “Top Tips,” which offers practical advice and encouragement for viewers to share their own short films.

Cheryl Taylor, controller and portfolio head at the BBC’s children’s channel CBBC, said: “ ‘Cinemaniacs’ promises to enthrall all the young film fans in the U.K. and will hopefully inspire them to start expressing their own ideas in epic movie form.”

Hugh Lawton, executive producer, independents, CBBC, said: “Made by, with and for kids, ‘Cinemaniacs’ is stuffed like a popcorn carton with every fascinating facet of films to entertain the next generation of movie makers.”

Novel is producing the show in association with the series producer and director of the series Julian Kemp, associate producer Sheen, and the film education charity Into Film.

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