Michael Morpurgo will launch Private Peaceful Day on March 31 with a live Q&A via satellite following special screenings of the film for schools.
In a major event for schools, held in partnership with the National Literacy Trust and education charity Into Film, 100 cinemas across the UK, including those in the Picturehouse & Cineworld groups, will screen the film as part of the Centenary commemorations of WW1. Students will also be able to watch Michael answer questions live about Private Peaceful. Students attending the screenings will be invited to send in their questions, with a selection of the best being asked during the Q&A.
Each pupil attending the screenings on Private Peaceful Day will receive a free Michael Morpurgo book donated by HarperCollins. The screenings are part of a wider programme of events around Michael’s seminal book, which has been a mainstay of WW1 teaching for almost a decade.
Children and young people throughout the UK will be able to see the film in their schools and youth clubs through Into Film’s club programme, which enables pupils to watch, discuss, review, make and learn through watching a variety of films.
Following the screenings, the National Literacy Trust, partnering with Into Film (the new UK-wide film-learning programme, which incorporates the legacy of two former charities FILMCLUB and First Light and aims to put film at the heart of children and young people’s learning) will distribute a new cross-curricula resource for schools that will encourage greater understanding of the issues raised by Private Peaceful and increase film and more traditional literacy skills. This will be available both on and off line in early summer 2014.
Private Peaceful is a moving story of brotherhood, comradeship and the impact of war, recounting the story of brothers Tommo & Charlie Peaceful from their rural childhood in the fields of Devon to the battlefields of Flanders.
The British-made film stars the late, incomparable, Richard Griffiths in his last role alongside a host of British talent including George MacKay (Sunshine on Leith), Jack O’Connell (300: Rise of an Empire), Alexandra Roach (One Chance), Maxine Peake (Silk), Frances de la Tour (Hugo) and John Lynch (Sliding Doors).
Michael Morpurgo says: “Private Peaceful deals with one of the darkest aspects of a terrible war; the execution of our own side. I wrote it wanting to highlight what I believed to be the injustice of those shot at dawn, but also to show the impact of the war, of any war, on family and friends and loved ones. This heartfelt and moving film brings vividly to life the simple fact that soldiers are human beings, not just uniforms.”
Guy de Beaujeu, the film’s producer says: “The film has been praised by teachers as an excellent teaching aid in its depictions of WW1 and for remaining true to Michael’s original novel. There is a growing realisation among education providers that Private Peaceful is the perfect project for the Centenary – it is non-judgemental, non-jingoistic and unsentimental.”
Throughout the year audiences will be able to see and take part in a range of events and activities around Private Peaceful. The launch will coincide with a major initiative by CityRead London. The charity has chosen Private Peaceful as the book all of London will be encouraged to read for a week from 31 March.
Screenwriter Simon Reade’s acclaimed one man show is on tour through Scamp Theatre/Fiery Angel at venues around the country, Michael Morpurgo’s a capella concert with Coope, Boyes & Simpson will also tour and Simon’s play for schools is being performed in schools and colleges across the UK.
The nation’s 4,000 libraries are also being encouraged to join in with Private Peaceful Day to get the whole nation reading the book and seeing some version of Private Peaceful.
Students will be encouraged to share their thoughts about Private Peaceful and upload images connected to the book and film on the film’s Facebook page.
Schools wishing to book screenings can see the list of participating cinemas and booking details on www.privatepeaceful.co.uk.