Warner Bros. and Odeon Back Plans for National Youth Film Festival Across the U.K.

The fest, set to debut this fall in schools up and down the country, enjoys a share of the BFI's $40.8 million movie education cashpool.

LONDON – Efforts to mount the first U.K. nationwide youth film festival are gathering pace with industry support including backing from the country's largest exhibition chain Odeon and Warner Bros.' overseas distribution arm.

The plans for a the first National Youth Film Festival will also be bankrolled by a part of the £26 million ($40.8 million) the British Film Institute has pledged from its lottery-fueled cashpool over four years in film education.

The debut National Youth Film Festival is scheduled to run Oct. 21 through Nov. 8 and include a program of free movie screenings and related activities for children aged five to 19.

The festival's ambition is to be an annual celebration of film and cinema, enabling young people across the U.K. to enjoy a wide variety of films and learn about filmmaking and the film industry.

Odeon and UCI Cinema Group CEO Rupert Gavin said: "Odeon is absolutely delighted to be working with other U.K. cinema operators in providing an opportunity for every young person in the country to get behind the scenes of the cinema experience, showing all we can do to exhibit films at their absolute best, as their creators intended."

Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. U.K., Ireland and Spain, said the launch should "help inspire and educate thousands of young people about the film industry and the many career opportunities that lay within. The work we'll be doing together forms a key part of Warner Bros. Creative Talent, a major new investment in U.K. creative industries' skills and training for the next generation."

Upstart organization Film Nation U.K. is set up to deliver the new program for watching, making and learning about film, of which the National Youth Film Festival is a key part.