Private Peaceful Day launches with schools’ screenings

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 screening event for schools, 100 cinemas including Picturehouse & Cineworld, will show the film across the UK as part of the Centenary commemorations of WW1. Students will then be able to watch Michael answer questions live about Private Peaceful after the screening. Schools attending the screenings will be invited to send in their questions, with 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.

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.

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.

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. Following the screenings, the National Literacy Trust, working with Film Nation will create a major cross-curricula resource for schools available off and online, to encourage greater understanding of the issues raised by Private Peaceful.

Schools wishing to book screenings can see the list of participating cinemas and booking details on www.privatepeaceful.co.uk.

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