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School pupils attend Discovery Film Festival
DCA Stories

Celebrating 20 years of Discovery Film Festival

We take a look back at the last two decades.

Discovery Film Festival has been bringing the best films for children and families from all around the world to Dundee and across Scotland for two decades. Here we take a look at the festival’s impact. 

Read on to find out more…


Wed 11 Oct

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Children attend Discovery Film Festival

Thousands of cinema visits

Discovery Film Festival is split into two strands: one for the public, and one for schools. We’re delighted to have welcomed over 44,000 school pupils to the festival in the past ten years alone, allowing us to introduce a whole new generation of film fans to the best of international cinema.

School visits are enhanced by our resource packs, created by classroom teachers and educational professionals and available for free to all visiting schools. Since 2013 our packs have been downloaded over 2,000 times. 

And the festival isn’t just for schools: since it began we’ve sold over 10,000 tickets to our public screenings, workshops and events. 

A still from the film Titina

Around the world in 20 years

In the last 20 years we’ve screened Discovery films from 29 different countries and in 21 different languages. This is a particular highlight for Mike Tait, Discovery Film Festival Producer and Cinema Youth Development Officer, who says:

Beside my desk I keep a quote from a young audience member back in 2015 saying "I could hardly even remember reading the subtitles it was that good. If I look back over the years of Discovery Film Festival one of the major achievements for me would be the broadening of access for younger Tayside audiences to films they might otherwise have never seen - from all over the world, in different languages, different voices telling previously unheard stories - ensuring "discovery" was more than just the name of the festival.

A still from the film Pond shows a shoal of fish swimming.

Discovery Film Festival 2023

Discovery Film Festival 2023, our 20th edition, ran from Sat 21 October to Sun 5 November.

Along with two weeks of screenings and events for schools, we enjoyed three fantastic weekends of films, creative activities and gala events, where young people and families helped us to celebrate Discovery’s 20th birthday.

We welcomed over 2,000 pupils from 39 different schools into the cinema for Discovery screenings in 2023, with many of them extending their visit with a creative workshop or gallery tour. We received some fantastic feedback from the teachers who brought their pupils along:

This trip has really been beneficial to our S3 pupils. 

I have attended with classes for a number of years now and always look out for the email coming in!T he films this year were great and really generated a lot of discussion from the class. I will definitely be back next year!

Cupcakes topped with Discovery smiliy face logo in yellow and red

And over 700 children and families joined us at our weekend screenings, events and workshops. They also had some lovely feedback on their visits:

Thank you for showing Dounia. It was a moving film and so apt for the times we are living in. Solidarity with art and stories!

It’s amazing, I really enjoyed the film I watched today.

Five star, very very nice

I liked the wee dog. 

Download our Discovery Activity Packs

Discovery Shorts 2023

Try activities inspired by a selection of Discovery 2023 short films.
4.1 MB (PDF)

Discovery Shorts: Greatest Hits

This pack contains a mix of activities, all inspired by a selection of films from our Discovery Shorts: Greatest Hits packages.
4.9 MB (PDF)