cmhmd were proud to include local schools in an educational screening of ‘waiting for anya’ an adaptation of sir michael morpurgo’s book
We were delighted to welcome groups of local school children and their teachers from around Chichester and the South Coast. We hosted two days of screenings accompanied by workshops and a Q&A with the film’s screenwriter Toby Latham.
Our school workshops focussed on human rights and advancing their knowledge of the Holocaust to help prevent such atrocities happening again.
Author Michael Morpurgo believes his story about the war-time rescue of Jewish children in occupied France is “more relevant today” than it was 30 years ago when it was first published.
The film depicts the true-life rescue of Jewish children smuggled across the Spanish border to safety disguised as shepherds, right under the noses of high-ranking Nazi officers, by the inhabitants of a small rural village in the Pyrenees in southern France.
Morpurgo, whose stepfather was a non-practising Jew, said he never thought when writing the novel 30 years ago that the themes it explores would become so prescient.
“In a strange way, it’s more relevant now, and I never thought it would be,” he said. “Wherever we look today, we find a fear of others, a resentment, a suspicion and of course that can lead to hate.”
But he says in the decades since it was first published, “it’s almost like there has been some sort of cancer in the thinking of people, that this thing seems to rise and rise,” making an adaptation of the book more important than ever.
Our visiting teachers reported how strongly the children had responded to the film, as well as to the workshops themselves. For many, this was the first time they had attended the cinema since the pandemic, and this represented a moment of peace and calm to learn more and appreciate the gravity of these events.
We are grateful to the New Park Cinema for their gracious support of the event, to Toby Latham for his generosity in engaging with the questions from the audience, as well as to the schools and pupils for attending