Identify Who will be at the Screening

One of the first things you will need to ask yourself in organising your screening is ‘who is the screening for?’, followed by ‘what do I want to get out of this screening?’.

Perhaps you simply want to get as many people to view your film or videos. Or perhaps your screening  is part of a bigger campaign on a specific social issue (or part of a project). Or you may want to use the screening as an opportunity to lobby for specific and concrete policy change.

Before you start booking venues and inviting people, you will need decide on these issues. Because the answers to these questions will determine the rest of your plans and the steps in organising your film screening.

To help you figure this out, view your film or videos. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is this film talking to? Is there a call to action in the film? For whom is the call to action?

  • Who should see this film? Why do they have to see it?

  • Which types of audiences would this film be most suited for? Will there be audiences that will be offended by this film?

  • After the screening, what do you want the audience to do about the issues covered in your film or videos?

Tip: Do this with your organisation or a group of your supporters to get more insight.

Tip: Make a list of friends, community members, and/or partner organisations that can help organise and run the event. Allocate people from that list who are best suited to help write the press release, design the poster/flyer, emcee/facilitator for the event, handle documentation, technical matters, and oversee promotion.

After you’ve determined the list of people who should see your film, ask yourself a secondary set of questions:

  • Does it make sense to have all of these people in the same room? Will there be potential issues? (If there are issues, perhaps it would be a good idea to organise separate screenings for each group of people.)

  • Out of these people, who is the priority? Why? Who among them will encourage the participation of other people on your list?

  • How many people do you want to have in your film screening?

Tip: Film screenings are also good networking opportunities, not just for you or your organisation, but also for those attending. Think about who not only needs to see your film, but who needs to be able to network with each other during your film screening.

Draft an Agenda for Your Screening

There is more to a film screening than the films being screened. You will need to develop an agenda that will encourage those attending to interact and not simply view films.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is the best person to introduce the film or the videos? Why?

  • What can you do to encourage discussion after the film is shown? If you are showing a series of videos, do you stop every so often so the guests can ask questions and discuss?

Tip: Consider inviting guest speakers who are well-informed and passionate about the cause/issue of your film.

Tip: Print a program flyer to give to your guests which includes the agenda, brief information about your organization/campaign, and actions people can take after the screening such as visiting a website, making a donation, signing a petition, joining a campaign, or hosting a screening themselves!

Prepare What to Screen

  • Select a film that best communicates the issue/cause you aim to highlight to your target audience.

  • Take into consideration whether subtitles are necessary or available.

  • Ensure that you have permission from the film-makers to screen their film/s.

Tip: If you can, make sure that the filmmakers themselves can attend your event, and ensure that there is some budget allocated for cover their costs.

Decide on Where to Hold Your Screening

  • Choose a suitable venue based on your expected number of guests, budget, networks, and accessibility of location. Cafes, office meeting rooms, art galleries, libraries, theaters, auditoriums, educational institutes, places of worship, or other community spaces are all examples of screening venues. Even living rooms and rooftops can be good places for screenings. Be creative!

  • Other points to consider when choosing a venue: Can the venue donate the space for your screening? Can the space be dark enough to project films well? Is audio visual equipment provided and/or adequate? Can the space be arranged to encourage discussion? Where can food and beverages for guests be set up? Is there restroom and wheelchair accessibility?

Determine When to Hold Your Screening

  • Choose and book a date for your screening that is strategic and more news worthy. For example, host your screening of films on women’s issues on International Women’s Day or during the annual One Billion Rising event. Ensure that the timing of your screening is convenient
    for guests to attend at.

Make a equipment checklist which includes the following:

  • DVD or video file of the film

  • Laptop or DVD player

  • Video projector with cables

  • Film screen or white wall

  • Stereo speakers

  • Microphones (if necessary)

  • Power extension cords

  • Duct tape

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