All around the world, people are sparking conversation by hosting screenings in living rooms, libraries, community settings and independent theaters. Film can ignite movements, bridge build and play a critical role as a catalyst for civic engagement, while providing incentives for fundraising, policy change, and action. By bringing your classroom, organization, community or faith group together to interact, you become part of an exciting social change momentum igniting collective solutions.
Through our interactions, we can discover affinity by connecting with others who care about local and global issues – urban renewal, economic inequality, climate, humanitarian and environmental issues, to name a few. Now more than ever people are waking up to need for an informed and engaged citizenry that is making a dynamic difference. They are discovering that the collective journey of change can be a truly transformational experience and adventure.
Film documentaries are key to awakening awareness, galvanizing action, raising funds for organizations, changing policy, influencing public opinion, and strengthening existing campaigns and social movements. We encourage non-profit advocacy groups, businesses, colleges, student groups and local civic, faith and community groups to unleash creativity and bridge build by hosting film and solution oriented discussion forums. This engagement guide will introduce you to resources needed to engage your community as well as offer a few ideas to jump start your creative process.
Mainly, we look forward to hearing about the ways your interaction with film created impact in your neighborhood, community and in the world. Thank you for your support and for your active work as an engaged citizen in communities world over.
Here are some suggestions to make your event meaningful and memorable:
PLANNING FOR A LOCAL THEATRICAL OR COMMUNITY SCREENING
- Select and prescreen your film from Films for the Planet on demand collection. We have provided listings of top transformational, environmental, humanitarian and educational films to assist in your selection process. We are passionate about great content and will also provide newsletter updates on new releases of recommended films that may or may not be in our catalog.
- Choose a date, time and venue to screen or stream your film. Your community event can take place at a school, museum, church, conference, retreat, or community center.
- Locate the films website to contact them about screenings. If unavailable, Google search by typing in the film title and the word “distributor”. If you are charging for an event, you will need to review the film or the film’s distributor’s licensing information and select the right agreement for a theatrical or community screening. Check for Public Performance Rights (PPR), which allow educational and non-profit groups to exhibit films to various sized groups where admission is not charged. To obtain PPR, consider partnering with Films for the Planet which is part of Compathos a 501(c)3 nonprofit in co-hosting your free event. You can also crowd source a theatrical release through TUGG,
- Consider venue costs, parking, disability access – as well as what else is happening on that date to avoid competing with other local events.
- Host a VOD streaming gathering for planning and discussion regarding how to best engage your community via the themes presented in the film.
- Reach out to other groups in your area to find co-hosts, and potential panelists. Target your audience or better yet- mix it up. Consider co-hosting with groups you would not normally consider with the goal of discovering common ground and creating new alliances, a thriving community and better world.
- Reach out to thematically aligned businesses who might like to be sponsors for your program.
- License the film for screening and determine the format (physical DVD, BluRay, DCP or streaming) through the films distribution partners.
- Check your selected venues equipment availability and schedule an appointment with the person in charge – will you need to rent or bring a projector, screen, speakers, cables, chords, mics, wireless, computers, DVD player? When it comes to technical considerations always have a backup plan.
- Events can be a great way of raising money for your organization or campaign. Consider your budget, financial outlay, unforeseen circumstances, and set reasonable ticket pricing. Pass the bucket a the event if appropriate.
- Create a post on your blog or website.
- Download the films publicity, screening and promotional materials.
- Invite guests through printed flyers at schools and community centers, through newsletters and email lists, press releases, and public service radio announcements. Typically, a film has pre-prepared promotional materials and suggestions that you can customize with necessary information.
- Ask your partners and sponsors to commit to reaching out through their networks by supplying them with promotional information.
- Send out a press release to local media by creating your own or using the films Media Kit. A press release should include Contact Information, Title, location, date, photos, a film synopsis and awards, the films social media. It should include guest speakers and where tickets are available.
- Make a Facebook page for your event and post it on the selected films Facebook page and social media for cross promotion.
- Facebook: create an event by going to the Events tab on the left hand side of your Facebook.com page. Click +Create Event. Enter your films name and event title with description, time, date, location ( If you have a Tugg Event page, include that)
- Follow your movie on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to get updates and learn about their impacts and the organizations they support.
- Upload a brief video message on social media, tag @yourselectedMovie, #bepartofthestory
- Share your story or stories to others in your community
- Do a technical check 24 hours ahead of time to assure that the projector and sound are functioning properly.
- Check that any subtitles are not clipped at the bottom of the screen.
- Prepare a sign in sheet with emails if you hope to stay in touch with folks who attend.
Set up a table with an email sign in sheet, flyers, partner organization materials or information about your campaign or organization’s work.
- Introduce the film before it screens.
- Consider booking a band, musician or poet to perform before the screening
- Think about equipment needed to facilitate discussion – microphones, lighting, table, chairs and water for the panelists
- Start a tax deductible P2P crowdfunding campaign with Compathos on Razoo (See START A FUNDRAISER blue button lower right on page) for the films partner nonprofit organization or for an organization of your choice related to the cause in the film.
- Consider pre-ticket sales via crowdfunding for your event. Consider your sponsors for perks such as products, gift card, coupons, etc.
- Send everyone who attended an email regarding an action opportunity or ways to get involved further, or just a thank you!
- Provide links to the projects social media and newsletter sign up.
- Provide links to crowdfunding campaigns, thanking contributors for their support.
- If you took photos, post them to your blog, facebook event page or in your newsletter and share with the projects page.
- Please let us know how your event went by tagging us on twitter @compathos #imersiv or facebook, or by emailing us at email@example.com
- Enter our Instagram photo contest by sending photos of your event @compathos #dreamstream.
THINK BEYOND “THE AUDIENCE” – TIPS ON FACILITATING GROUP DISCUSSION
- Elect a moderator in advance and have them brief panelists and speakers prior to the event. Ask the host to have questions prepared for the panel before opening it up to the audience.
- Think of turning a passive media experience into an interactive event where audience members can discuss take direct actions. Raise the lights so people in the audience can see each other. Take 2-3 questions at a time. Ask your host to encourage a diversity of people to ask questions.
- Consider handouts with relevant information they can follow up on. Recruit participants for online conferencing or meetings for continued conversation or planning.
- Consider creating a space for quick shout outs about upcoming events towards the end of the event.
- Special thanks to venue, partners and sponsors
- Introduce the film and basic information about its purpose.
- Campaign highlights and impacts so far locally and globally
- Invite to conversation after the film #Bepartofthestory
- Promote the films website, social media sharing tools,, take action guidelines, educational materials
- What are steps we can take together on this issue or cause? Who has interests, experience and strengths to accomplish specific tasks? How can we combine and integrate our activities for collective action?
- What are some ways that we could network with other organizations, communities?
- How can we implement the best solutions?
- What are short and long term strategies? How can we combine and integrate our activities?
- Who can we learn from? How can we contribute to a movement?
- How can people get involved in local movements and stay in touch with each other?
- How do we track our progress, measure our impacts and share our stories?
CREATIVE COLLABORATION – compassionate, creative, and collective
IMMERSE yourself in the story. Choose a topic of interest, get ready for your real world, life changing adventure. Choose to be inspired. Find others on a similar story adventure. Research pioneering organizations working on your cause. ENGAGE your community, group, organizations, schools, business. Together, EXPLORE various perspectives, identify root causes, accept the challenge, take responsibility. ILLUMINATE possibilities and positive plans of action. Take collective action. ACTIVATE your plans. Learn by project based doing – measure, modify, ADAPT. REGENERATE yourself, your community, the planet. Make the world a more compassionate place.
This adventure requires that you travel light. Unload the baggage of bias. Open your heart to respectful dialog, perspectives and possibilities. Embark on a path of discovery. Treasure hunt – find the common ground. Create new alliances based on shared values. Build trust. Envision a thriving community, a better world. What would it take to get there? Keep it simple. Enjoy the journey. Share your collective discoveries.