Film screenings

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Screening films is a great way to introduce a topic and inspire people who might want to get involved in a project. A film screening can be an event in itself, offering a chance to learn something new and meet people, or can form part of a broader event, involving workshops, speakers or an open meeting. Whatever the format, screening a film can inject a bit of fun and variety into an event. There are a number of films out there about climate change and other environmental issues, such as An Inconvenient Truth, The Age of Stupid and The End of Suburbia.

Points to consider include:

Knowing your audience. If possible, try to choose a film or frame your event so that it taps into local concerns, interests and priorities. Are there any topical local debates that your event could tie into, or are people in your community interested in particular aspects of energy transition, whether that be energy generation, food, transport or something else? The more relevant you make your event to the community, the more interest you are likely to receive.

Framing it positively. Film screenings about climate change and other environmental issues can make people feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge. It is therefore important to avoid the doom and gloom and to frame the event positively, with time for discussions about the issues and possible solutions, so people can feel engaged and supported. The choice of film can be key to setting the right tone, so make sure you choose carefully.

Inviting local speakers. When planning who you would like to attend, consider whether there are any speakers you could invite who could raise the profile of the event. Inviting a local councillor, well-known community activist or local expert to speak or to be involved in a panel discussion after the film screening can entice more people to attend, as well as helping to connect your project with useful people and organisations.

Encouraging interaction and participation. Your event will be more fun and engaging if people are encouraged to interact with each other. This could be through setting aside some time for discussions around the film or incorporating an informal socialising and networking session. Interactive activities can be particularly valuable at a film screening event to ensure the main messages get across and to make the experience more engaging and active.

Case Studies
Country: UK

Henley in Transition tried to maximise interactions and understanding of the key messages during their screening of An Inconvenient Truth by interspersing short sections of the film with small group discussions. They recommend inviting a range of local people to the event with different areas of expertise and perspectives on the issues, as this can help to stimulate more lively and creative discussions and enables opportunities to learn from different points of view.

Country: UK

Transition Town Totnes start their film screenings by inviting those attending to introduce themselves to the person sitting next to them and to explain what motivated them to come along to the event. After the film, everyone is invited to discuss their thoughts on the film with the person sitting on their other side. They have found this to be an enjoyable exercise that helps to build connections in the community.

Country: UK

Frack Free Upton ran a film screening of Gasland 2, following an energy company gaining planning permission to test for coal bed methane at a local site. This choice of film chimed with local concerns and worries that the test drilling could lead to future applications to carry out fracking. The event was organised as part of a wider programme of awareness raising events, including information evenings about fracking, and helped to generate interest in local community energy projects at Ashton Hayes.