350 Local Project

Organize a movie screening

Is this right for my group?

Since movie screenings can easily double as recruitment opportunities, this project is ideal for groups hoping to expand the size of their team or educate their communities by showing videos that explain climate science or introduce the climate movement. A movie screening could be held for a small group of friends, a classroom, or hundreds of people in a local theatre, so can be appropriate for any scale or capacity group - it depends on how big you want to go! Read on for step-by-step instructions to organizing a climate movie screening in your community.

Get it done

1. Discuss possible locations for a movie screening with your 350 group.

If you want to host a small screening, a home, school, community center, or church may be great options. Or, if you want to host a larger screening, consider contacting local businesses (cafes or lounges with TVs and/or projectors would be ideal) or movie theaters, which sometimes offer discount rates for large groups wanting to rent a screen for an afternoon or evening.

2. Select a movie that everyone in your 350 group can agree upon.

There are a wide range of options available, and you’ll want to make sure that the topic covered in the movie, or series of videos, you choose is relevant to your group’s interests and is also appropriate for all ages and faiths, so as to not alienate anyone. The videos don’t need to be explicitly about climate, but we would recommend choosing something that you can easily relate back to the climate movement (food issues, transportation, energy efficiency, etc.). See our recommendations below!

3. Confirm the logistics of the screening.

Make sure you've confirmed the location, time and date, movie choice and how you'll screen the movie (streaming on the internet, or a physical DVD you need to obtain), and any technical equipment you need like a projector or speakers. Think about other elements of your movie screening event that your group would like to incorporate, such as food, sign-ups or petition signatures, the program, and a discussion following the movie. We suggest either a question and answer session after the film (with someone from your team moderating), a local foods pot luck before or after the screening, or both.

4. Delegate tasks to everyone in your 350 group.

Some key jobs include logistics, outreach (this can be many people!), equipment, program, discussion moderation, sign-in table, and food and beverage. Involving everyone builds the leadership of your team, and lightens the load of those coordinating!

5. Publicize the screening.

For small, at-home screenings, create a list of the people that you would like to invite and reach out to them directly to find out whether or not they can attend. Be explicit as to whether or not they can bring a +1, so as to not overwhelm the host with more guests than they were expecting. For larger screenings, consider outreaching through social networks and community institutions, in addition to social media. If you are concerned about attendance numbers for any reason, it may be a good idea to ask participants to RSVP by a certain date.

6. Pull together the necessary materials for the movie screening.

If you need to order or download the movie, be sure to do so well before the date of the screening. Make sure you have the necessary equipment for the screening, and that you get there early to test that it works. Print out some sign-on sheets to have handy at the screening, and if you’re hosting a Q&A after the film, have some questions written out beforehand to help stimulate the conversation.

7. Make some popcorn, and host the movie screening!

And be sure to follow up with any participants who expressed interest in getting involved with your 350 group.

Key Resources

Short films (available online)

Feature Film Ideas

  • Just Do It: Just Do It lifts the lid on climate activism and the daring troublemakers who have crossed the line to become modern-day outlaws. Documented in the UK over the course of a year, Emily James' film follows these activists as they blockade factories, attack coal power stations, and glue themselves to the trading floors of international banks despite the very real threat of arrest.

  • On Coal River: This documentary takes viewers on a gripping emotional journey into the Coal River Valley of West Virginia—a community surrounded by lush mountains and a looming toxic threat. The film follows a former coal miner and his neighbors in a David-and-Goliath struggle for the future of their valley, their children, and life as they know it.

  • Any film from the Reel Power: Films Fueling the Energy Revolution collaborative:
    • Cape Spin: Cape Spin tackles the root causes of society’s inability to produce a large-scale solution to the global energy crisis it created, framing the events of the Cape Wind project as a microcosm of America’s struggle toward sustainability and energy independence. Cape Spin is available to begin screening in the Fall of 2011. Their film team would like to hear from you and work to set up advanced screenings. Contact them at info@rebirthproductions.net for more details.
    • Deep Down: Deep in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky, Beverly May and Terry Ratliff find themselves at the center of a contentious community battle over a proposed mountaintop removal coal mine. Purchase the film and download screening toolkits here.
    • Dirty Business: Dirty Business: "Clean Coal" and the Battle for Our Energy Future is a 90-minute documentary produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting that aims to give a full accounting of the true cost of our dependence on coal for electricity in the age of climate change and highlights communities that are integrating renewable energy projects across the country. Purchase the film and download community screening toolkits here.
    • Gasland: When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. Purchase the film and download community screening toolkits here.
    • Split Estate: Split Estate maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health. Purchase the film and community screening kits here.
    • Sun Come Up: Sun Come Up  follows the relocation of some of the the Carteret Islanders a peaceful community living on a remote island chain in the South Pacific Ocean, and now, some of the world’s first environmental refugees. Purchase the film here.
    • Carbon Nation: In the filmmaker’s words, “A climate change solutions movie (that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change).” This could be a great one to show if you’re planning to invite some skeptics to the event.
    • Age of Stupid: A climate documentary from our friends at 10:10 that begs the question, "why didn't we save ourselves when we had the chance?"
    • Everything's Cool: A U.S. focused documentary of "a handful of global warming messengers speaking out in a time of disinformation".
    • Coalition of the Willing: A collaborative animated film and web-based event about an online war against global warming in a 'post Copenhagen' world.
    • Oceans are Talking: A great movie for kids about environmental impacts on our oceans.
    • FRESH: Celebrating the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system.

    How did it go?

    Comment in the Discussions tab with how your film screening went, and provide us with feedback or additional movie and video suggestions!

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