Planning a Film Event: Film Screening Checklist

    You may be familiar with widely known film screening events such as the Sun Dance Film Festival, or Cannes Film Festival - but have you ever wondered what it would take to host your own film event? While it may seem as simple as setting up a projector and pushing start on your chosen film, there is a lot more that goes into planning a successful film screening. You’ll want to pick the right venue, choose your film, and make sure you promote it.  If you've never put on a film event before, and you're unsure of how to go about it, here is a checklist for planning your next film screening to ensure your film event is a success.

    Get the License

    If you are planning a large film screening, such as in a community park or movie theater, you will need to get the license/rights to play the movie. To do this, check out Criterion Pictures or Swank Motion Pictures - these are two of the major film licensing agencies. This cost can range from $200 - $600 depending on the film. 


    Secure the location

    Securing an event venue is the first step to planning a successful film screening. When it comes to events, you have a lot of options. Drive-thru theaters made a comeback in 2020 - there are also other outdoor venues to consider such as a community park or empty lot you can transform. If indoors in more your style, consider renting a venue that has a projector or small screening room - such as a movie theater, private dining room, library, or loft space. 


    Invitations & Promotion

    Be sure to invite people and promote your screening! Promote by sending electronic invitations, posting on social media platforms, hang posters, and pass out flyers! Be sure to have two separate times on the invitation: when the doors open and when the screening starts. This will ensure that people will get to the screening on time since they know exactly when the movie starts. If your event is outdoors, encourage people to bring blankets, chairs, ect to make sure they are comfortable!



    Movies pair well with snacks, duh. If you are hosting outdoors, consider contacting food trucks or local caterers to provide refreshments and food. If you are having your screening in a venue - find out if they are able to provide movie-type refreshments such as popcorn and candy. You can also let people know to BYOB if your venue allows it.


    Audio/Visual Needs

    Of course, with any screening, technology plays an important factor. Be sure to make a list of all the audio and visual needs your screening will require. For example, if you plan on projecting the movie instead of playing it on television, then you will obviously need a projector and a screen. You will also need a surge protector, extension cord, speakers, and any other cords that are necessary to connect the movie to the screen and to the sound, be it film or digital.  Be sure to test your equipment and make sure the sound and images look good - after all, it’s the most important part of any film viewing experience! 


    Host an After-Viewing Party

    Let people linger around after the film and network! This will give people to connect on what they just saw. You could also use it as an opportunity to host a panel or have a discussion or Q&A with some local film buffs. 

    Have you planned a film screening before? What else would be on your planning checklist? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.


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    Author: Rachel Mazzola