Read these guidelines below on how to organise a CineForum on the occasion of the European Action Day countering Sexist Hate Speech on the 8th March. CineForum can be a really resourceful idea for an offline activity as it allows to raise awareness about different topics in a direct and effective way. As a matter of fact movies are popular everywhere and people are always enthusiast at the idea of watching one, for this reason it’s really easy to put together a large audience. They provide food for thoughts and they can trigger interesting conversations, debates full of important learning outcomes. Moreover, using a form of art such as Cinema, it’s also possible to contribute in spreading culture and beauty in communities. Talking about CineForum we should also underline the possibility to combine them with discussion and talks regarding the topic we choose to deal with (e.g Sexism for this particular Action Day), in this way it is also possible to make your activity more interactive, inviting people to engage the organizers and the other participants in a Q & A session, especially if there is the possibility to invite any expert in the topic or any person involved in the producing and in the making of the movie.
Written by By Debora Barletta; Projects Manager, EuroMernet
You need to pick up movies that are relevant to the topic (e.g. sexism) and that are able to convey your message..
The best way to search for film titles is to use websites and portals such as The Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com). Also search engines can be really useful if you already got some key words in mind (e.g. sexism, women’s empowerment, women’s rights, homophobia, etc.). There are also specialist websites on topics related to human rights in general, such as Watching Human Rights (http://watchinghumanrights.org) or Films for Action (http://www.filmsforaction.org).
When choosing a title, it is always useful to keep in mind the aims of your screening and your target audience. You may need to specify the age classification (e.g. in the UK there are symbols like “U – Universal”, “PG – with Parental Guidance”, “18 – for adults aged 18 or over”, etc. on film posters). If you intend to show movies to children or underage people, you should accordingly display the age classification. You should also think about attracting people that are not “educated” on the topic, or on finding ways to include them, choosing movies that are “easy to digest” or that are clear enough about the message. For instance, Dogville by Lars von Trier is a really good movie about violation of women’s rights, but is not particularly suitable for general public screenings).
You can “pick & mix” topics through combined keywords. This can be really useful in raising awareness on more than one single issue (e.g. sexism & religion, sexism & culture, sexism & sport, etc.)
It can be really useful to pick up unusual, “surprise” titles – movies that are not easy to find in mainstream cinemas or in video stores. Search through the film portals of various countries including international film festival websites (e.g. palestinefilmfoundation.org) and the websites founded or maintained by film foundations, institutes and archives (e.g. www.britishpathe.com). There are really amazing movies about women that are not from Hollywood (Caramel – Lebanon; Persepolis – France, Iran; Wadjda – Saudi Arabia; 678 – Egypt; and these are just few examples). It’s also nice to have more languages involved and the guests appreciate this gesture, but always check if subtitles are available in your language.
Always watch the movie before screening it to make sure that it is the appropriate choice for your CineForum audience.
Advertising your screening
This is the most crucial part as it determines most of the success of the event. An effective way to make a movie screening appealing is to use mainstream cinema methods, such as eye-catching movie posters. When producing you poster, the most important “ingredients” are nice images –with high enough resolution if you plan to print them– and attractive phrases and slogans (“straplines”) that match the content of the movie. It is also useful to include short quotes from film reviews (e.g. “Priceless… An Absolute Delight”; The Times, on Danish movie “Italian for Beginners”).
If you have printed posters, they can be displayed in strategic places locally (e.g. community centres, schools, universities, libraries, supermarkets, etc.) and you can also have smaller size flyers to display at venues with limited display space (e.g. cafes, restaurants, laundrettes, doctor’s surgeries, dentists, hotels, etc.) You can also distribute flyers in public places (e.g. outside shopping centres, train stations, public squares, etc.) but your local authority may require you to apply for a leaflet/flyer distribution licence).
Clear and legible digital copies of the poster/flyer can be posted via mailing lists and can be shared through social media platforms and mobile apps (e.g. Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, Telegram, etc.) It will be useful to save copies of the poster/flyer in various formats (e.g. jpeg, pdf, word, etc.) because some social media platforms and mobile apps accept one format but not the other.
Social media pages have fast become the most popular platforms of visibility, accessibility and outreach. You can create an event page (e.g. on Facebook or EventBrite) and they do the rest of the job for you: automatic notifications, reminders, invitation to future events, etc.
Other practical tips
Licensing: When you decide to screen a movie you should be aware of the legislation on copyright in your country. For example, in the case of UK, in order to avoid any violation of copyrights, film clubs are run in small venues and without any charge, with free access to all guests, in other words, a totally not-for-profit screening. In the cases where a film is screened in the local cinema, the film club can ask the guests/members for donations in order to cover the costs of the venue hire. Going back what we said at the beginning of this section, it is essential to check the legislation in your country: assumptions and attempts of speculative guessing may mislead you, and you may face legal problems later.
Venue: Another important aspect is the venue. Make sure that it’s suitable for the event, especially if you want to combine your screening with other activities (e.g. Bookmark activities, other significant days and anniversaries, educational activities etc.)
It’s more welcoming, inclusive and fair in terms of equal opportunities if you screen your film at a venue with facilities for people with disabilities, including a WC for the disabled.
Last but not least, here is a set of examples that you may find useful when deciding on your own CineForum titles on sexism…
- Bend it like Beckham (2002) – Romantic comedy (Women’s empowerment; sexism in sports and culture).
- Breakfast on Pluto (2005) – Black comedy-drama (TransPhobia).
- The Color Purple (1985) – Period drama (Violence against women; racism).
- Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – Drama (TransPhobia; violence against women).
- Erin Brockovich (2000) – Biographical (Women’s empowerment).
- Hysteria (2011) – Romantic comedy (Women’s empowerment, sexual emancipation).
- Raise The Red Lantern (1991) – Drama (Violence against women, sexism, sexual slavery).
- North Country (2005) – Drama (Domestic violence, sexual harassment at workplace, rape).
- Frida (2002) – Biographical (Women’s empowerment, art, sexual emancipation).
- Two Women (1999) – Historic Drama (Women’s empowerment, religion & sexual discrimination)
DISCLAIMER: This info sheet is for general guidance only and it does not intend to serve any legal advice. Please make sure that you will conduct your own research and consult with a qualified person on the legislation on public film screenings in your country.