If you’ve always dreamed of owning a cinema or fancy your hand at showing films to others – but don’t know where to start – you’ve come to the right place. With vast leaps in technology, cinema is as accessible as ever – but there are still many things to consider before you start warming up your projector!
Here are some handy links to start you in the right direction!
Once you have selected your films, below are a few useful links for tracking down the screening rights. Generally if you’re screening from 35mm (celluloid film – like how it used to be!) or DCP (Digital Cinema Package – a newer format used for digital projectors) in a traditional cinema environment then you’ll need theatrical rights but if you are screening from Blu-Ray or DVD then it’s non-theatrical (even if you are screening in a cinema). It is always best to check with the venue to see if they can help you organise the rights.
To find the distributor, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) site is useful if it is a recent release. It might also help to Google ‘<the title of the film> + BBFC’ to go direct to the correct page. For the distributor name, check rows labelled FILM (rather than VIDEO – as this will be the home entertainment distributor who might be different).
DVD Non-Theatrical Bookings
If a film hasn’t had a theatrical or DVD release in the UK, it might be worth Googling and seeing if the film has been shown at a film festival and getting in touch with them to see if they have a contact.
Equipment and Tech
Here are some links to help with marketing and promotion:
Recently launched ScreeningFilm.com is a great tool for listing your film event and getting it noticed on the map. It’s free to use and we’ll be working with the creators for Scalarama.
Sydney Fringe Festival has a useful resource pack on press and promotion, mostly aimed at theatre/cabaret performances but lots of useful tips in there as well especially around writing a press release and promotions.
For audience research, Google Analytics offers great insights into visitors on your website, seeing where they have come from and what pages they spend longest on. And once you’ve collected email addresses, why not send out a survey for feedback. We use Google Forms, but there’s also Survey Monkey.
A great infographic about using images – specifically for trailers, but useful for all visual marketing materials.
Guardian journalist Tony Paley lists a different rep film each day on his blog: Capital Celluloid
Lively Facebook group of fellow exhibitors and film festival folk – Cinematic Drifters
First off – consider becoming a member of your local Film Hub as part of the Film Audience Network. It’s free and easy to join and gives you access to all Film Hub funding and support. In addition to various funds for exhibition, they also offer bursaries to attend training covering up to 70% of the costs.
Nationally, there is also the Programming Development Fund from the BFI, which is generally for larger projects that involve a number of partners across the UK,
You can check out the Scalarama Kickstarter campaign we did last year here, and the Sheffield Doc/Fest page here. Charlie Phillips of Sheffield Doc/Fest talks through their campaign here, and there are more top tips here.
… but last (but not least) you should aim to be screening films for
the love of it! Having volunteers on board is a great way to get help,
but make sure you treat them well. Here’s some guidelines on volunteering and Film Hub South West West Midlands have created some outstanding Volunteer Resources for film organisations.
And of course, be inspired by Scalarama! This year, Scalarama's launched SCALARAMOUR to share the love, whilst in 2013, we asked exhibitors to make a declaration for cinema – here they are. Keep in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the event on Twitter @scalarama.
Good luck with your cinematic adventures!