How to Start a Film Society in 5 Steps

(Posted On: 28-09-2015)

There are many cinema lovers out there that can appreciate the artistic and cultural value of non-commercial films and actually want to promote independent or low profile motion pictures within their community or even to a broader audience. As a result, many such individuals chose to form film clubs with their friends or acquaintances that share the same passion, where they would screen whatever film they consider worthy, whether it is a blockbuster, a commercial movie or an independent, low budget film. Cinema enthusiasts who think even bigger may choose to form film societies and if you are such a fan and you would like to know how to start a film society, here are 5 important steps to get you going and give you a clear image of what such an endeavour entails.

The first step you need to take is finding others who share your passion for films and cinema. As mentioned above, film societies are more than just small film clubs that you can organise in your home, they are bigger projects and you cannot properly run such an organisation on your own. So you need to find and engage others who might be willing to help you and form the committee of your society. There are three essential positions that you have to fill, the President, who organises meetings, allocates tasks and supervises work, the Secretary, who handles correspondence and membership issues, as well as the booking of films, and the Treasurer, who deals with all the financial transactions of your society. Of course, when you think about how to start a film society and how your committee should look, there are several other positions that you should take into account, such as projectionist, front house manager or even publicity officer, if you want the society to gain significant exposure and become popular really fast. To that extent, the second step you need to take is decide on the direction of the society, which will help you acknowledge the right way to advertise. Your film society may specialise in silent movies, old Hollywood, foreign language films or it can provide a wide mix of low budget films, commercial pictures and classic movies.

The third step should be locating a venue. You need a suitable space for your projections, so take into account galleries, schools, community centres, theatres and, of course, cinemas. When you decide on a venue, there are certain factors to take into account, from capacity, comfort and acoustics to costs of hiring that venue, availability and venue conditions from an electrical and technological point of view. The fourth step refers to getting the needed equipment, whether you are setting up your film society in a cinema or a venue that you have to transform into a cinema. You need at least two projectors, big screen and a loudspeaker, as well as sound change over switch and maybe a stereo amplifier. In order to make sure your society doesn't share the fate of so many film clubs so far, you need to approximate a budget and make sure you fall within its limits. Last, but not least, the fifth step is about advertising. You need to advertise your screenings and get as many new members as possible, in order for the society to survive and grow.



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