Shared storytelling experiences have served to unite communities ever since the first prehistoric tribes shared legendary tales around the fire. Even today, organizations such as the ITVS Community Cinema program bring eyeopening films to communities across the U.S. And if you have a SilverScreen Showcase system, you can do the same to unite and enlighten your own community — by screening movies, documentaries and other presentations at your local community centers.
As long as you’re willing to get the necessary permissions and pay the associated licensing fees, you can find a wide range of practical applications for community center film screenings. You can even use your movie screening to raise money for a worthy local cause. For example, a documentary about plight of lost pets could be a tremendous fundraising tool for your local animal shelter. Many public service and special interest organizations are more than happy to make public exhibition rights available for a modest sum. Check their websites to see if they have a powerful film or two that could help you help your community.
On the other end of the scale, sometimes a community can benefit from simply getting together and having fun, and there’s no better way to make that happen that with a community film festival. Again, you’ll have to obtain the public exhibition rights to show films in this manner legally, but your city government or local organizations might be happy to pay some or all of the cost. Just make sure the facility has the necessary capacity, seating, electrical outlets and so on, and make sure that you and the community center operators are on the same page regarding showtimes (and ending times), number of screenings, building security, and any other rules that must be followed. The rest is up to you — and your community!