Across the US we are seeing stronger and more frequent climate-fueled disasters, exposure to environmental racism, and threats to our democracy – all compounded by the breakdown of civil discourse and community relationships – face to face dialogue, whether in-person or virtual, is critical for civic engagement. We also know that changemakers in rural areas and small towns are consistently under-resourced and must exercise everything in their toolbox, and film screenings are a powerful tool for organizers to gather their community and move them to action. Hosting these events is a unique way for organizers to share stories on screen that mirror the environmental problems they’re facing, as well as showcase successful organizing tactics that could be replicated locally. With all of this in mind, we’re excited to announce the next round of Rural Cinema.
Rural Cinema is a training and community engagement initiative supporting environmental leaders in rural areas and small towns across the nation in using films as a resource to gather their communities to discuss local impacts and opportunities to protect the environment. Any leader working towards environmental justice and protection in a small town or rural area is eligible to apply.
“At a time when neighbors barely know each other, and communities face mounting environmental issues from pollution to dealing with climate disasters, gathering together to discuss these problems and work on solutions is more important than ever,” said Working Films’ Director of Campaigns and Strategy Andy Myers. “Film screenings provide the perfect platform for leaders to create this space to gather their community and watch a movie about an issue that mirrors their own experience and shows how other towns successfully fought back.”
The deadline to apply for Rural Cinema is January 31, 2023. Selected applicants will participate in four virtual training sessions focused on best practices for using documentary film as an organizing, educational, civic engagement, and advocacy resource. They will also receive a $2,500 honorarium, film screening equipment provided by Epic Outdoor Cinema, a solar battery to run the equipment, and a $5,000 budget for any other hard costs needed to host a film series in their community.