1. Is this an opportunity for a filmmaker or media maker? Is this an opportunity to make a film? Is a film going to be made?
No. Rural Cinema is a program designed to train community organizers on how to use screenings of existing films in their advocacy and community building efforts. Selected applicants will learn how to host effective screening events (in-person events, drive-ins, virtual screenings, etc.) from finding the right film, to how to hold an engaging discussion with audiences, to taking action after a screening, etc.
2. If I already have speakers, or a projector, or a screen – or anything that I use to screen films, will I still receive the full equipment package?
Yes! Our partnership with Epic Outdoor Cinema allows everyone to receive all of the equipment in this system. You will get to keep this equipment after Rural Cinema so you can continue hosting screening long into the future.
3. If I’m selected for Rural Cinema, when will the program take place?
The four virtual 2-hour training sessions will begin in March, and continue through the spring. Each selected community will then host a film series of 4-6 events through the remainder of 2024. In general, organizations usually select the films after the trainings in late spring/early summer, and then spend the summer planning their events, with the actual film screenings taking place between late summer and the end of the year.
4. I’ve never used film in my work before, can I still apply?
Yes. We welcome applications from those who are new to the idea of using film as a tool in their work. We just ask that you tell us why you are excited about using film and what you hope to learn. We’d also like you to share ideas you have for films you might like to screen, but it is ok if these are early brainstorms. We’re just interested in learning about your vision for what a screening series could look like in your community.
5. I’m a statewide, regional, or national organizer, and my work is not just in a rural area, can I still apply?
Yes. You can apply, but you must apply for work that will take place in one rural area. You are, of course, welcome to apply your learnings from this project wherever you are organizing. But for our purposes we want you to host several screening events targeted for one rural area, not statewide, etc. Also, it is important to note that the application includes a question about your relationships to the community in which you are working. We are looking for participants whose lived experience informs the work they are doing and that are deeply accountable to the communities in which they are working. We also strongly recommend that you have someone from the local community co-apply with you, or at least be the second collaborator that participates.
6. I organize in a few rural towns close by, or throughout an entire rural county, can I still apply?
Yes, we know that polluting industries and other environmental concerns are likely to affect several townships, so this is totally fine as long as these rural areas are close to each other. Some past examples have included hosting a film series: in a small town, throughout a watershed, in two counties, and throughout part of a reservation.
7. I work alone, is it a requirement to have two individuals lead our work on this project?
Yes. In order to be eligible, you must commit to assigning two individuals (including yourself) to lead your participation in Rural Cinema.
8. The second person who will work on Rural Cinema with me is not on staff, but is a volunteer with our organization. Is this ok?
Yes, additional representatives can be any leader in your community including volunteers. We also strongly recommend this route if you are a statewide organization focusing in a community in which your staff is not based.
9. Do y’all have a preselected library of films we are supposed to use?
We don’t have a preselected library of films. The films that you screen in your community are entirely up to you, since you know what could make the most impact in your community. Working Films can help suggest films and we will be covering this more in detail in the trainings.
10. Are there limitations to which films we can screen?
Working Films does not place limitations on which films you screen, but they do need to be available for community public screenings. As part of the trainings, we will help you learn how to figure this out and reach out to filmmakers.
11. I have more questions! What can I do?
We’ve got a webinar coming up to answer questions from anyone interested in applying! The webinar will take place on Thursday December 14th at 2pm ET. Register for it here! If you can’t attend, we will be recording it and embedding it on this page.