Can I show films from your film library to my group?

Copyright code prevents you from showing films to groups outside of home screenings to your friends and family. If you organize a public screening to a group anywhere else, then you will need to get permission from the person or organization that holds the copyright. This holds true regardless of whether or not you charge admission. The perception within the industry is that these may threaten their market share.
Our documentary film library is to be considered a personal film library, and screening rights are not transferred to you when you borrow a film, even if they have been previously purchased for another screening.

How do you find the films you show?

We find films from several sources: other documentary film festivals, filmmakers, social justice organizations, and attendees at our events.  Often the member groups within the Meaningful Movies network have been a rich source of film suggestions, particularly when looking for films on specific topics.

What kinds of films do you show?

We show a very broad selection of films, but all films must share the common theme of environmental or social justice in one sense or another.  We tend not to show films typically shown in “Big Box” theaters.  These are usually very expensive, difficult to access and their distribution networks geared to a very different negotiation mindset.  We view Meaningful Movies as a thoughtful, intelligent alternative to the commercial “Big Box” experience, rather than events in direct competition.

Do you sell DVDs?

No, but we do occasionally encourage filmmakers to bring their DVDs to sell at the events.

How do you find speakers for your event?

Most often we find speakers through direct contact with groups who are working on the topic of the film. Sometimes a group will approach us with their campaign and suggest a particular film for us to show, and they provide the speaker(s). It is also beneficial to plan times without special guests, allowing for more time for the attendees to share their thoughts and focus on their concerns. The commonly shared intelligence brought by the group will likely surprise you.

When is a good day and time to hold our film events?

Meaningful Movies events can be on any day and any time, depending on the situation. Some of the Meaningful Movies groups hold their events on Friday or Saturday evenings because these are traditional “evenings out” for many, but occasionally groups find mid-week to work better (less competition with other activities).  A Meaningful Movies Matinee might be another option – at least one is held on Friday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.  You might also want to coordinate different days if you have another Meaningful Movies group nearby.
This decision depends on the group’s goals, their location and many other factors, and may require some testing before settling into a “permanent” schedule.

Is child care available?

Child care may be available at some venues. Check directly with the individual venue.

Is your facility wheelchair accessible?

Most Meaningful Movies venues are barrier-free or workable accommodations can be made. Check with the individual venue.

Do you have snacks?

Most Meaningful Movies venues provide snacks as part of the evening, often for donations.  Some groups have even organized potlucks scheduled ahead of the film, or even following with dinner discussion.  Food always seems to foster more social interaction and conviviality.

Are tickets required? What does it cost?

All venues are required to be open to the public with no one refused entry for lack of funds.  These events are owned by the community they serve, and while they are coordinated by a dedicated core group of individuals, the Meaningful Movies model cannot survive without the direct support and buy-in of their community.  Most venues operate through open donations. Some may state a “recommended” or “suggested” donation, as long as it is very clear that anyone can be admitted.  It is important that all feel welcome without stigma.
(Note to group coordinators: Having a “free” event opens many doors while negotiating screening rights, but occasionally a filmmaker or distributor will assign a higher cost tier for “suggested donation” screenings than for those that are “free”.)

How are the donations used?

All donations to individual venues are used by that group to pay for screening rights, for the DVDs themselves, rent of the facility, flyers, handouts, purchase and maintenance of equipment (projector, sound system, DVD player, microphone, etc.) and snacks. All work is provided by volunteers.
Donations that are made directly to The Meaningful Movies Project go to sustain our efforts in supporting each of the Meaningful Movies venues, and to support the expansion of more groups/venues. We also maintain high quality video and sound equipment that we make available to member groups at no cost, which requires upkeep. In some circumstances, we may be able to occasionally help subsidize the cost of screening rights and some other expenses until a new group can become self-sufficient. Donations directly to MMP also help purchase new and replacement DVDs for our film library, and make these available to groups for prescreening purposes, those organizing home screenings, and as a general film resource for the community.

How do I make a donation?

Cash or checks are gratefully accepted at each screening event.  Usually there is a donation bucket or box upon entry to the venue. There may also be a “pass the hat” process.
In addition, you can make a donation directly to the Meaningful Movies Project via our website to help us support all venues. Visit the “Donate” page to make an online donation or to learn more.

Can I help in some way?

Yes! We cannot operate without volunteers! You can help us get the word out about the movies by inviting family, friends and co-workers, posting movie flyers, posting announcements on your neighborhood blog, etc. You can also help with set-up and clean-up at screenings. Contact one of the organizers at your neighborhood Meaningful Movies venue through the venue’s group page. If you have skills such as grant writing, audio/visual technology, bookkeeping, data entry, etc., contact Meaningful Movies Project or the Meaningful Movies organizer in your neighborhood and let them know.

Are the films rated?

Most of the films we show have not been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. However, film information provided on our website and elsewhere online can help you make informed choices. Because much of what we cover bridges the chasm created by our mainstream media, many of the topics are of a more serious nature.  It is always advisable to consider the topic and the age and maturity of children attending.

Do your films have subtitles for those with hearing impairment?

Some films do have subtitles as an option. When these are available, we will either turn them on, or ask the audience their preference. Unfortunately, many independent documentary films do not have closed captions or subtitles as an option due to cost, although more filmmakers are beginning to set this as a priority.