We are just finishing up our six-week run of films followed by discussions.
We began it during National Library Week. It's Thursday evenings, 6:30pm at
our Main Library's "multimedia room". It's a really nice room, with comfy,
theatre-style seats, and a projection booth, etc. The sound setup is not
ideal, but works decently for this new venture.
Our first screening (April 22) just happened to coincide with the closing of
Toledo's only "art film" theatre (closed to create more parking for a
shopping mall). This wasn't planned, but gave our series more attention.
Our local newspaper also did an article on our film series as well, noting
that the programs can be a great alternative for those frustrated with the
closing (and general lack of non-mainstream films) in our area.
We did make an effort to know/select the film titles beforehand. We thought
that if descriptions and still pictures were included in the marketing that
more folks could be drawn in. However, if you are considering going through
Recorded Books for the Film Movement DVDs, don't count on getting each film
every month as promised. Often, the latest release is delayed for some
reason. But, when you sign up for the subscription from Recorded Books,
they do send you six from past months releases - these are the films we used
for our series. That way, we had time to preview before we firmed up the
film schedule. We had five weeks with films from this subscription, and the
sixth week we are featuring a collection of short films. Some of the shorts
are from Film Movement (each DVD has a short included in the "extra
materials" portion), but most of them are from our current circulating
collection. They have public performance rights, or we were able to obtain
We have a hardworking marketing department that created posters and
postcards advertising the series. The films, dates, times, etc. were
featured on our library homepage, and press releases were sent out to
newspapers, universities, and film groups. On the web site, we provided a
small annotation and a link to Film Movement's site to provide cast lists,
awards, etc. It was advertised as adult programming, since the films were
not rated, etc. Promotion began probably a good month in advance. We
offered free parking in our underground garage.
The turnout has exceeded expectations. The first film (OT: Our Town) had
approx. 196 in attendance. Subsequant films has brought in about 100-130.
Our last night is this week, so we'll see how it goes. Our marketing dept.
plans to put out another press release with a kind of "this is your last
We did a fair amount of prep work for the discussion sessions. We found
that people liked to learn about other films of a similar theme, or others
by that director, etc. We prepared handouts with whatever information we
could find. Initially, we kept the discussions a little informal - letting
the patrons express their views without much film interpretation from us.
Now, we are probably going to prepare "probing" questions, as well as
prepare a little pre-film lecture on historical context (if needed for the
particular film). Not everyone stays for the discussion period, but we've
always had a nice group of 25-60.
Of course, we had attendees complete evaluation forms, and they've been very
positive. Some would like to see a "themed" film series - movies from a
certain era or country - but we're limited with what is available with Film
Movement. We're exploring other companies for rental or purchase with PPR,
but cost is an issue as always. Many evaluations asked for a longer series,
and we are looking at having another six-week in the fall or winter. I do
think we lost some people to the spring weather.
It's been an exciting and educational experience. As I said before, though,
I'm always interested to hear about any other ideas or experiences.
From: Syp, Marc P.
Sent: 5/24/04 10:37 AM
Subject: RE: [Videolib] Film Movement via Recorded Books
I am thinking about doing this myself, so I'd love to hear about your
experiences. That is, I'd love to hear you answer your own questions!
Also, when have you been showing the films?
Supervisor, Film Library
St. Louis Public Library
[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of TMontri
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2004 9:14 AM
Subject: [Videolib] Film Movement via Recorded Books
Just wondering, who has taken advantage of the public performance DVDs
Film Movement (dist. by Recorded Books)? Did you have a film series at
library? If so, how many days or weeks? Did you have a discussion or
lecture following the films? How was the event(s) otherwise structured?
What was your turnout?
We are about to complete our 6-week series of films from Film Movement.
has been very successful for us, but we wondered if there are ways to
improve it. Of course, if anyone out there has had a screening or
films that didn't necessarily come from Film Movement/Recorded Books,
feedback is valued as well. So, any info on what has worked for you is
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
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