Getting people involved in outdoor screenings: Viewer’s choice

by Bob Deutsch

Getting People Involved in the Movie Selection ProcessAn online group consensus can help organizers decide what to show on outdoor movie screens during a festival.

The Salt Lake Tribune recently ran a piece detailing the Sundance Institute’s local screening series, which takes place on outdoor screens and shows a series of five films. In an interesting twist, this particular series is turning to users to take votes on what to watch for one of the selections. This can be an engaging tactic to help get potential attendees excited about this kind of event—and ensure people will want to show up!

The four contenders for a possible film are of a more independent bent and appeal to a certain sensibility: two music documentaries, “Searching for Sugar Man” and “Sound City,” the Zach Braff film “Garden State” from 2004, and the much-discussed Best Picture contender from last summer, “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The films currently picked include another music documentary, “Muscle Shoals,” as well as some more familiar titles like the comedy “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Other organizers can consider this tactic as an alternative to designing engaging lists of programming. While certain boards and organizations planning these events may have their own means of determining what to show on large movie screens as part of a series, putting the decision in the hands of the community can emphasize the nature of the event and be a quick and easy way to get feedback, and to encourage a dialogue.

And it can all come together on outdoor screens, which can serve as the means by which audience members finally get to see their chosen films. While it’s only one possible method, it can appeal to festival creators and can be a useful means of drumming up support for a particular event.

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