Setting up a film club

At Damaris Media, we believe that films should be experienced in community – and that community groups of all kinds can be enriched by what films have to offer.

So why not start a film club? Going to the cinema or watching a DVD together isn’t just a great way to be entertained and to unwind; it’s a way into the best kind of conversations.

Everybody has something that chews them up and, for me, that thing was always loneliness. The cinema has the power to make you not feel lonely, even when you are. – Tom Hanks

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Why film clubs?

Films are brilliant. The cinema is one of the few places in our society where people of all beliefs and backgrounds can come together to experience something meaningful. Sure, some films are effectively just noise and escapism, but many others are packed with intriguing characters, moral dilemmas, big ideas and hidden truths. Stories like this help us work out what our values are and how we want to live.

People are brilliant, and we’ve never been more in need of strong, meaningful communities. To build community, we need to share experiences, communicate our hopes and fears, and explore life together. In a culture where we often struggle to find common ground and to have conversations which matter, films provide a fun and accessible way in.

What does a film club look like?

Film clubs are there to help members and guests enrich their lives through enhancing their experience of films. The style of these clubs should be open and inclusive, where contributions from all members and guests are welcomed as they help one another to engage with film.

In addition, film clubs within different community groups will also take on the goals of that group. For example, a film club in a school might have educational goals related to the curriculum; one in a Scout group might encourage adventure and character development; and one in a church might seek to help people on their spiritual journey.

Some film clubs will be public, open for new members to join. One of the major benefits for a community group of having a film club is that it provides a good opportunity for wider engagement which will draw in new members. However, some film clubs will be private, provided only for members of that community for justifiable reasons, such as in a school or workplace.

If your film club is part of a community group with a specific aim or focus we may provide special resources and opportunities to help you in your particular context – sign up to our mailing list to find out more. 

Cinema is universal, beyond flags and borders and passports. – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

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Convinced? Here’s how.

Get together a group of keen people. They could be friends, family, work colleagues, or from an organised community such as a school, church, University of the Third Age or Rotary group. All that matters is that you’re all up for spending a bit of time together enjoying films and conversation.

Decide when, how and where you want to meet. In someone’s home? In a local pub or coffee shop? In a community space? Meet wherever you feel comfortable, and however often suits you. Weekly might be a bit much, but a fortnightly or monthly group can get a bit of momentum going.

Whether you’re using our film packages, this blog or a mixture of the two (see below), it’s obviously best if the people in your group actually see the film. How this takes place varies according to the circumstances of the group. Here are three of the most popular options for you to consider:

  • Members go to the cinema (or watch a DVD) together as part of the meeting. This makes for a great social experience and provides an opportunity to invite guests to join you. This kind of event may take up to four hours and so tends to be used by daytime groups (such as the University of the Third Age) or workplace groups (who can watch the film together directly after work, then on to a member’s house for food and discussion).
  • Members see the film in the days before the group meeting. This is the model followed by book clubs, where members read the book on their own before joining together to discuss it. This kind of event can fit into shorter time slots such as lunch-time in a workplace.

Use our resources.

  • Film Packs are complete sets of resources focusing on the latest cinema releases, which include discussion questions and extras such as recipes, quizzes, video features and background information. These are all packaged into a free, downloadable Leader’s Guide (sometimes also available in print). These resource packs enable you to provide a complete social event around the film; they are generally geared towards the needs of a particular kind of community group, such as young people, or the church. Explore our homepage and our archive to see what we’ve got for your group.
  • The Damaris Film Blog is a website that provides reviews and discussion questions for new cinema and DVD releases (albeit without the added extras). This is a regular resource, with new guides published every week or so; look out for this symbol childrenfor guides which can be used with children. You can also search by keyword if you’re interested in talking about a particular topic, such as workrelationships or religion.

Got everything you need? Great! It’s time to get started!

All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies. – Steve Martin

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Any more questions? Want to tell us what your film club’s been up to? We’d love to hear from you! Contact [email protected]

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