What is it? Organizing a screening of a film or video for the community to come watch together can be a powerful way of starting discussions about change. Whether it is a documentary, a piece of fiction or a videotaped speech, each video can serve as a springboard for conversation and action. It is important to set up a time for discussion immediately following the film. This can be an expert on the issues conducts a question and answer time or a roundtable among people with differing perspectives on the issues. However, the impact of the session could be even greater with a more structured and participatory approach to discussion, such as having small groups talk about what they learned or think about the issues and then share with the whole.
How has it been used? Every year Washington, DC plays host to an environmental film festival. Over the course of two weeks, numerous films are shown throughout the community. All of them touch on environmental issues in one way or another. Many of these screenings include panel discussions or question and answer times with experts in the field in question. For instance, a film on the environmental impacts of the increased use of aluminum was shown and was followed by a panel discussion including the filmmaker, academics familiar with the science and activists campaigning about with the issues at hand. All of the films shown helped educate the community about what is going on and show how different people see different issues. In the end, the hope is that the thoughts stirred by these sessions will help the community make better decisions. (Source: Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital)