FILM SCREENING

Hosting a film screening event provides an opportunity to share important information with a community of advocates and then have a facilitated conversation about next steps on the issues raised in the film. As an event host, one benefit of doing a film screening event is that a large amount of the content is already provided. For 2019, NLIHC is featuring two forthcoming documentaries listed below. A longer list of potential films to consider can be found here.

Owned: A Tale of Two Americas is a documentary film by Giorgio Angelini that details the policy decisions that structured the housing and neighborhood inequality of postwar community development throughout America. The film explores the racist roots of American housing policy and details the choices that led to widespread commoditization of housing and the economic collapse of 2008.

 

Owned will be released on June 4 and runs for 83 minutes. Advocates planning film screenings on a local scale can pre-purchase the film for their event at the low cost of $10. For large-scale screenings that might attract large crowds above 20 or so, the film’s distributor might need to be involved, so be in touch with Week of Action organizers at ourhomes@nlihc.org to connect with the filmmakers.

 

The Invisible Class: The Story of Homelessness in America is a documentary film by Josh Hayes detailing the problems faced by people experiencing homelessness and the history behind the rise of modern homelessness. The film features personal stories and analysis from people with lived experience, shelter providers, advocates, and academics. Viewers learn about the devastating impacts of lost housing supports, stagnant wages, and increased criminalization.

The Invisible Class, a product of the non-profit Visual Anarchy, runs 89 minutes. It can be made available for film screening events hosted by homeless related partnership organizations. The screening cost isn't always free, it depends on the screening size and organization size.  A full screening kit will be made available at the end of May. Contact Week of Action organizers at ourhomes@nlihc.org to be connected to the filmmakers.

GETTING STARTED

  • Select a film. There are a great number of excellent films that explore the harsh realities around homelessness and housing poverty. Many of these films are documentaries. Some explore different facets of the housing affordability crisis and dive into more narrow details.

  • Identify a location for your event.

    • Make sure the location has sufficient projection and screening equipment, or perhaps a large television screen that connects to a laptop. Important tip: test the cords that will connect your laptop to the projector or TV if you will be showing the film from your computer.​

    • If you will be streaming the film, make sure that the location you will be at has a strong wifi connection, and that you know the necessary pass codes.

    • This could be a community center, school, or house of worship.

    • Consider how many people you are likely to recruit. Make sure you select a location large enough for your potential audience.

    • Be sure that the space is accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Plan for event costs​

    • Facility fee for your screening location​

    • Any projection or TV screen technology you might have to rent

    • Acquire the film. Some films, especially those that have not yet been released, will require different fees for large-scale screenings. Most of the time, these fees are more likely to apply to your event if you are selling tickets to attendees. Regular events of 20-40 people that do not charge for admission will have no significant concerns in this regard.

  • Recruit other organizations to be co-hosts of the event. This can help to build your audience and expand promotional efforts.​

SHARING THE EVENT

  • Choose a time for your event and create a Facebook event explaining the need for investments in homes that people can afford and the reason for the Week of Action. Include details about the time and place and how advocates can engage from home if they so desire.

  • Share information about the Week of Action, including the link to the Facebook event, with ourhomes@nlihc.org.

  • Publicize the event through your email list and social media accounts; recruit other organizations interested in social justice and anti-poverty causes to help sponsor the event and ask them to publicize the event through their channels.

  • Consider using Our Homes, Our Voices posters to increase awareness of the event around your community. Some of these posters can be customized to add your event details onto the poster before printing.

  • Consider inviting your elected officials.

    • A template for inviting your members of Congress is available for your use.

    • Contact their offices and ask to speak with their scheduler.​

      • Explain that you work with an organization dedicated to providing homes that are decent and affordable and that in conjunction with the national Our Homes, Our Voices Week of Action, you would like to host the official and their staff at your site so they can meet residents and better understand what affordable housing looks like in your community.

      • If they tell you your elected official is not available, ask that a staff member come in their place. 

  • When promoting your event, include information about the film you will be showing, and how it connects to important issues in your community.

PLANNING LOGISTICS

  • Make sure you leave enough time after the film to have a discussion about how these issues resonate in your community, and what some next steps might be for advocates.

    • The discussion after the film might be good to setup as a panel discussion including local experts.​

    • Include in your “next steps,” advocacy for more federal resources to programs that support affordable homes and ending homelessness.

    • You can include postcards or sample letters people can send to the members of Congress.

    • If your post-film discussion will take significant time, you might want to consider showing only a portion of the film.

  • Refreshments? This is a movie event, after all.​

    • Food donations are often easy to receive from local sponsors.​

  • Make sure to take pictures at the event and post them on social media using the hashtag #OurHomesOurVoices. You can also tag @OurHomesVoices and @nlihc.​

    • Ask attendees to also tweet and post about the event using the hashtag #OurHomesOurVoices.

  • Collect the names, emails, and organizational affiliation of all attendees for follow up.

AFTER THE EVENT 

  • Send an email thanking attendees and remind them of ways to continue to be involved in the movement for affordable homes.

  • After the event, send an email thanking attendees and reminding them of ways to continue to be involved in the movement for affordable homes.

  • Write thank you letters to speakers, volunteers, site hosts, and others.

  • Be sure to post on your organization’s blog or social media pages about the event to continue to raise awareness of the issue.

Our Homes, Our Voices | National Housing Week of Action

C/O National Low Income Housing Coalition

1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC  20005

202-662-1530 | ourhomes@nlihc.org

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