How to Plan Virtual Film Events for Patrons

Create engaging movie screenings and discussions online during quarantine 


The social distancing mandate may have postponed in-person events, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop hosting them. This unusual time is the perfect opportunity to try some new, out-of-the-box film programming online. One of the ways to still engage with your patrons would be to host a cinema connection program, a virtual community to study and discuss films selected by your library. Whether it be a new movie each day or several a week, encourage your patrons to watch a particular film at home on their own time and on the device of their choosing—making sure that each film is available on a popular streaming service or one provided through your library. 

After the films are selected and announced, plan to set up videos on your library’s Facebook page to introduce the film, talking about its history, background, and reception. It may be useful to collaborate with local professors who study cinema or the film’s area of interest to get involved or host the screenings; they would be able to recruit their students to interact with your content. Also, post facts and trivia about the selected films to generate excitement. Patrons can then discuss the film via Facebook comments or tag their comments on Twitter to your library’s handle. If your library has an Instagram, encourage patrons to take photos of themselves watching the film from home, or video their own reactions and thoughts! 

Extend the conversation by asking more post-film questions and examining clips, photos, and more from the film via your pages. On any of your social media, you could also share documents or a power point that features behind-the-scenes info or analysis of the film. The videos and comments will be available on the page for everyone to enjoy at their convenience

Social media is an incredible tool that can unite us during this uncertain period of isolation.  We can use it to our advantage to generate fun, interactive cinematic content that sparks thought-provoking conversations. Hosting virtual film screenings are an intriguing, unique way to continue your programming and love of movies with patrons during confinement.