Thumbnail image for community.jpgIf you read today’s New York Times, you may have read about a pretty cool outreach program that brings our films into local communities in partnership with area and national non-profit organizations. It’s called Community Cinema, and the idea is that you and your neighbors can gather, watch a free movie and eat popcorn together, and then discuss how the broader issues raised in the film apply to your town.
Here’s what the Times‘s Elizabeth Jensen said about it:

The PBS “Independent Lens” series, meanwhile, in the last five years has lined up 95 communities nationwide that offer free advance screenings of one film each month for nine months. Dennis Palmieri, director of communications for the parent organization, ITVS, estimates that 50,000 people each year attend the screenings, which are done in partnership with local nonprofit groups associated with the films’ causes.

Outreach is often relegated to online, he said, but ITVS has found “so much hunger in people to come together in a very traditional setting.”

ITVS no longer tracks whether the screenings increase the television audience, but in Community Cinema’s third year, he said, the films that got special attention later drew about 10 percent more viewers.

That’s 95 different communities nationwide, so chances are, there’s one near you. Find a free public screening in your area.