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Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a POV Screening

Planning an Event

POV films showcase documentary film as an art form and can also be used to present information, get people interested in taking action on an issue, provide opportunities for people from different groups or perspectives to exchange views and create space for reflection. Refer to the event planning tips below to help you create a meaningful, high-impact event.

Step 1:
Determine your objectives.

POV film screenings can be tailored to your organization’s specific goals. Ask yourself:

Have I defined my goals?

Set realistic objectives with your partners by thinking about some basic questions: What do you want to happen as a result of your event? Who is your target audience? Keep in mind that some goals are easier to accomplish than others. For example, expanding a person’s knowledge is easier than changing his or her beliefs and behaviors. Establishing clear objectives will make it easier to decide how to structure the event (whether as a single meeting or an ongoing project, for example), target publicity and evaluate results.

Does the way I am planning to structure the event fit my objectives?
Do you need an outside facilitator, translator or sign language interpreter? If your objective is to share information, are there local experts on the topic who should participate in a panel discussion? How large an audience do you want? Large groups are appropriate for information exchanges, while small groups allow for more intensive dialogue.

Have I arranged to involve all stakeholders?
Think about contacting other community organizations, public officials or experts who might be good speakers. If your group is planning to take action that will affect people other than those present, it is especially important to give voice to those not in the room and ensure that people are allowed to speak for themselves. Ask stakeholders to identify their objectives and determine to what extent they can be involved.

Step 2:
Decide on a date, time and location.

Start planning your event at least one month in advance of the scheduled screening to ensure timely delivery of the film and adequate time for event promotion.

Your location should:

Be reserved for the duration of the film, if not longer
Be large enough to accommodate all attendees
Have proper A/V equipment: POV provides a copy of the film on DVD.

Possible event goals include:

Raising awareness of important issues that affect your community and the world
Encouraging dialogue around these issues forming new organizational alliances and partnerships
Making new contacts with the media and becoming a resource to be consulted
Recruiting new members through increased visibility
Enhancing your educational curriculum for students, staff and/or volunteers
Studying the art of documentary

Please note that goals may not include specific calls to action around legislation unless both sides are represented.

Step 3:
Sign up to host an event.

Join the POV Community Network:

  1. Check your inbox for a link to confirm your email address. A member of our team will approve your registration within 1 business day.
  2. Activate your account: Check your inbox for an activation link and temporary password. • Request: Once approved, log in to your account and click "My Events" to register a screening.

Let us know if you have trouble registering or change any of your event plans by contacting us at

Ask Yourself:

If the group is large, are there plans to break into smaller groups? Or should attendance be limited?

Is the event being held in a space where all participants will feel comfortable?

Is the space wheelchair accessible? Is it in a part of town that’s easy to reach by various kinds of transportation? If you are bringing together different constituencies, is the space in neutral territory? Does the physical configuration allow for the kind of discussion you hope to have?

Will the way that the room is set up help you meet your goals?

Is the room comfortable? Will everyone be able to see the screen easily and hear the film? If you intend to have a discussion, will people be able to see one another? Are there spaces appropriate for small breakout groups?

Have I scheduled time to plan for action?
Planning next steps can help people leave the room feeling energized and optimistic, even if the discussion has been difficult. Action steps are especially important for people who already have a good deal of experience talking about the issues on the table. For those who are new to the issues, just engaging in public discussion serves as an action step.