Making Waves! OPEN CINEMA Season 11 Review
This post published on June 19, 2014
It’s been a big year for OPEN CINEMA!
This month, it’s been exactly a year since OPEN CINEMA founder and director Mandy Leith set off across Canada to explore our country’s documentary heritage during a time of digital transition. Get on the Doc Bus seeded the idea of a Cross Canada Community Cinema Network, and in January the Canada Media Fund got on board to support this community building outreach initiative.
The CMF support for Connecting the Docs allowed the OPEN CINEMA team to spend the first half of 2014 exploring the potential for an innovative hybrid cinema format that, well…literally and figuratively connects the docs across Canada: same-day screenings in multiple cities across the country, connected via a variety of social media engagement tools and strategies to amplify the film’s reach and message.
Making Waves Across Canada
Since January, the creative and hard-working OPEN CINEMA team rallied to coordinate 3 successful Connecting the Docs events in Victoria and simultaneously in Charlottetown, Calgary and Toronto. These exciting innovative hybrid cinema (live + virtual) events have created waves across the doc world, putting OPEN CINEMA at the leading edge of innovation and garnering a Social Media Award nomination!
— MBC (@BrandOneCulture) April 6, 2014
Innovation isn’t about getting it right: it’s about experimenting, assessing and adjusting as you go; we certainly learned a lot about what’s possible and what is challenging, gathering data and best practices along the way. While there are still some technical and logistical bugs to work through, the feedback from everyone involved locally and across Canada was overwhelmingly positive. Our Twitter reach has been steadily climbing since we started our documentary Tweet-ins in 2012, climbing to a whopping 212,000 people during our April 23 screening of The Ghosts in Our Machine!
Filmmakers Love Connecting the Docs!
The filmmakers we’ve worked with are particularly excited about how Connecting the Docs allows them to reach and engage new audiences.
“OPEN CINEMA’s bold use of social media and inventive ways of connecting those social portals is wonderful and rewarding. I was totally new to many of the platforms (Livestream/Twitter) and had my doubts about their effectiveness in dealing with actual subject matter (as opposed to just superficial twittering as it were). But a deeper sense of connection takes place during the event when a Twitter Feed is coming in from across the country, when an Event Host is Skyping in from the other coast – the audience in the room gets a sense of being part of something bigger. There is an energy and an excitement to sharing a local experience with another set of people in another ‘local’ experience. The Connecting the Docs screening allowed for audiences to viscerally see how our local problems are indeed universal. There is a great educative value in that. I hope that this screening series continues well into the future and I was very happy to be a part of it.” ~ Millefiore Clarkes, Island Green (National Film Board)
“I believe the Connecting the Docs model has tremendous potential to generate greater exposure and dialogue for Canadian films, and to spur and heighten audience engagement about issues that matter.” ~ Liz Marshall, The Ghosts in Our Machine, Liz Mars Productions
Over the last few months, we’ve gathered a variety of OPEN CINEMA stories from folks who participated in our events as speakers, community organizers, sister-city participants, social media engagers, and more. Find out more about what Connecting the Docs means from a variety of perspectives from our guest bloggers:
- Carol-Lynne Michaels
- Mary-Lou Wakefield
- Shannon McLennan
- Lulu Laru
- Sherwin Arnott
- Lareina Kostenchuk
The OPEN CINEMA team will spend the summer analysing data and exploring next steps for Connecting the Docs with the Canada Media Fund along with other funders, documentary filmmakers and thinkers. We will also be circulating an online survey to solicit your documentary viewing habits and preferences. Meanwhile, if you have thoughts or suggestions about our programming, please feel free to reply to contact us.
Season 12 Launches in the Fall
Stay tuned for details about OPEN CINEMA Season 12, which starts in the fall. We are already in conversation with the Capital Regional District about a screening of Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin’s new film JUST EAT IT .
We partnered with the CRD back in 2010 for a memorable screening and discussion of Jen and Grant’s first film, The Clean Bin Project. This is the event that inspired our very own social media engagement team member Carol-Lynne Michaels to go #PlasticFree2014. You can read about her inspirational adventures here. But I digress!
Wishing you a wonderful summer. See you at the movies!