Running a Film Discussion Evening

Film discussions are an excellent way to engage a small group of guests with good hospitality and deliberate discussion around themes raised.

Running an evening is very simple! Choose a recent film to suit your audience and chat about the themes it raises. Film discussion evenings are a great way to explore issues of life, love, freedom, redemption, hope and loss in an engaging and warm setting, commending the gospel and providing room for valuable discussion.

Venue

Choose a comfortable venue suited to your group size where you can watch a film, but also turn to discussion afterward.

Think about

Projection technology // high quality audio // soft lighting // comfortable furniture // snacks // drinks // background music // film posters // soft lighting

Films

Choose a film that contains themes suitable for discussion, but ideally not one that is explicitly Christian. The aim of a film discussion is to raise themes for discussion after, and a good film recently released often draws a better crowd and leads to stronger discussion.

Avoid films that might be uncomfortable to watch in a group! It’s always worth watching the film with a mind to showing it at a film discussion before committing!

Good films include: Gladiator, Inception, Source Code, Star Wars VII…

Discussion
Choose a comfortable venue suited to your group size where you can watch a film, but also turn to discussion afterward.

For Discussion:

What was your first reaction to the film? What do you think prompted this reaction?

What impressed you most about the film? (e.g. setting, cinematography, style, content, film making, soundtrack, ending or anything else!)

Which bits stand out as particularly powerful or meaningful to you? What themes do you think are present in the film?

What do you think the film maker is trying to convey in this short? What is their view of life and how do they show it through the film? Try to summarise this in a sentence

To what extent do you agree with this message? Why?

Resources

http://www.vimeo.com

A great website containing lots of short films and other projects. Vimeo exclusively contains user created content and avoids the ‘trash’ that appears on Youtube. Search for ‘short films’ and watch away! (Feel free to drop me an email if you see any in particular that you think are good!)

http://peterdray.wordpress.com/category/films/

Peter Dray, UCCF North East Team Leader, has written a series of blog entries on running an evangelistic film discussion evening in a CU context. Worth a read (and a try with friends!)

http://peterdray.blogspot.com/2009/07/inside-out-forum-film-discussion.html
From Peter Dray’s now defunct blog, an entry on the very topic which we have been considering this evening. It’s a great post, with an example of a short film, and some questions to help evaluate it. The questions are general enough to be useful in critically evaluating any film – you may notice that these questions have been adapted to form the discussion for this evening

http://www.turnau.cz/

Ted Turnau is a Christian and lecturer in Humanities and Social Sciences at Anglo-American College, Prague. He runs regular film discussions in his home, with the aim of helping students think about life and eventually engage with them on Christian issues. He keeps a blog detailing his thoughts on films that are shown at this group. Its a great resource for kick starting thought on a particular film, and also gives a ‘kit’ for running a similar discussion evening.

http://welforum.com/course/view.php?id=90

Ted Turnau ran a seminar at the European Leadership Forum (ELF) on ‘Unlocking the Mysteries of Film’. Sadly, using the new ELF Media Player can be a bit of a battle – but it’s worth it for the content available there

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