One idea we’ve been doing at our church (Camas Friends) we started last fall, it’s called “Last Sunday’s for the Earth.” The idea was to create a forum where topics could be discussed using films as a starting point for those conversations. We have shown a number of films, two of our most well received were Jeremy Seifert’s film Dive! and Food, Inc. Each event has been advertised in the local paper, on facebook and on the church blog. We’ve been able to meet a lot of people from our community this way, and have some really good discussions. We’ve also invited a variety of people to come and lead these discussions, which helps us learn from people outside our own meeting. All of this is with an eye towards trying to help each of us learn a little more, and interact with different stories than our own. The feedback has been positive and this seems like good work to carry on.
One of the issues we’re running into is being able to afford the licenses to show these films in public (usually around $100). While I haven’t found it difficult to work with the companies who mediate these licenses spending that kind of money monthly is not an option for a small Quaker meeting like us. I understand the importance of people getting paid for their work, but it seems like if it was between not showing it, or showing it to a small group of people (25 or so) who show it for free themselves, wouldn’t you rather get your work out there? With the most recent movie we showed (Food, Inc.) we asked for donations and that was helpful in covering most of the cost. So we’re looking into ways to have free events that won’t also get us in trouble with licenses.
This past Sunday we invited Michelle Week to come and talk to us about the project she is heading up in our community: Camas Food Co-Op (and facebook). To kick things off, in true “Last Sunday” fashion we showed some film clips from YouTube! So we had a nice turn out, a good conversation, and it didn’t cost us a penny.
Showing films and creating a space for more of a forum atmosphere is a good option for meetings looking to generate some involvement with their community around issues that they feel are important.