Collision – making it happen. Part 1

Many of my regular readers will be aware that our Church hosted an event late last year where we booked out a large cinema at the Dendy and screened a film called Collision. In this series of three posts I want to explain how we organised the event so you can run something similar at your church.

Before I start that though, a little background to the film: Anti-theist and journalist Christopher Hitchens and apologist and pastor Doug Wilson began an email one another over the topic “is Christianity good for the world?” after a while they realised that the conversation was so good it’d be worth publishing so they began publishing it in Christianity Today. Eventually they decided to collate the emails and put them in a book. To promote the book the men toured around the US debating one another. These debates were filmed and this becomes the meat of the movie and here’s the clincher that makes the film so thoroughly viewable – they had never met until this tour[1].

The film was screened at last year’s Desiring God conference in the US, which is where our story here starts. One of the core team at our church happened to see that they were showing it, did a little digging, found out about it and came to our November meeting and excitedly told us that we should run the event. So we decided to – in one month (!)

This might sound crazy, a lot of events need lead up, but somehow we pulled it off.

First we contacted the cinema and came up with a few possible dates. Cinemas are generally used to this kind of thing and can walk you through how to run an event like this. We went at the Dendy in Newtown because of the close proximity to our venue.

Secondly, we needed to get a licence from the distributor to screen the film. These varied in cost depending on the size of the group watching it. There were 3 cool things about this process:

– Dependent on the size of your licence they gave you a number of copies of the DVD that you could then on-sell at the event, which keeps your costs down.

– The licence is a 12-month licence so we are technically free to screen it a number of times (I don’t know if we will though, but for a larger church you may choose to screen it two or three times on different nights to catch as many people as possible.)

– They sent us advertising material which saved us heaps of time in graphic design and meant that on our tight time budget we could get the info out fast.

Thirdly, we didn’t just want the event to be the movie, so we decided to have a panel afterwards with Greg Clarke from the Centre for Public Christianity and Peter Slezak, secularist and lecturer at the UNSW. We booked those guys to answer questions that people might have had after the film. Once we had them booked, we then booked the date of the film.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the lead up to the event and what we had to get done.

[1] You can watch the first 13 minutes of the movie free here.


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