As promised I mentioned I was going to talk about a few of the things we wish we had done differently when running the night ourselves. Hopefully you can learn from the experience and do it differently:
1. The film wasn’t reviewed by the Australian Film and Literature Classification (AFLC) This meant that the cinema had to sell the tickets with an R18+ rating (do’h). We had already invited a number of school students to come along and so to overcome this, we held a simultaneous screening in the Community Centre down the road where church usually meets. This group were then able to file in afterward for the q&a. I am still unclear about the process of getting a film approved but it’d be worth someone somewhere in Australia doing it.
2. The q&a was a surprise to some people who might have seen the posters and come or who just hadn’t read the invitation properly, so a number of people left when the credits started rolling. This was a terrible shame as we had Greg Clarke and Peter Slezak had some excellent things to say. To overcome this we should have stood them up and introduced them before the screening started and told everyone that the discussion would be on afterward.
3. We should have pre-booked a few tables at cafes and pubs for after-film chats. Everyone dispersed after the film and it would have been great to have a few spots along King St where people could go to talk after the event. Some people did go to pubs and cafes but it would have been a bit easier and smoother had we just booked some tables rather than wandering up and down King St trying to find a space big enough for a group discussion.
So there you have it. If you’re a church leader (or even a militant secularist) this is a great opportunity for dialogue between two worlds that seldom understand each other and worse, seldom take the time to consider the others arguments. You’d do well to screen the film and talk about the themes that arise from it.