Film Screening: Last Call at the Oasis
May 4, 2016
Education is key for change concerning any social issue. Environmental education, specifically, can be particularly impactful as it can raise awareness and instill behavioral changes. With this in mind, I decided to use Green Week as a platform to raise awareness for an issue that I see as one of the most relevant of 2016 – freshwater conservation. My interest in this issue came from a zoology seminar at OWU; “Freshwater.” However, my passion for the issue came later after watching the film Last Call at the Oasis. In less than two hours, this film explained every issue we talked about in the semester-long seminar, but did so in a fresh, exciting way. I felt not only more educated but more motivated to change myself and inspire others to make change. I wanted to share this film with others and hope that they would be impacted in the same way I was.
Aside from personal interest, I also chose to hold a film screening for logistical reasons. I knew I wanted to reach the maximum number of people as possible – many more than could be reached by tabling or fliers. I also knew that I wanted to appeal to a wide audience both at OWU and the Delaware community, making me hesitant to consider a lecture or speaker. It is proven that film is one of the most effective educational tool for adults because the visual effects enhance cognitive understanding. Overall, film is the right balance of appeal and excitement that could reach the largest number of people and be the most impactful.
I was able to screen Last Call at the Oasis on April 19, 2016 as part of “Water Waste Day” during Green Week. Following the event, there was an exciting panel discussion featuring local experts in water conservation and management. Afterward, I performed an informal poll to gauge the impacts of the film and discussion on the audience. The results and a how-to guide to hosting an event like this can be found below.
Methods (A How-To Guide)
Below is a step-by-step guide to hosting a film screening and proceeding panel discussion. More detailed information for each contact can be found below.
I. Choosing a location and making reservations
First, one must choose the venue for the event so the appropriate licensing can be applied for. The two categories of the event would be a community screening or university screening. A community screening would be held at The Strand where the university screening could be held anywhere on OWU campus. The steps for each are outlined below.
A. Community Screening
- See licensing requirements in Part IIA.
- Contact Tracey PeytonB at The Strand for booking.
Note: When I contacted The Strand, they were already booked. I have no information on additional procedures or costs associated with having The Strand as the host venue.
B. University Screening
- See licensing requirements in Part IIB.
- Choose a location that will be accessible to students and community members and have the space for such an event. I recommend Merrick or Benes B. Things to consider: Is Merrick is as easily accessible to the community as Benes? Are there any concurrent events in Benes A and C that would be disrupted by the noise and lights* of the movie? (*If there are other events in neighboring Benes Rooms, contact Housekeeping to split the lights or you will turn off the lights on other events… awkward.)
- Submit an event request via Ad Astra.
- Reserve A/V equipment with Chuck Della LanaC [DVD player, projector, projection screen, microphones ([at least one wireless mic for audience questions)].
- Reserve table and chair set up through Christina CastleD (chairs and a table large enough to seat the panel and 125 chairs for the audience).
- Contact Chartwells for a table cloth and water for the panelists.
The appropriate licensing entity will vary by the title of film and respective copyright holders. For Last Call at the Oasis, the following companies were contact.
A. Tugg, Inc.E (Community Screening Event)
Tugg would have been the appropriate company if the film was being held at The Strand.
B. Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.F (University Screening Event)
After a lot of back-and-forth between companies, Swank was the best fit for the event I was wanting to hold.
Cost of the event will depend on many factors including: film title, licensing company, location of venue, anticipated attendance, admission fees, and if you already hold a DVD copy of the film (shipping and rental fees through the company will accrue if you do not). For this event with the following details, the cost was $250:
- Film Title: Last Call at the Oasis
- Licensing Company: Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.
- Location: Ohio Wesleyan University, Hamilton-Williams Campus Center – Benes B
- Anticipated attendance: 50
- Admission Fee: Free
- DVD copy (add $28 if no): Yes
Priority source of funding should be through Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA) but will need to be submitted with the Green Week Supplemental Budget Request, which will take foresight and planning early on. Next, if WCSA funding is unavailable or denied, a Student Individualized Project (SIP) Grant should be applied for through the OWU Connection. In the case of this event, WCSA funding was denied with not enough time to process a SIP so funds from the Environmental Studies Department budget were used, which was not ideal and should only be used if all other options are exhausted.
IV: Panel Discussion
The purpose of a panel discussion is to provide space for an open dialogue about the issues presented in the film. Additionally, it will allow the audience to seek answers to their questions. An ideal panel will have diversity among fields to allow for various points and alternative viewpoints from the film and each other.
For this discussion, I contacted the following five people. The first three were able to participate. The fourth agreed but was unable to make it on time for emergency circumstances. The fifth had other obligations for that time.
- Amy DowningG (OWU Department of Zoology, Freshwater Ecologist)
- Thomas WolberH (OWU Department of Modern Foreign Languages, OWU Sustainability Task Force)
- Tom HinsonI (Delaware Water Plant Manager)
- Elissa YoderJ (Ohio Sierra Club, Conservation Coordinator on the Clean Water Campaign for Central Ohio)
- Kristin PiperK (Delaware Watershed Coordinator)
For a panel discussion, there needs to by a moderator. You can either moderate yourself or find someone to be the moderator. For this event, I was the moderator. I prepared introductions and questions for each panelist, as well as general questions for each of them. This portion lasted about 40 minutes; the remainder of the hour was filled with audience Q&A.
Once all of the above are in place, you can begin advertising the film. I used the following resources:
- Posters (see appendix for poster); fill out online submission to Duplicating.
- OWU Daily Submission Portal (found at the top of the OWU Daily).
- Facebook Event
- Sustainable Delaware Facebook Group – request access and make a post
- Cole HatcherL: send information to Cole and he will forward it to the Delaware Gazette and other local media outlets.
VI. Informal Poll
I used Survey Monkey to create a quick, informal poll to send to attendees to gauge their feelings about the event to a) get feedback on what changes to make for similar events in the future, and b) gage the impact the film had on the audience. The survey was completely anonymous. The questions I asked are below (each had multiple choice responses and a comment box for additional information):
- Overall, how would you rate the event?
- I would like to attend an event like this again in the future.
- I would recommend this film to a friend.
- Before watching the film, I was already aware of most of the issues concerning water.
- I believe film is a great educational tool.
- I left the film with a better understanding of water issues and/or felt motivated to learn more.
- Do you think the panel was an important part of the event?
- Have you made any changes in your water use habits since the event? (If so please describe).
- Please leave any additional information or feedback that will help us plan a similar event in the future.
- Please give any additional detail on how you connected with the film and/or panel discussion. This may even be a brief review of the movie.
Results (and Reflection)
At first, I was disappointed in the low attendance of the event. With only 11 total attendance (+myself and panelists) I was upset that I didn’t reach the level of impact that I envisioned. However, following the panel discussion and conversations after the event, I felt proud in this event. Before even taking the survey, I had overwhelmingly positive feedback. These comments weren’t just about whether or not the film was enjoyed, but how an audience member was touched or motivated to do more for water conservation. When reviewing the survey results, I found that every person a) said they felt motivated to learn more; b) either second-thought their water use or made active changes to their lifestyle; and c) were engaged in the film and panel and had an overall positive experience. The fact that this film impacted the audience (even if it was small) so greatly by provoking thoughts and sparking conversations, I deem this event a success. In the future, I would like to find a way to reach a wider audience for a similar event.
Timing is key to an event like this. Most of the problems associated with the event was due to poor timing. Every part of planning this event is successional: funding needs to be secured before reservations can be made; reservations must be made before licensing can be applied for (then more funding may be needed); licensing and reservations should be confirmed before reaching out to panel contacts; and finally, contacts and all of the above need to be finalized before you can start advertising. In this case, it took an unexpectedly long time to secure funding and therefore made all the timing skewed. Advertising couldn’t happen until only a week before the event, which likely contributed to the low attendance. Another issue with timing was the time of the year. Although it was best to have it during Green Week, an event so close to finals is almost guaranteed to have limited attendance. With all of the above in mind, I would make the following two recommendations:
- Seek funding and begin the processes as soon as possible – it’s never too early.
- Choose a time of day and year that students will be most available to attend such a long event.
A. Cynthia Hastings
Green Week Organizer
B. Tracey Peyton
The Strand, Managing Director
C. Chuck Della Lana
OWU Media Center
D. Christina Castle
E. Shani Phillips
F. Maura McKernan
Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.
G. Amy Downing
OWU Department of Zoology
H. Thomas Wolber
OWU Department of Modern Foreign Languages
I. Tom Hinson
Delaware Water Plant
J. Elissa Yoder
Ohio Sierra Club
K. Kristin Piper
Upper Olentangy Watershed
L. Cole Hatcher
Director, Media & Community Relations OWU
- Poster used for advertisement
2. Results from the survey