- Agree on a date with the school and book the hall. Discuss potential films with committee members and teachers and decide which film to show. Check all necessary audio-visual equipment is working. Obtain your licence. Read our film licensing FAQs.
- Check the school has TheMusicLicence to cover the film’s soundtrack.
- Agree on the ticket cost if you’re planning to charge for admission and decide if you are going to offer refreshments.
- Promote your event with posters. Send a letter home to parents, announcing the date, timings, film name, synopsis and price or use an online booking service. Make sure you get permission from parents (with pupil’s name, class and a contact number for parents). Specify the deadline for replies and bookings. Put out a call for volunteers.
- Create a list of children who are attending and how many have paid. Contact any parents who have volunteered to help and let them know when you need them. Try to enlist the help of a few teachers or teaching assistants. They can escort younger children to the toilet and are generally good at keeping fidgety pupils in check.
- If your film event runs immediately after school, you will need to have your hall set up and ready to go as soon as the school day finishes. Depending on the age of pupils, decide whether to use chairs or mats – the latter are easier to clean and put away afterwards. Take photos to share in future publicity.
- Make sure any paperwork you need for your licence is in order and return DVDs if you borrowed them. Write thank you letters to all the parents and school staff who helped. Work out how much your event raised and let everyone know how it will be spent.
- Find out more about licences in our licensing guide
Tips and advice for running a film event
- Copyright: To show a film outside the home you need permission from the copyright owners. Contact Filmbankmedia or MPLC for most big releases. The type of licence chosen will determine whether you can charge admission. You may be able to charge for costs and to sell refreshments separately.
- Licensing: You will not need a TEN if your event is ‘not-for-profit’ and is held in community premises, such as the school hall, between 8am and 11pm provided that the audience does not exceed 500 and you get consent from the premises’ owner. You must abide by age classification ratings.
- Theme: Themed events are a popular way of bringing something extra to a film screening. Consider a ‘witches and wizards’ evening screening Harry Potter, a comic book heroes event with Spider-Man or Batman. Organise a Christmas film screening with a classic such as Miracle on 34th Street and sell mince pies on the night. Hiring a popcorn machine and rolling out a mock red carpet can give your school hall a premiere-style feel.
- Boost profits: Make the most of the chance to raise more funds! Hold a raffle, sell refreshments or run a bar (a TEN will be required if selling or supplying alcohol).
‘The most popular film we have ever screened was Yogi Bear: the live action version. The children loved it and the parents’ nostalgia loosened the purse strings. The cost of the film was a percentage of box office takings – for Yogi Bear we ended up paying just over £300, giving us a healthy profit of £650. West Park is a first and middle school so we have to cater for four to eight-year-olds and eight to 12-year-olds. We could show different films as we screen the film in two halls simultaneously, but often siblings prefer to sit together. I generally avoid the big releases that the children might have already seen – unless they were so big that parents wouldn’t mind paying again! Pupils bring their own healthy treat as this is much easier for the PTA – avoiding the need for permission slips and allergy forms. We used to allow a small bag of sweets to eat whilst watching the film, but this was abused and we ended up with children eating too much, too quickly, and feeling sick. Occasionally we have a child that is worried by the dark, or the size of the characters on the screen and they need comforting. Parents are supportive because they get a guilt-free afternoon off to enjoy some peace and quiet knowing that their kids are having fun!’
Helen Dootson, PTA treasurer, West Park First and Middle School, Worthing
- Find out more about film licensing
- Read our FAQs on first aid
- Read about safeguarding and the PTA
- Read our at-a-glance guide to Temporary Event Notices (TENs)
- See all our step-by-step guides
The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.