Starting a Film Society
- Are you an avid and enthusiastic film viewer?
- Would you like to get together with other people who share your interest in film?
- Would you like the opportunity to program films you wish to see on a regular basis?
- Why not start a film society?
There has been a lively and active film society culture in Australia for over fifty years and now, in the 21st Century, many people are rediscovering the unique experience offered by watching films on 16mm.
Establishing a film society is quite simple. This guide outlines most of the issues to consider and provides details of how to access 16mm and 35mm feature films from ACMI.
Those wishing to set up a film society are also encouraged to contact the Australian Council of Film Societies.
- A non-profit, voluntary community group formed by a group of enthusiastic film viewers
- Consists of members who pay a membership fee.
- Membership to any society is by the payment of an annual fee
- In recent times societies have begun to offer half yearly and three month memberships in addition to annual.
- Unfortunately not (if you wish to access 16mm and 35mm feature films from ACMI).
- Also, anything less than three months can be seen by distributors and exhibitors as competing with commercial interests.
- In some instances the operating costs of a film society can be subsidised by a grant from local government or other community organisations making it possible for membership to the society to be 'free'.
- It is, however, important for the society to keep up to date records of all its registered members and meet all the other criteria of what a constitutes a film society.
- Where membership is free, the choice of venue for film society screenings is important. Providing 'free screenings' on a commercial premises, such as a café, bar or pub is not permitted with films from ACMI.
- Unfortunately not as any amount asked for admission constitutes an admission fee and makes the screening commercial.
- ACMI policy states that the film can only be screened once and then returned.
- Most film societies screen one program per week, fortnightly or monthly.
- When acquiring 16mm prints, ACMI negotiates with distributors to acquire non-theatrical rights making it possible for us to lend to film societies. This means that the film societies themselves do not need to clear copyright for their normal screenings to members.
- The copyright covering most feature films on video states that they are for 'home and/or individual use only' thus precluding film society screenings.
- There are some videos that can be screened by film societies. Any questions should be directed to ACMI staff at the time of booking.
- Yes it is possible for members to bring one guest to a screening.
- The policy for the number of guests per year that a member can bring must be set out in the film society's constitution.
- If a guest comes to more than one screening they should join as a member.
- Film society screenings are generally for people over the age of 18.
- Access to ACMI's 16mm and 35mm feature films are only available to organisers 18 years and over.
- All publicly distributed marketing material for the film society should contain the words 'this is a film society screening open to members'.
- It is also important to acknowledge the source of the print being screened on any material produced.
- Yes, but copyright clearance will need to be obtained from the rights holder.
- ACMI sometimes provides films for special screening. This is on a case-by-case and infrequent basis. In these instances written copyright clearance must be provided before the print can be despatched.
- A constitution for your film society outlining your goals and objectives and who your office bearers will be. Contact the Australian Council Of Film Societies for further information.