kids on the cat walk

NEW! Step-by-step: film event

Imagine the buzz and excitement of hosting your own film premiere? Here we guide you through the requirements of running this easy, cost-effective event which is ideal for primary and secondary schools alike.

  1. Agree a date with the school and book the hall. Discuss potential films with committee members and teachers and agree which film to show. Check that all necessary audio-visual equipment is working. Once you've agreed which film to screen, obtain your licence (and the DVD if it's an early-release title) from Filmbank. Check the school has a PRS for Music licence to cover the film soundtrack. Agree how much to charge and decide whether to provide refreshments. Make entry free for the third or more sibling.
  2. Promote your event with posters from PTA Print Shop. Send a letter home to parents, announcing the date, timings, film name, synopsis and price. Include a reply slip for permission (with pupil's name, class and a contact number for parents) and a request for volunteers. Specify the deadline for replies. If providing refreshments make this clear and state whether this is included in the ticket price.
  3. Process reply slips and create a list of the children who are attending and how many have paid. Contact any parents who have volunteered to help, letting them know what they will need to do - set up and clear away chairs, etc. Try to enlist the help of a few teachers or TAs, to escort younger children to the toilet and because they are generally better at keeping fidgety pupils in check!
  4. If your film event runs immediately after school you will need to have your hall all set up and ready to go. Depending on the age of pupils, consider whether to use chairs or mats (the latter are easier to clean and put away afterwards). Take photos to share in future newletters promoting your PTA.
  5. If you ordered your film from Filmbank, return the DVD in the pre-paid envelope provided. Take the number of children who attended and enter these figures into your online account - you will then be invoiced. 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 this will be spent.

Tips and advice for running a film event

  • Copyright: To show a film outside the home you need permission from the copyright owners. Filmbank Distributors Ltd (filmbankmedia.com) represent many of the leading Hollywood, Bollywood and Independent film studios. Filmbank can provide you with a Single Title Screening Licence (STSL) which allows you to show a film publicly (to a paying or non-paying audience). If you're charging an admission fee, the cost of your STSL is based on the number of screenings per title. Prices start from £83 (excl. VAT) for one screening or 35% of your box office takings - whichever is greater.
  • Licensing: Changes to licensing regulations mean that a TEN is no longer required for 'not-for-profit' film events held in community premises between 8am and 11pm, provided that the audience does not exceed 500, the organiser gets consent from the premises' owner and ensures that each screening abides by age classification ratings. The guidance states that 'An entry charge does not of itself make the film entertainment licensable; it is whether the organiser intended to make a profit (that includes raising money for charity). A charge or contribution that is made solely to cover the costs of the film screening is consistent with "not being provided with a view to profit". This condition applies solely to the activity of exhibiting the film. A charge with a view to making a profit may legitimately be levied for any other activity or event that is distinct from film admission, such as the provision of refreshments, film talks, or a social event.'
  • 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 Spiderman or Batman. For younger children, screenings such as Happy Feet offer the chance to encourage a black and white dress code, with ice creams and chilled drinks to add to the Arctic feel. Or 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: If running a family or adult-only event, then remember that once your film-goers arrive you have a captive audience, so make the most of the chance to raise more funds! Hold a raffle, supply refreshments or run a bar (a licence will be required if selling or supplying alcohol).

Download a print-friendly PDF version of our step-by-step guide to running a film event.

Film event success story

Helen Dootson, PTA treasurer at West Park First and Middle School in Worthing: 'The most popular film we screened recently was Yogi Bear - the 2010 live action version, the children loved it and the parents' nostalgia loosened the purse strings! The cost of the film was a percentage of the 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! Most of our volunteers are CRB-checked, which is great as they need to escort the little ones to the loo. 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 an afternoon off to enjoy some peace and quiet - and can be guilt-free, knowing that their kids are having fun!' 

Running a regular film club?

If your PTA wants to set up a regular film club, providing an after-school activity rather than a fundraising event, then FILMCLUB could be just what you're looking for. Funded by the Department for Education, state-funded schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can join FILMCLUB for free. Go to their website for details about setting up and running a film club, including licensing, to show films in school.

NOTE: You cannot charge an entry fee for film clubs run in conjunction with FILMCLUB.


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.


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