How Film Premieres Work During Covid

outdoor screening
Photo by Quark Studio from Pexels

The covid-19 pandemic has changed the way film production and film festivals operate. But covid film premieres and even for-your-consideration awards events are still happening!

If you’d like to hold a covid film premiere, below are some ideas to inspire you.

Drive-In Movies

An easy way to keep all your audience members safe and distanced is to hold a drive-in covid film premiere.

AFI Fest did this for its opening night premiere of Regina King’s One Night in Miami at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles.

Viewers were charged $40 per car, and up to four people were allowed in each car. Not a bad deal! There was even a drive-up red carpet (though we admit this might be harder to set up on your own).

There are currently about 335 drive-in movie theaters in the U.S. Use this tool to find one near you!

No drive-ins nearby? You could also find a parking lot with a blank wall and set up your own projector. This mini projector from PVO will only run you $73, for example.

If you’ve got a large open space, you could create an oudtoor theater with seats instead of cars – just make sure everyone is masked and distanced, and that gatherings of multiple households aren’t prohibited in your area.

If you’re missing the blank wall, you can also buy a portable projector screen, such as this 120-inch one for $110.

Virtual Covid Film Premiere Events

We understand that simply streaming a movie doesn’t feel “special” enough for a film premiere. But you can still hold a virtual premiere if you add some special features.

Instruct your viewers to watch the film at a certain time (or finish by a certain time). Then

Film Q&As

One easy to way to make a virtual premiere feel more like a regular in-person one is to add an interactive virtual Q&A event.

If you’re using the video platform Zoom, you can use the webinar setting. This way, you won’t have to worry about tons of attendees sharing their video or audio – but they can still participate but by submitting questions to a moderator, who can filter them and ask the best or most-asked ones to the filmmakers.

For more info, check out Zoom’s help topics about navigating webinar Q&As.

Trivia or Other Participation Ideas

An alternative to a Q&A could be a trivia event, through Zoom or another platform, such as Facebook live. After the film, you could see who paid attention to small details and possibly award prizes!

You could also ask people to dress up in a certain way and show off their costumes via photo or video chat. Let people get creative!

The overall idea is to incentivize participation in a one-time event. If people know they can simply stream a film whenever, they won’t feel inclined to do so quickly.

Have you attended a cool covid film premiere or other screening event? We’d love to hear about it over at our Instagram page!

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