Alternative Film Events: Site specific & beyond

This panel will discuss how presenting film in new and alternative ways, such as site-specific presentations, installations and in tandem with live events can build audiences and create unmatched cinematic experiences for your community. At the confluence of technology, film, art, architecture and public spectacle, these screenings represent the future of how film and public art interact. Presentations will include video documentation of the specific events, and address the way in which film programming of this type can positively affect audience attendance and create a more vibrant urban core in your communities. The diversity of programming represented by the panel will offer practical advice on programming site-specific film events and provide inspiration for innovative ways for engaging new audiences via live events.

Panelist information

Aurora picture show, site specific film festivals. Promoting the appreciation of moving image art. Choose sites specific to the content of the film being shown.

Nomadic organization, pop up cinema. Use parks, shopping centers, floating screens on lakes, houses etc. Planetarium used as multiscreen projector cinema.

Henri Mazza, Alamo drafthouse cinema. Mission, make awesome experiences happen as often as possible. Mainly in Austin but move to site specific countrywide locations. Eg, descent in a cave, jaws in a lake with people in water buoyed by inner-tubes. Escape from Alcatraz shown in Alcatraz. Also stuff in theatres

Mark Rozenberg, rooftop films NYC. Build communities and events based round films. Cinemas setup on rooftops in various parts of NY. Also use abandoned subway tunnels. Every summer 50 screenings in 20 venues. Bout 30000 viewers. Mixture of feature films and shorts.

Important to have an identity and make a film into an event.


RoboSaurus “eating cars” at the Transformers Premiere

Some things start out with the idea for a venue then find the film to fit, but then others use the film as the driving force to find a location.Commando event, hand out cap guns to audience, glitter cannons explode when the movie had explosions. Also have fire exploding at the front of the theatre during the film.

Rooftop films, started out getting into trouble for putting on events, now got to the stage where venues will contact them and ask to be used as a screening venue. Will take blind submissions of films.


Photo by Sarah Palmer

Promotions to get crowds… With rooftop it’s a combination of fun, accessible as well as cause based programming. Also free beer helps draw in the crowds. Spend hours googling relevant bloggers in the genre and use them to get the word out to their readers. Partnerships made with relevant companies non profits etc. in return for them getting the word out to their audience, they get a table for their promotion etc.

Alamo, make relevant brand partners. Now they are large enough and the events draw a following so that many people have signed up to their feed and are actively promoting their events to their communities.

Aurora, hard to gauge what an audience wants. Things we think are gonna be popular are not necessarily so. Have a small core of die hards that always come to screening but the audience depends on the content on the screen.

Question: talking of curating by blind submissions, is that how you prefer to work or is there a way to partner with filmmakers earlier in the filmmaking process.

Question: how do you go about getting corporate sponsors for your events?

Question: how do platforms like TUG help you put on events.

Question: how do screening fees affect your schedule of programming

Question: do the distributors fund the promotion of the event

Question: failures and successes