OPEN CINEMA is a community screening program that has been successfully exploring the use of cinema as a tool for community engagement since 2003. Documentary screenings in cafe-style venues are followed by open forum discussion with invited guests on the social justice issues addressed by the film. For the last 10 years, OPEN CINEMA has successfully carved out a unique niche in Victoria, BC, earning the reputation as ‘one of Victoria’s most successful cultural enterprises’. Invariably selling out its 170 seat venue, OPEN CINEMA events are vibrant and dynamic community networking forums featuring local food and cash bar, bringing together a packed house of filmmakers, engaged citizens, issue-related community groups, non-profit organizations, educators, local businesses, funders and food providers.
Live + Virtual = Hybrid
In 2012, OPEN CINEMA’s documentary engagement model went viral! Since September 2012, the team have been developing an innovative hybrid event model that connects the dynamic live event with a virtual audience via livestream and twitter. The live post-screening discussion is broadcast via livestream, and virtual engagement is maximized via a moderated twitter chat, reaching up to 123,000 worldwide followers at each event. The addition of a virtual screening of the film offers a powerful virtual engagement window anchored to dynamic local events, opening up the potential for wide networked documentary audience development and engagement.
Get on the Doc Bus is a natural extension of our innovative approach to blending live screenings with virtual engagement tools. OPEN CINEMA founder and Program Director Mandy Leith is setting off across the country with a spirit of curiosity to share her experience, passion and vision for using cinema as a tool for community engagement.