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OPEN CINEMA Season 10 logo without legsOPEN 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.

photo of OPEN CINEMA post-screening discussion with speakers in the background and Tweetchat moderator Angela Hemming tweeting on her laptop in the foreground

Post-screening discussions with invited speakers are livestreamed with an accompanying #opencinema Tweetchat to engage audiences beyond our four walls.

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.

A line graph showing the climbing online reach of OPEN CINEMA's hybrid events, starting at 20,000 in October 2012 and rising to 123,000 in April 2013

OPEN CINEMA’s online engagement stats have gone through the roof since October 2012

 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.

Visit the OPEN CINEMA website for more details and information. OPEN CINEMA is a program of MediaNet.