This time last year we were preparing for what would be a very ill-fated theatrical release of The New Corporation, slated for the exact moment theatres shut their doors across this country!
This year we are celebrating the successful proof-of-concept of our new Cool.World platform feature for virtual community screenings which combines a secure DRM server for film viewing with an event page with ticketing, room for information on additional events like virtual panels and Q & A’s, details about host organizations and supporters, links to Calls to Action and includes automated reminders about the event start times and a post-event feedback form. We have some of these features thanks to a grant from Launch Online.
We premiered this event-page feature back in the summer with our second salon series event, which included a ticketed (by donation) virtual screening of The New Corporation in tandem with our Salon 02: Tackling the 3C’s: Colonialism, Capitalism, Corporations, hosted by the Padma Centre for Climate Justice. This salon series was made possibly with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Last month we finished our improvements to the functioning of the ticketing system, including optional on-boarding to the Cool.World mail list and test drove it with the US non-profit Move to Amend hosting a virtual screening and panel as part of our #1000 Screenings. This event was a big success with 564 viewers. We raised several thousand dollars beyond our license fee, with a sliding scale from free to any amount, and this is being split between their organization and our impact campaign. We have proof of concept that we can sustain impact work this way!
Our vision is to test-run a repeatable model to sustain a true grassroots release and fund an impact campaign, as well as help fundraise for specific calls to action and host orgs. In this way we model reciprocity in grassroots distribution strategies, where the value of collaboration is shared in tangible ways.
And it’s working!
In the words of Jessica Munger from MTA:
“Holding a virtual screening of The New Corporation was unexpectedly fantastic for our organization. Showing a film is a great organizing tool because it’s an accessible format, provides opportunity for public education, it offers something to organize a discussion about, and brings people together. But hosting a screening of The New Corporation is the ideal way to do it because in addition to these things, it uplifted the work our organization is doing to resist corporate power, it provided a call to action, and it turned out to be an amazing fundraiser for us. It’s a win-win situation because the film gets seen, people learn about important work, and that work gets financially supported. It works this way with The New Corporation because the team behind the film has the same goals that our organizations do — to further the movement for democracy and justice.”
At the same time as the Move to Amend screening of The New Corporation we held a smaller, more local-focussed launch of a film our Founding Member partner Drawing Wisdom completed pre-pandemic. The launch was postponed because of COVID, and we decided to do a virtual premiere of Down Town Stories, including a panel discussion with participants about how life has been during this time. For this small by-donation screening we were able to raise over $1200 – which will go in part to Indigenous Peers working on outreach and to our grassroots distribution strategy for Drawing Wisdom projects.
Meanwhile – we are working towards scaling up our efforts to have hosts book screenings of The New Corporation. To this end our next event will be a Hello Cool World hosted fundraiser for our Twitter Gone Rogue campaign to raise money for our lawsuit. Read about it on our blog post “Why is Cool.World Suing Twitter?” And of course we’d love for more organizations to host screenings!