3 Lessons Learned For How to Host an EDU Movie Event

When we launched Pioneers in Skirts in August 2020, we were stepping into a huge learning curve on what it takes to technically screen a movie online and how to make a positive impact with diverse audiences around the globe…online.

Then, late in 2021, we started to transition to hybrid screening events. Our biggest screening-host challenge: Educator Screenings. What we consistently heard:

You need to tell us what to do with the film…we’re too overwhelmed to try to figure our how to get kids (and their families) to show up and engage.

So, we spoke with former Pioneers in Skirts EDU screening hosts to find out about their experience. We asked them to tell us what worked for them, what didn’t, and what they would do differently in the future.

The screening formats they used:

  1. The Inclusion Experience EDU package
  2. The LIVE Filmmaker Watch Party
  3. The Corporate Screening bonus (Large company hosted screenings receive 1 free EDU screening. When companies and schools join forces, it can be a big WIN!)

Thanks to the generosity and openness of these dedicated educators, we were able to compile some valuable feedback we hope you’ll be able to use for your next movie screening event. 

Lessons Learned #1: Do the work to drive up attendance

  • Don’t rely on teachers to be your PR team
  • Make it about and involve the students
  • Prescreen the film to gauge student viewpoints in advance of your event
  • Secure speakers (or moderators) that are students
  • Brainstorm on promotional strategies that will work in your environment
    • Walk the classrooms and ask the students for their input
    • Offer door prizes students want — make it fun for them
    • Recruit teacher sponsors who will focus on segments of targeted students (vs all students)
    • Find innovative ways to encourage student PR efforts
      • Ask student moderators for help
      • Give students creative rights
      • Download the poster file to print and distribute throughout the school
    • Communicate the “why” to get people excited about your event
      • It’s important: Let them know what’s so important or novel about your event…why should they attend?
      • It’s fun and impactful: Set your event apart…plan music, career booths, bring-in a filmmaker to be part of your event :)
      • It’ll be an event to remember: Build buzz by getting people talking about the screening before it happens (school newspaper or video interviews — interview the filmmakers!, hold a contest that involves students)


How We Help

  • Depending on the package, hosts receive 2 – 10 private streaming links so that host decision makers or panelists can watch the film prior to the event (additional at $10ea)
  • The Screening Kit provides hosts with artwork for promotional efforts (Poster, editable memes, invitation video, film stills)
  • We provide affordable options for hiring a filmmaker to speak to students
  • We’ve created content to help you set your event apart
    • Pioneer Gear for door prizes (group & individual)
    • Playlist for cranking up the tunes! We’ve curated energizing and empowering songs so that you can set the tone of your event as your audience arrives.
    • Downloadable the theme song – Freeway, and play it as your audience mingles after the event.
Group Swag
Pioneers in Skirts swag
Individual Swag
Curated Spotify Playlist
Set the Tone
Download the Pioneers in Skirts theme song
Movie Theme Song

Lessons Learned #2: Set yourself up for success

  • Have a running pre-event action item check list & a Run of Show to help the event run smoothly
  • Empower students to help with outreach
  • Prepare student panelists ahead of the event and give them the freedom to create questions of their own
  • Reserve time right after the screening for an interactive conversation (that ends with actionable next steps)

How We Help

  • We’ve written a “20 Ways” blog post with great ideas for you to
    • Provide a memorable movie screening experience
    • Develop handouts
    • Involve the community
  • We provide a Run of Show template to each screening host

20 ways to make your event memorable
Make it Memorable
click to enlarge image
Run of Show

Lessons Learned #3: Plan for a long-term affect

  • Give students time to reflect on their own life, how they felt, and where they saw themselves in the film.
  • Follow up 2-3 days later
  • Host a screening every year / other year to reach incoming students and keep the conversation alive

How We Help

  • We’ve created an anonymous Impact Survey students can complete (immediately after the screening or 2 -3 days later)
  • The Screening Kit provides post screening discussion questions that can be used during your event or long after when you’re instigating post-event classroom conversations
  • We’ve developed an optional online LIVE learning tool: Find Your Inner Pioneer — it’s a post-screening interactive workshop
    • In the end students learn: when we personalize our goals, we are energized to keep going!
A Program About Ambition

Watch how the film impacted this young audience.

Watch the movie trailer.

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