Case Study: LGBT History Month Schools Screenings

In February, Into Film organised a UK-wide season of schools screenings to coincide with LGBTQ+ History Month. Films selected by exhibitors in the programme from a curated package included: Before Stonewall, The Greatest Showman, Love, Simon, Moonlight and Tomboy.

  • #InclusiveCinema

Project aims

  • To evaluate the Spring Screenings, Into Film used the generic model for Screening events.
  • Core goals are: “The Largest possible, curious, informed, passionate and diverse young audience for film” and “Into Film is a stronger bridge between the education sector and the film industry.”
  • Into Film also included a goal to assess the extent to which the LGBTQ+ focused screenings engaged young people: “Young People are engaged and empowered by LGBTQ+ film content.”

Headlines

  • 2,742 students and teachers attended 35 free screenings – ten of which were complemented by speakers and Q&A sessions by representatives from organisations working to support LGBTQI+ rights including Hart Gables, Liverpool Pride and One Body One Faith.
  • Most of the season was aimed at 16-19 year old students. Into Film estimate that 1,200 16-19 year olds attended partner venues, many visiting them for the first time. Every screening was preceded by a pre-reel which included a short archive film highlighting LGBT history in Britain.

Films

The films selected by exhibitors in the programme were: Battle of the Sexes, Before Stonewall, A Fantastic Woman, The Greatest Showman, Hairspray (1988), The Imitation Game, Love,Simon, Mario, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Moonlight, Mulan, Paranorman, Pride, Rebel Without a Cause, Rent, Tangerine, Tomboy, The Wizard of Oz, XXY, 1985.

Other titles were offered in the programme, but not selected by any exhibitors. These were: Calamity Jane, Freak Show, Victim, Beautiful Thing, Maurice, My Own Private Idaho, My Brother The Devil.

Key partnerships

The season ran in partnership with BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) venues and with support from Stonewall, the BFI FAN Queer Film Network and BFI Flare.

What worked

  • The Spring Screenings encouraged young people to attend FAN venues for the first time. Three in four young people attending screenings at FAN cinemas had not visited the venue before.
  • One in two teachers were first time visitors to the venues too. Almost all of them said that they were more likely to return to the venue after their Spring Screenings visit.
  • Exhibitors also felt that the events attracted new audiences. Over half said that the events brought a new audience to their venue. Almost all agreed that the LGBTQ+ theme was a great way of encouraging young people to visit the cinema

What has been difficult

  • Although we did have interest from some venues in Northern Ireland, schools did not book the screenings so we had to cancel all events there.
  • We could have done more work to contextualise some of the screenings for younger students
  • Screenings in rural areas were harder to recruit for, and some had to be cancelled

Awareness / Attitudes

  • It is clear that young people were inspired by LGBTQ+ film. From teenagers cheering in their seats at Love,Simon to animated post-film discussions about Sean Baker’s Tangerine, the season empowered young people to discuss LGBTQ+ issues with their peers.
  • With the help of supporting teaching resources, offered in partnership with Stonewall, educators used the screenings to achieve a range of learning outcomes. Almost all teachers surveyed agreed that the screenings raised their confidence teaching LGBTQ+ issues, speaking to the long-term impact of the Spring Screenings in classrooms across the country.

What audiences said

  • “It’s great to socialise with people you may not associate yourself with on a regular basis. I also enjoyed experiencing such a powerful piece of film with others who feel it is important.” 14 Year old,

What professionals, press and partners said

  • “Into Film screenings are fantastic teaching resources and vital in raising awareness and highlighting issues In order to break down barriers and include them in teaching and learning” – College Teacher, 16-19 class
  • “Students were on a whole really engaged. One student emailed me after the event to say it was nice to see others struggling with coming out and not (sic) just him. It made him feel more comfortable knowing others go through what he went through” - Teacher
  • “Working with Into Film is a great way for us to reach new audiences. Many of the people who attended our screening had no idea our cinema existed and were keen to return.” – Exhibitor