Scalarama 2017 – Fill the World with Cinemas this September

It’s officially 100 days to go until Scalarama 2017!

What is Scalarama? Well, imagine a month of cinema, where every September, everyone visits their local cinema, discovers a new film or venue, or is even tempted to start their own film screenings. It’s about everyone, coming together, to share ideas, friendship and community through film.

How do I take part? Scalarama wants to fill the world with cinemas. Events are being planned locally by the various people who have been involved in the celebration since 2011. If you are keen to go to an event, you can find out what is planned for September from the end of July / beginning of August. If you want to be more involved and possibly put on an event yourself, check out the resources on this site if you want to make sure events are happening where you are.

What’s the cost? Individual event organisers set their own event prices. For organisers, there is no cost to being part of Scalarama but there is likely to be costs involved putting on the event (licensing for film, venue hire, marketing). Scalarama doesn’t take a cut of the box office or ticket price. Scalarama is just there to support local grassroots film culture and celebrate cinema!

What’s going to happen over the next 100 days? Event organisers are encouraged to meet locally to help encourage and support each other’s events. The Scalarama central support team contacts networks, organisations and distributors to help spread the word about the season and also see if any special offers or promotions can be offered for those involved. Events can be submitted via this website, and there is a print deadline for the Scalarama newspaper on 13th July. Organisers can still submit events throughout the season – the events just need to take place during September to be included in Scalarama. From the end of July / start of August, the full line up of events across the UK and the world will be circulated, to get people ready for the cinema celebration that is September’s Scalarama!

Start a Local Scalarama!

So you want to transform where you live into a mecca of cinema-loving action?! Scalarama is the best place to start.

Scalarama can happen everywhere, in its mission to Fill the World with Cinemas!

Since 2011, Scalarama has taken place in over 200 different cities, towns and villages in several countries. Over the years, local clusters of exhibitors have grouped together in cities to plan their September events in advance – sharing information on venues and equipment, knowledge, friendship and encouragement, as well as making sure events try not to overlap or take place at the same time. Marketing, promotion, design, social media and programming happens locally, with a central support team organising nationwide partnerships and publicity.

It’s not just cities – many town and villages have seen Scalarama events take place in local cinemas, community centres, parks… You just need to find local like-minded cinema enthusiasts and Scalarama <insert place name here> is go!

If you want to organise a local Scalarama, drop the central support team an email so they can let you know what is involved – email for more info and for tips on how to get started.

Local Scalarama Meetups – Nottingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh and more…

One of the best things about Scalarama is meeting like-minded people, and also not so like minded people, through the commonality of watching and talking about films together. Since March, local Scalarama groups made up of film clubs, venues, local organisations or simply enthusiastic individuals, have been meeting across the UK to discuss what they can create together in September.

Monthly or regular meet ups are planned in the major cities, with more to be announced. Check out the event calendar for meet ups and if you don’t see your city or town, or want to know more about starting up a local Scalarama meeting, get in touch on and a member of the central support team will get in touch.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Hull: Next meets up to be confirmed

Scalarama: Celebrating Cinema Every September

Since 2011, Scalarama has seen September transformed into the month of cinema, where films clubs, venues, groups and movie lovers unite to shine a spotlight on all the different ways to watch films together on the big screen. With over 500 different organisations taking part so far, from complete newcomers to established cinemas, Scalarama is the biggest and widest film event of its kind, and a perfect time to start your own film screenings.

Scalarama is a celebration of cinema, by everyone, for everyone, everywhere. Anyone can put on an event – it just needs to take place between 1 – 30 September.

From April, interested participants start to meet locally to plan and coordinate their activities so they don’t overlap, organise workshops for people who are new to screening film and discuss ideas that could be shared around the country. May is when these shared programme ideas come together, and then by the end of June, a plan comes together. July sees all the events submitted so far published on this website and in promotional material – and August is when everyone makes some noise to get everybody prepared for a month of cinema!

Want to find out more about local groups? Head to our Locations section…

Want to find out more about the history of Scalarama and previous years’ activities? The About section has all the info.

Want to learn about how to put on your own film screenings? I Want To Be A Cinema has you covered.


I Want To Be A Cinema

All the tips and hints you need to become a cinema!

If you’ve always dreamed of owning a cinema or fancy your hand at showing films to others – but don’t know where to start – you’ve come to the right place. With vast leaps in technology, cinema is as accessible as ever – but there are still many things to consider before you start warming up your projector!

Here are some handy links to start you in the right direction!

Chomping at the bit to start? For guides and information on setting up a film club / cinema, check out the resources from the awesome Independent Cinema Office and the brilliant Cinema For All (formerly known as the British Federation of Film Societies) – two organisations who fully support film initiatives across the UK.

The British Film Institute (BFI) have created a network for film exhibitors across the UK, entitled Film Audience Network. Operating in 9 regions nationwide and managed by a Hub Lead Organisation, it is worth checking out their websites to see what they can do to support. If you already showing films, membership to the Network is free, so you having nothing to lose, and advice and potential funding to gain!


Once you have selected your films, below are a few useful links for tracking down the screening rights. Generally if you’re screening from 35mm (celluloid film – like how it used to be!) or DCP (Digital Cinema Package – a newer format used for digital projectors) in a traditional cinema environment then you’ll need theatrical rights but if you are screening from Blu-Ray or DVD then it’s non-theatrical (even if you are screening in a cinema). It is always best to check with the venue to see if they can help you organise the rights.

To find the distributor, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) site is useful if it is a recent release. It might also help to Google ‘<the title of the film> + BBFC’ to go direct to the correct page. For the distributor name, check rows labelled FILM (rather than VIDEO – as this will be the home entertainment distributor who might be different).

DVD/Blu-ray Non-Theatrical Bookings
These are some of the most used ones (you’ll need to have accounts set up to order from the below), pretty much everything else is on the ICO directory
Cinema For All also operates their own booking scheme.


Theatrical Bookings
It is often best to get the programmer at the cinema you’re using to contact the distributors, otherwise a full list is here.

A guide to programming Archive Film with lots of links to archives here plus check out Film London’s new Made in London resources. Focal also has a lot of information.

If a film hasn’t had a theatrical or DVD release in the UK, see if the film has a website/social media links where you can get in touch with the makers direct to ask about screening the films – if you can’t find a website/social media link, it might be worth Googling and seeing if the film has been shown at a film festival and getting in touch with the festival programmers to see if they have a contact for the filmmakers.



Premises License
If your venue already show films or often has entertainment, it should hold a valid premises license – check with the venue manager that this does include the ability to hold film screenings. If they don’t have a valid premises license, or if they need to add film screenings to it, you will need a Temporary Events Notice. However, the premises licence law has recently changed meaning that if you are holding a not-for-profit screening at a community venue (hall, community centre, church, etc), you do not need to have a license. Cinema For All’s website has more details about the recent change.

Equipment and Tech
Before booking your film, check with the venue what equipment they have and what format they prefer films to be on.
For projector hire and screens, QED Productions are excellent for large-scale events.
Otherwise The Lost Picture Show have screening equipment for hire with discounted rates for small/community projects. Contact
The BFI have a Neighbourhood Cinema scheme that offers support. The equipment fund is now closed.

Cinema For All offers Equipment hire in partnership with Film Hub Wales, Film Hub South East, Flatpack Projects, In-Situ and Glasgow Women’s Library. Equipment hire is free to full members for an initial test screening and after that £25 per screening for members and £40 per screening for non-members. Hire for non-volunteer led groups or commercial groups is £65.

Before publicising your event, it’s worth considering how accessible the venue is in terms of location and provision for disabled audiences. Disabled Go and artsline provide information on a few venues. Your Local Cinema collects listings of subtitled screenings for audiences with hearing loss.



Here are some links to help with marketing and promotion: is a great tool for listing your film event and getting it noticed on the map, plus it’s free to use.

Sydney Fringe Festival has a useful resource pack on press and promotion, mostly aimed at theatre/cabaret performances but lots of useful tips in there as well especially around writing a press release and promotions.

For audience research, Google Analytics and Piwik offer great insights into visitors on your website, seeing where they have come from and what pages they spend longest on. And once you’ve collected email addresses, why not send out a survey for feedback via Google Forms, or Survey Monkey.

A great infographic about using images – specifically for trailers, but useful for all visual marketing materials.

Mailing lists
Mailchimp is an online mailing list service that offers free accounts for up to 2000 subscribers.
Examples of good mailing lists that our worth checking out:
We Like… Email to sign up.
Flatpack Assemble: Film Wire Sign up here
Encounters Sign up here

Screen Slate – New York based cinephile who logs every classic film screening in the city. Sign up here.

Guardian journalist Tony Paley lists a different rep film each day on his blog: Capital Celluloid

Lively Facebook group of fellow exhibitors and film festival folk – Cinematic Drifters



First off – consider becoming a member of your local Film Hub as part of the Film Audience Network. It’s free and easy to join for film exhibitors and gives you access to all Film Hub funding and support. In addition to various funds for exhibition, they also offer bursaries to attend training covering up to 70% of the costs.

Nationally, there is also the BFI Audience Fund which is generally for larger projects, but might be worth investigating if you are planning nationwide events or partnerships.

Crowdfunding is also an option for fundraising, if you want to check out this route, main sites include Kickstarter, Indie Go Go and Sponsume.

You can check out the Scalarama Kickstarter campaign we did last year here, and the Sheffield Doc/Fest page here. Charlie Phillips of Sheffield Doc/Fest talks through their campaign here, and there are more top tips here.



… but last (but not least) you should aim to be screening films for the love of it! Having volunteers on board is a great way to get help, but make sure you treat them well. Here’s some guidelines on volunteering and Film Hub South West West Midlands have created some outstanding Volunteer Resources for film organisations.

For some inspirational stories from volunteer-based cinemas check out Cube Cinema (Bristol), Star and Shadow Cinema (Newcastle) and the Small Cinema Liverpool.

Further afield Kino Climates network of microcinemas across Europe are often small, volunteer driven spaces. Cinefamily in LA and Spectacle in Brooklyn have great programming. The French Tour des Cinemas team have many resources on cinemas of the future.

And of course, be inspired by Scalarama! In 2013, we asked exhibitors to make a declaration for cinema – here they are and check out the whole site for more tips, ideas and inspirations. Keep in touch via and follow this year’s event on Twitter @scalarama.

Good luck with your cinematic adventures!