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A Guide to Organizing Your Own Online Film Premiere

Jourdan Aldredge

Have a short or feature film that you’re ready to show off online? Here’s a step-by-step guide to organizing your film’s premiere.

You’ve worked long days, crazy weekends, and through countless re-edits to finish up your film project, and now you can see the light at the end of the tunnel — your big film premiere. Whether it’s a film festival, a rented theater or performance center, or even just at your house with your family and friends, a film premiere is cause for celebration and a fun way to introduce your project to the world.

Unfortunately, sometimes having a real-life, in-person film premiere just isn’t feasible. Luckily, the concept of hosting online film premieres has gained popularity over the past few years, and much of the required infrastructure is readily available.

So, if you have a recently (or soon-to-be) wrapped project that you’re ready for the world to see, here are some helpful tips and resources for organizing your own online film premiere.


Choosing a “Venue”

Choose a Venue

Choosing the appropriate digital format for your premiere will be a factor in its overall success. Image via Tero Vesalainen.

Much like choosing the right venue for an in-person film screening, the “venue” for your online premiere is your biggest decision. You should ask yourself many of the same questions: How many people are you expecting? Are you charging for tickets or is it going to be free? Do you plan to speak before or have some sort of Q&A after? The answers to these questions will help you choose the digital platform that’s right for your event.

While you can always do a makeshift “premiere” with one of the big video platforms like YouTube or Vimeo (which you can spruce up with a “live” intro before or a Q&A session after), there are some cool newer apps to consider as well.

The most well known might be Twitch, which is popular with all types of live streaming, and has actually been used for film premieres in the past — here’s a great example. Some other live streaming options (where your audience can experience the event together) include AmazonLive, Watch2gether, and Gaze.


Create and Promote Your Event

Promote your online premiere.

Heavily promote your online premiere so your viewers can plan on attending, popcorn in hand. Image via Nast.Alex.

I’ve been lucky enough to help organize a few screenings — both for my projects and the projects of others. And, while most of those have been for actual in-person guests, many of the concepts for creating and promoting online events are the same.

I’d recommend going with a Facebook event, as I’ve found those get the best response. Make sure people are well aware of your premiere’s date and time, and post the link frequently to give potential audience members plenty of opportunities to sync their calendars.

Pro-tip: Once your event is created, it’s not just up to you to get the word out. Enlist the cast, crew, family, friends, and whoever else you can think of to spread the word on their social channels. It’s a special day, so they’ll be happy to help.


Sell Tickets or Open Donations

Sell Tickets

In addition to selling tickets, offer promotional T-shirts and posters for your film. Image via Ivan Kruk.

If you’re looking to sell tickets, it’s best to use a platform like Eventbrite to handle the transactions, or use a platform like GoFundMe to request donations for tickets. You can then promote your Eventbrite screening or GoFundMe page on Facebook and the rest of your channels.

Consider adding tiers to your ticket donations that come with film-related swag. It’s a great way to raise funds. Create some posters, T-shirts, and other limited-edition promo items and keepsakes if you haven’t already.


Consider Adding More Programming

Grow your audience.

Turn your online premiere into a mini film festival to capture more viewers. Image via Antonio Guillem.

In light of what looks to be a months-long block of festival cancellations, consider catering to the public’s hunger for new content by surrounding your online premiere with additional programming.

It’s a move that’s trending — SXSW partnered with Amazon to put together an online streaming “festival” for all the films that would’ve been premiering during the cancelled 2020 event.

This approach can really benefit creators who want to premiere short films, as many festivals traditionally showcase shorts together in programming blocks. This is an exciting opportunity to partner up with friends and fellow filmmakers to pool your resources — and your audiences.

Cover image via Maxx-Studio.


Looking for more resources related to filmmaking, film premieres, and festivals? Check out the articles below!