Helen Hyland, Fundraising Manager, ME Association
“The screening was AMAZING! Over 40 people turned up…. There was such a good atmosphere and the Q&A session after was very powerful and interesting…. So many people wanted to talk and share ideas that we had to literally kick people out of the building, as it was closing!”
The ME Association has been overwhelmed by the number of supporters that have hosted showings of Unrest around the country. Committing to doing something like this is quite an undertaking: worthwhile and empowering, but also draining and demanding.
King's Cross One Kx Cafe
If this is something you are thinking about doing, we hope that our experiences will help you in planning and preparing for your own event. Chiara organised the recent screening of Unrest at King's Cross in London.
She writes, “I was absolutely wrecked, and my symptoms were worse than they have been in a long, long, time. It is definitely a big responsibility to take on.”
Here are some of Chiara's tips:
- Give yourself plenty of lead-in time to organise and to promote the event,
- You will want to contact Unrest and complete their enquiry form in advance, especially if you need advice on film licensing etc.
- Get in touch with the ME Association for fundraising supplies and support (see below),
- Work with the venue. Our venue in Kings Cross generously gave us their lovely cafe to use for free for the event, helped with all aspects of set up and promotion, and were so supportive. They said they'd be happy to do another screening, and that we could make their place a hub for M.E. events if we wanted to (yippee!),
- Allocate tasks before the event – photography, counting attendees, supervising check-in and donations…,
- If you can, try and find a supportive organisation/partner to cover the Unrest screening fee, so that all profits can go to charity,
- Look after yourself!
- Delegate – get a healthy co-advocate to help with promotions, set-up and practical aspects,
- Delegate some more – get others to do all the meeting, greeting, ticketing etc. on the night (especially if you're doing a Q&A!) and save your energy for talking after the film,
- Make a comfortable space for people with M.E. to watch from and label this space clearly – we used a sofa, and I brought myself a pillow and watched lying on the floor.
ME Association Support
Dr Shepherd, Hon. Medical Adviser to the ME Association, has taken part in a great many panel discussions at locally organised Unrest screenings. He comments:
“It has been an incredible time for raising awareness of M.E. to audiences up and down the country, and I remain personally grateful to Jennifer Brea and her production team for creating Unrest and bringing it to this country.
“I have personally been involved in screenings that have brought our shared message to the ears of politicians, the medical profession, medical students, and friends and family members, as well as to large numbers of people who have the disease.
“Unrest remains a powerful tool in our fight for recognition, fair treatment and research funding – and many more local events are planned for 2018. We're not done with it yet!”
Extra tips from Dr Shepherd if you are considering a Q&A session:
- The film is quite long – around 90 minutes – and if you are going to add a break after the film finishes followed by a one hour Q&A session you will need a minimum of three hours altogether
- If the film is going to be shown in the evening it’s advisable to try and start at about 6pm and preferably not much later than 6.30pm
- After the credits start rolling have a short break for refreshments etc. – if refreshments are not being provided make sure there is some water available
- Make it clear that this going to be a long evening if you have M.E. – so there isn't any problem if members of the audience want to leave before the Q&A has finished
- For the Q&As, try to arrange a ‘roving microphone’ plus someone to take it around, if the venue is large.
The fundraising team at the ME Association is here to help support your efforts – with information leaflets, donation boxes, and our iconic ‘It’s real, it’s physical’ t-shirts.
We can also give advice about online and text giving and gift aid, to help you make the most of your event. And we will help promote your event across our social media and include it in our website listing of local events.
If you would like support from the ME Association to help with your local Unrest screening event, then please contact our fundraising manager Helen Hyland via email or phone (01280 838964).