September 2015 was the first anniversary of the monthly community doco screening! One year of 11 documentary screenings in the CWA of Cobargo and 1 in the Wandella bush.

It all started because Lena Kuppens missed the experience to watch beautiful, interesting, intense, happy, sad and inspiring documentaries with a group of people, she yearly enjoyed at the International Documentary Festival (IDFA) in Amsterdam. Not being able to attend the IDFA she figured she could bring the experience in a small way to our community.

Doing research on documentary screenings and copyrights in Australia she found a very helpful small movie and documentary distributor in Brisbane, where she purchased her first documentary with community screening rights, ‘Make Humus not War’.

The CWA cottage was and is a great room to host the screenings with a projector on hand and a welcome set-up for the shared coffee, tea and home baked sweets.

Communicating through posters in town, the community email list and a notice in the Triangle, that first community doco screening was well visited with a home-made humus competition afterwards.

The documentaries shown are of a very varied subject, from foodie to music, art, social issues and the environment. A very popular doco screening, with over 40 attendees, was about honey bees with a lively Q&A afterwards with natural beekeeper Adrian Iodice.

Most documentaries Lena finds online, visiting websites of documentary festivals, through newsletters or special requests. When she finds a documentary worth screening, she tries to find the documentary makers or the Australian distributor to discuss screening rights. Most documentary makers / distributors are very willing to offer a special deal for a community screening, mostly around $100. Paying at least a small amount to the makers, so they can make more documentaries.

From the start a lot of people have expressed thumbs up for the idea of the screenings and over the year people from around the Bega valley and a small group of loyal people have been attending, but it would be great to see a bigger regular audience. With the rent of the CWA room and the screening rights the cost of the screenings are not always covered by the donations. Luckily enough the really popular doco screenings have been helping out a bit.

Thanks for all the support and see you all at the next community doco screenings!

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