Graeme Smith of Kelty Community Cinema in Fife tells us about his experience of securing sponsorship for their venture.

"When our first film, The Jungle Book sold out, we then had some money set aside for our next film. But rather than just use it for the next licence we thought about who we could approach who might be interested in sponsoring a film.

Kelty has a cinema history with films shown at the Gothernberg Hall and the Regal cinema - neither of which survive. But adjacent to the site of the old Regal is now Regal Motors, so we approached the firm and they said they would be happy to cover the cost for three film licences.

We had noticed a deal for start-up cinemas with Filmbank Media, who offered a reduced rate for three films of £60 each, so we chose Hotel Transylvania 2, Zootropolis and The Grinch.

Unlike most local clubs or societies, cinema has a universal appeal across all ages and is therefore seen as a worthy community venture - so perhaps this eases the case when asking for financial support. In return, we clearly stated the sponsor’s name in all publicity, such as posters and tickets, and in press information sent to local papers etc. 

We realised that we could approach local businesses with a wide range of sponsorship deals to cover the cost of printing tickets and posters, buying tuck shop items, as well as the film licence. This range of potential support can draw in money from smaller businesses who may not have enough to cover a whole licence.

We will also consider linking a sponsor to a particular movie. For example:

  • Robin Hood sponsored by The Forestry Commission
  • Jaws sponsored by the fish and chip shop or fishmonger,
  • Cars sponsored by the local garage
  • 101 Dalmatians sponsored by the local kennels     
  • Summer Holiday sponsored by the local bus museum
  • Enter The Dragon sponsored by the Chinese Takeaway

Once you start linking these things, secondary ideas spring to mind such as fancy dress, competitions, etc.

Another idea is to work with local groups like senior citizens, scouts, youth groups, etc to see if they could make use of the community cinema to show a film as a fundraiser or to raise awareness of an issue.

But if you're organising a community cinema, make sure you get a group of reliable people on board, so you don’t have to do it all!"

Find out more about Kelty Community Cinema, and their latest screenings, on their Facebook page.


If you want to know what films the people in your community want to see, ask them! Here are a few ideas:

  • Set up a Facebook page for your community cinema and ask people to leave suggestions. 
  • Hand out feedback forms after each screening (download an example form here).
  • Find a fun way to gauge what people thought of the film - for example West Side Cinema in Orkney uses a 'Ping-pongometer' at the end of screenings, where audience members drop a ping pong ball into baskets 1 - 5 depending on how much they liked the film.
  • Consider complementing your main film with a short that hails from your part of the world. The Moving Image Archive in Glasgow has lots of interesting and unusual films from Scotland (read our report of it here) and British Library has an extensive Sound and Moving Image catalogue.


There's no point holding a screening if nobody comes to it! Audiences will build over time and some films will be more popular than others (but it's still worth programming a mix of genres and styles to perhaps broaden people's tastes). 

As with any event, a mix of traditional and online publicity works best. Including:

  • Posters at your venue
  • Posters in local shops, businesses and library
  • Facebook page 
  • Try to get an article in your local paper or a mention on your local radio station

The following Voluntary Arts briefings also have advice on spreading the word:

Creating engaging content for social media

How to write a press release