A public film screening is a good event to inform your local media about so that they can report on it and help to inform people about the event and the issue.
Here are some tips for contacting media:
- Make sure the event is open to the public otherwise it can be difficult for media to report on it.
- Modify our sample press release (below) to suit your event and location. Be sure to include a quote and brief information about any local or visiting participants who may be of interest for media to interview.
- Contact community event listings in online or print media and provide them the press release.
- Contact individual reporters you know and send them the press release and ask if they can report on it or if they can recommend another reporter who can. Ask friends and colleagues if they have any contacts they could introduce to you.
- Contact reporters you don't know by looking for stories on other related issues such as health, transplantation, world news, China, human rights, film/TV reviews, etc. Look for the reporter's contact information and email them the press release and then call to make sure they received it and to ask if they are interested in it or could recommend someone else who might be. If a media has a special section or program (eg. film reviews or world news, look for the editor of that section and contact them)
- Contact the news editor of each media. Look for newspapers, blogs, TV stations, radio stations and call the office to tell them about the event and ask who is the best person to send it through to. Try to get a name, email and direct line for the person. Send it through and follow up again with a phone call.
Remember, researching the right people and following up via email and phone - being polite but persistent - is worth the effort to get through to busy journalists.
Sample Press Release for cities where a local resident experienced persecution in China
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
“Hard to Believe,” But All Too Real: Documentary Investigating Crime of Executing Political Prisoners for Organ Trade Featured at the [VENUE/EVENT]
(CITY/STATE DATE) – “Hard to Believe,” an award-winning documentary produced by US film company Swoop Films and directed by Emmy Award-winning director, Ken Stone, will screen at [VENUE] on [DATE] at [TIME]. The hour-long film investigates the widespread Chinese government practice of executing political prisoners and selling their organs to “transplant tourists”, including US citizens.
“Hard to Believe” was selected out of hundreds of film submissions to the [FILM FESTIVAL], which is now in it’s [YEARS RUNNING] year. Since it’s release in 2015, “Hard To Believe” has won 13 film awards, broadcast over 50 times on PBS stations, is being translated into 12 languages and used in college classrooms across America.
“Being able to see this film at a local film festival is fantastic,” says [NAME OF LOCAL RESIDENT], an [CITY] resident who was jailed and forced to make Christmas lights in slave labor conditions in China for 30 days because he practiced Falun Gong.
“Harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners might sound hard to believe for many Americans, but because of what I have experienced, it is no surprise to me whatsoever,” says [NAME].
Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that was banned by the Chinese regime because of its popularity and its practitioners became the target for imprisonment and killing for the sale of their organs. Investigators estimate that up to 100,000 have been killed annually for the sale of their organs after 2001.
“Americans need to know what’s going on in China,” says [CITY] resident, [NAME], who was jailed and tortured in China for passing out literature that exposed human rights abuse in China. She escaped to America in 2006.
“Many Chinese doctors were trained in the U.S. to do organ transplantation—quite a few of my Chinese friends came to the University of [STATE] as visiting scholars—but American doctors may know nothing about the crime,” said [NAME]. “Films and festivals like this give everyone a chance to learn about it.”
[STATE] resident and representative of the non-governmental organization, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, [NAME], will attend the film screening and a Q&A session afterwards.
[NAME OF EACH ADVOCATE AND WITNESS], and the filmmakers are all available for interview upon request.
For More Information Contact:
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]