access>CINEMA facilitates and increases access to a wider choice of cinema for all communities and audiences in Ireland.

We do this though our nationwide network, where we work with a lot of different local organisations including professional venues (e.g. arts centres), voluntary-run film societies, independent cinemas and film festivals. More than 70 film clubs and venues are part of the access>CINEMA network, with several networking opportunities – such as screening days with previews of upcoming films – organised each year for programmers to share ideas, advice and experiences.

The main service we provide to the members of our network is a cultural film programming service.

Through this service we provide members with film programming advice and information and a centralised film booking and despatch facility.

We also offer the following services to members:

  • Regular programming advice, lists and updates
  • Twice-yearly programming meetings
  • One-to-one programming advice for each club / venue
  • Curation of original touring film programmes  
  • May Film Tour in partnership with Bealtaine Festival
  • Silver Screen programme for older audiences
  • Children’s programme for family audiences
  • Preview screening events, including annual Viewing Sessions weekend and twice-yearly Screening Days
  • Training and networking events
  • Technical advice

Yes, you need to be a member of the access>CINEMA network to be able to use these day-to-day services.

We do however provide general information to anyone who is interested in cultural cinema or wants more details on how to start screening films in their local community. We currently organise four information sessions a year that anyone can attend.

We also help facilitate test screenings for any group or organisation that is considering a regular cultural film programme.

You do not need to be a member of the access>CINEMA network to use these general services.

Please contact us on info@accesscinema.ie if you would like more details.

Traditionally ‘cultural cinema’ referred primarily to ‘arthouse’ or world cinema.

Today, our main aim is to help organisations across Ireland give their local audiences access to as much film choice as possible.

So now a ‘cultural cinema’ programme is considered to be one which screens a more diverse programme of films, which cannot be seen at the local cinema or multiplex.

This programme may include classic films, documentaries, independent English language films and non-commercial Irish films – all alongside foreign language or world cinema films.

Films that are available to buy on DVD or Blu-Ray, as well as those available on streaming or download services such as Netflix, are licensed for home entertainment purposes only.

If you wish to screen a particular film in a public scenario, i.e. to an audience, you will require the permission of the rights holder (which is normally the film’s distributor) to show the film publicly and will need to pay a licence fee.

Sometimes a film distributor will only have limited rights, whereby the film will be available to buy in shops. Unless that distributor has also acquired theatrical rights for the film, they will be unable to take bookings for screening the film in cinemas or other venues.

If a distributor has both theatrical and home video / VOD (video on demand) rights, they should be able to licence a public screening of the film, but this often must be approved on a screening-by-screening basis. Unfortunately, some films will not be available for public screening, or may only be available during a limited time window.

The main things you need to think about are:

What type of venue, equipment etc… do I need?

You will need to consider a venue that is a suitable film screening venue and that also has the space to welcome an audience.

You will need a venue that has the necessary equipment to screen a film. Usually, this will be a projector, a suitable screen, a sound system and a device to play the films (such as a laptop or Blu-Ray / DVD player). If a venue does not have the equipment already, you will need to source it. You should also consider sound and acoustics of the space.

You will also need to consider promotion – especially during test screenings and the early stages of a new film club / venue, you will need to find your audience.

What format do I want to screen from?

You will need to check what format the venue you are planning to use can screen from. This could be one of DCP, Blu-ray, DVD or digital files.

Most full-time cinemas and some arts centres currently screen using DCP (Digital Cinema Package), where the film is delivered either as a large digital download or physically on a hard drive as a software file. DCP has replaced 35mm film as the cinema screening standard, with only a limited number of cinemas still screening retrospective or select new release titles on 35mm. DCP projectors are advanced, expensive pieces of equipment and usually require a dedicated projectionist / technician to operate. The resolution and quality of the image when screening using DCP is superior compared to using DVD, Blu-ray or digital files. 

DVD or Blu-ray are generally used for screening in smaller venues, or typically non-traditional cinema environments. To screen via DVD or Blu-Ray, you will need a disc player, a film disc, a projector & screen, and a sound system. While some technical setup may be necessary and testing is always needed, this is generally a more accessible method of screening, similar to screening a film at home. Blu-Ray offers a higher resolution image than DVD, so will be better suited to larger screens. A Blu-Ray player will typically play DVD discs, but a DVD player will not play Blu-Ray discs.

Increasingly, digital files are being used as an alternative to DVD or Blu-Ray, with some titles no longer being made available on disc. Typically, the files are MP4 files in high-definition quality (similar to Blu-Ray) and delivered via a secure screening platform supported by access>CINEMA. The film can be downloaded and tested in advance, and can then be screened publicly without the need for an active internet connection. This type of screening typically involves simply connecting a laptop with the film file to a projector. 

The secure platform ensures the copyright of a title is protected by limiting the amount of views and deleting the content from the computer once the licence has expired. While there is a delivery fee per digital screening, this is typically lower than the cost of postage and packaging associated with discs or hard-drives.

What type of licence will I need?

The type of licence you will need will depend on your proposed screening scenario.

Generally speaking, if a screening intends to only allow members of an organisation (e.g. a film club) to attend a film screening, then you will need a non-commercial single title licence.

A non-commercial single title licence does not allow the sale of tickets either at or in advance of the screening. With this type of licence, you cannot advertise the details of the film screening outside of your members.

A commercial single title licence will be required if you wish to allow anyone, both general public and members of your organisation, to attend your film screening.

A commercial single title licence allows the exchange of money for the screening through the sale of tickets. Details of the film screening may also be advertised publicly.

When will a film be available to screen?

access>CINEMA produces regular programming lists for members offering guidance on when individual new release films will be available for screenings across the network.

The cost of a screening licence can vary depending on the film’s distributor and the type of licence you will need.

Generally speaking, a non-commercial single title licence involves paying a flat fee for the licence.

The cost of a commercial single title licence is normally determined by the amount of money collected at the film screening (the box office). You will need to file box office returns immediately after the screening and then pay a percentage of the box office collected to the film distributor. Most licences come with a minimum guarantee flat fee, which is the minimum amount owed to the distributor for a screening. You will pay either the minimum guarantee or a percentage of the box office – whichever is larger.

access>CINEMA negotiates the cost of the film licences required by its members on an ongoing basis.

Please contact us on info@accesscinema.ie for more information.

Yes, if you are screening a film in a public scenario, a licence is required regardless of whether an admission fee is charged or not.

Yes, if you are screening a film in a public scenario, a licence is required regardless if the aim of the event is to raise money for charity.

Depending on the details of the proposed event, it may be possible to negotiate with the film’s distributor to reduce the screening fee for your charitable screening.