Host a Virtual Screening

A Step by Step Guide for Because Our Cause Is Just

Step 1: Select an online screening platform

There are more options than ever for hosting a virtual film screening. For WLP's screenings, we use two hosting platforms, Zoom and  Zoom is convenient and easy to use for hosting conversations, but some viewers may have connectivity issues that disrupt the video streaming. can serve as a backup for providing consistent HD viewing where connectivity is less robust.

  • Zoom allows you to use the screen share option to stream  films for all participants. Some helpful tips include:
    • To make sure you have sound, select "Share computer sound" when you enable your screen share. 
    • To avoid sharing your entire screen, which may include pop-up messages or other content you do not want to make part of the screening, choose the correct screen share option. When you select screen share in Zoom, you will be prompted to choose a share option. These will include sharing your entire screen or sharing a specific program.
    • To assist with addressing technical issues and hosting the conversation, it is helpful to have a co-host to share these responsibilities.
  • allows for synchronized film viewing in HD. However, it does not allow you to host a video discussion prior to and after the screening. To work around this, you will have to direct your viewers away from your Zoom meeting to link to the screening, and then direct them back after the screening. For this reason, WLP uses as a backup option for anyone experiencing technical or connectivity difficulties with the Zoom screen share. 

Helpful factors to consider when choosing your platform

  • Do participants have a strong internet connection? 
    • Having back-up viewing options is ideal for groups with varying internet connectivity.
  • Does the host have a strong internet connection? 
    • If the host does not have a strong internet connection, screen sharing on Zoom is not ideal.
  • Do you want participants to watch the video simultaneously?
    • If so, you will not want to direct participants to watch on video platforms where they control the start and stop times, or can stop the video midway. On the host controls the viewing start time. If a participant joins late or pauses during viewing, once they hit play, their viewing will adjust to the same point as the rest of the group.

Step 2: Sending invitations

It is important to email your event invitations at least one week in advance so that your invitees have time to arrange their schedules. Send a second email invitation/announcement a day or two before the event as well, to serve as a reminder. Below is an example of an email invitation to the screening that you can edit to fit your circumstances.

Dear [NAME],

We hope that you can join us on [DATE + TIME] for a film screening and discussion about Women Learning Partnership’s documentary, Because Our Cause Is Just.

The 36-minute film features the viewpoints and stories of women in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region who are fighting for their right to be part of their countries’ evolving political systems.

Begun as a civil movement of women and men seeking human rights and justice after decades of dictatorship, the Arab Spring revolutionary wave has not yielded justice for all. Instead, political openings caused by the unrest have been exploited by Islamist groups who seek to not only exclude women from the political process but to remove them from public life through intimidation, oppressive legislation, and even physical violence.

Filmmakers Deb Bergeron and Kim Connell conduct interviews with women who are seeking progress on women’s rights in Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Their stories and perspectives illuminate the extraordinary challenges and continuing optimism of the women fighting for change.

We want to hear your thoughts about the film and your ideas about the important and timely issues it raises. Following the screening, [NAME OF ORGANIZER] will host a conversation about the film.

Please RSVP by replying to this email and we will send you a link to the film and follow-up conversation.

In solidarity, 


Step 3: Developing an agenda

Depending on the size of your viewing audience, it may be helpful to share an agenda for the screening. The agenda can be emailed to participants, along with a reminder about the upcoming screening, a day or two before the event or shared on the day of the event.

Step 4: Facilitate a conversation about the issues raised in the film

Below are some suggested icebreakers and questions that may help you facilitate a discussion after the film. Welcoming and non-judgmental facilitation will encourage greater participation. If the group is large, or its participants are not well-known to each other, it can be useful to set time limits on responses. Suggest to participants that they keep their answers brief, about a minute or so in length so that the group hears from as many participants as possible. Depending on the number of participants in the screening, how well they know each other, and their prior familiarity with the issues raised in the film, an icebreaker exercise may or may not be appropriate. For more extensive guidelines on facilitating, click here to read or download, “Communicating in a Workshop Setting,” excerpted from WLP’s training manual, Leading to Choices.


If your group is relatively small, with approximately 12 or fewer people, you may wish to start with “icebreakers” to get the conversation started. Here are some examples:

  • Share your name and three words that best describe how the film made you feel.
  • Share your name, and in one sentence, describe which issue raised in the film is most important to you.
  • Share your name and the issue or concern that you feel is most pressing at this moment for you, your family, and colleagues, and how it relates to the film.

Discussion Questions

  • Several of the film’s commentators discuss how in some societies women are relegated to the private space, and men are expected to inhabit the public space. Are there some examples of this divide in your family or community?
  • How does the expectation that women should inhabit the private/domestic sphere undermine equal rights for women?
  • One commentator in the film says that in a society, “if you cannot see full equality for women, you may be sure that you will not see full equality for any minority.” Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
  • Complementarity is the state of being complementary, that is serving to complete the other. What is the problem when women are granted only complementarity, and not equality, with men? What rights does complementarity guarantee for women? What rights are not guaranteed? How does complementarity differ from equality?
  • In the film, several of the commentators speak about how radical or extreme ideology, presented as religious orthodoxy, is frequently deployed to curtail the rights of women. Can you think of examples of where this is true?
  • One of the commentators speaks about the interrelatedness of women’s rights and geopolitical realities. She says that for countries in the MENA region who “tow the line” of being market economies sympathetic to the West, nobody will look very closely at what they are doing internally to deny women’s rights. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • “Democracy is a work in progress,” says one of the commentators. What should be the goal for women? How should it be pursued? Through laws, or through the evolution of culture and attitudes? Both?
  • “Opening channels and forming alliances with men’s groups is quite critical. . . otherwise the women’s movement will remain an isolated, excluded movement from the mainstream of political formations,” says a commentator. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Step 5: Ending the Event

At the conclusion of your event, it can be helpful to summarize some of the key ideas that arose during the discussion. This is something that the host/facilitator can do, or you can plan for another participant to do it. If one of your objectives is to build a network of activists, you may wish to ask participants to suggest next steps for themselves and the group.

After thanking everyone, you may wish to ask participants to send you feedback via email or a survey.

Your concluding remarks can include information about projects you and/or your organization are working on, links to or information about other activities, and next steps!

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