UK Media Protocol

Media Screening Procedures


For long-lead media, short-lead media or multi-media screenings

The sheer volume of new releases, coupled with the range of professional sectors requiring previews, makes an over-arching protocol for media screenings essential: without one, diary chaos would prevail.

All preview screenings are arranged and funded by distributors as a professional courtesy to enable designated sectors of the media to see each new film at the most appropriate possible time and in the best circumstances.

Professional invitees should attend their respective screening whenever possible. Inevitably, ad hoc requirements or last minute arrangements will have to be accommodated from time to time, and distributors will be as flexible as circumstances allow, but it is in all parties’ best interests that this generic protocol is followed.

Distributors’ application procedure for official screenings

1. In order to prevent instances of clashes or double bookings, applications for media screening dates must be made to FDA by the film distributor, NOT by a PR agency. FDA does not publish or disclose media screening details to third parties. Screening information is only available to FDA member companies.

2. Applications may only be made for a screening date if a release date is known (tentative release dates will be accepted), and then for a screening date no more than three months ahead of the date the application is made.

3. Only one long-lead media screening and one short-lead media screening may be booked with FDA per film. Alternatively one multi-media screening may be booked to cover both sectors simultaneously.

4. These screenings are usually held on Monday-Friday, at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start. When it is necessary to hold two screenings in one evening, a 9.00pm start is recommended for the second film. When booking a 9.00pm screening, please check the running time of the earlier film with its distributor to be sure of avoiding any possible overlap.

5. Multi-media screenings are often scheduled on Sunday mornings, usually at 10.00am for a 10.30am start. Sunday morning screenings naturally work well for family-orientated and blockbuster films.

6. Lunchtime screenings, normally at 12.30pm for a 1.00pm start, are sometimes required where evening screenings are unavailable. Whatever the start time, all long-lead and short-lead screenings must be advised to FDA in advance to avoid potential clashes.

7. FDA should be notified of all cancellations at least three weeks prior to the proposed screening date, to enable other distributors to take up (and not to waste) the cancelled slot. When necessary, FDA operates a waiting list and cancellations will be advised only to those on that waiting list on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ad Hoc/Unofficial screenings

8. Distributors are recommended to regularly refer to FDA’s online screening calendar (which is only available to member companies) for information on the other screenings scheduled. It will benefit all companies for the calendar to be as comprehensive as possible.

9. Every effort should be made where possible to avoid screening clashes. Distributors are urged to pay attention to the FDA screening calendar and fill in all details of lunch-time mop-up screenings, etc to minimise potential overlaps. With so many films being screened it may well be impossible to avoid any screening clashes but it will be helpful to everyone to know exactly what is screening.

Media invitations

10. Invitations are issued solely at the discretion of the individual distributor and/or its appointed PR agency. FDA does NOT issue invitations to media screenings.

11. All invitations to cleared FDA media screenings MUST carry the FDA official screening logo device (available on request from FDA), to assist recipients in identifying it as an official FDA screening arranged for their professional sector – which accordingly they ought to attend.

12. Although all media are asked not to attend unofficial screenings (whose invitations will not carry the FDA logo), mop-up screenings will inevitably be needed when a clash of dates or leave of absence means invitees are not able to attend on the official screening date. The mop-up screening date MUST follow the official media screening date, and the invitation must specify that the screening is a mop-up. Wherever possible, the preferred time for lunch-time mop-ups is 12.30pm for 1.00pm start. Care should always be taken to avoid unnecessary clashes with other media screenings.

13. When a special screening takes place prior to an FDA long-lead media screening (such as for exhibitors or other groups), invitations should normally be restricted to those groups and not extended to others, whose own dedicated screening(s) will follow.

14. Distributors are able to use the FDA online screening calendar media screening to regularly update their screening booking requirements.

15. Journalists and others should be aware that film reviews and features may be embargoed (please Standard UK Embargo protocol). Individual distributors will advise of any embargo date on a film by film basis.

16. Journalists should not expect catering to be funded and provided at any screening unless notified by the distributor that it will be.

Week of Release Screenings – Information for journalists

17. The Week of Release (WoR) schedule is circulated to FDA accredited journalists four weeks in advance of the screenings. This is to enable reviewers to plan in advance the films they need to see for review purposes. For those accredited by FDA, ideally it would be at the WoR screenings. However, it may be necessary to catch particular films in advance of the WoR screening and reviewers should keep in contact with distributors to find out about alternative screenings.

18. Journalists should note that the WoR screening is usually the LAST opportunity to see a film before release. Requests really should not be made for alternative screenings post the WoR screening of any particular film.

19. The WoR screenings are subject to the Standard UK embargo, or in certain circumstances a ‘Hard Line’ Embargo as communicated by the Distributor. (Please see the Standard UK embargo protocol outlined above).

20. Week of Release screenings are scheduled for journalists and broadcasters as a matter of professional courtesy. Distributors take great effort to ensure that the film is presented in the best possible manner and on a professional basis. In return, we would remind those attending that the invitation is extended as a courtesy rather than a right and that attendance at any screening should be on the basis of mutual trust. Distributors always retain the right to decide who should be invited to which screenings. Accredited invitees are asked in the strongest of terms not to share screening details with other people.

21. The FDA WOR Reviewer Accreditation scheme will launch in January 2016. All journalists contributing to specific/identified outlets previously accredited to receive the WOR schedule will be provided with an accreditation card which should be presented when attending the weekly screenings. The accreditation system will be supported with an automated RSVP system directly communicating with the FDA member company releasing each individual title

Week of Release Screenings – Information for distributors

22. Distributors are reminded that the Week of Release Screenings are scheduled for the benefit of the reviewers. Historically, the national press show list (which predated the WoR screenings) was established to avoid screenings clashing and to ensure that the critics were able to attend screenings to enable them to run reviews. Although the number of releases has increased exponentially, the objective of the system remains the same.

23. Applications for Week of Release screenings MUST be made by the film’s distributor and should be made to FDA five weeks in advance of opening and must contain all available information as set out on the Official Application Form.

24. Details of the size of release are particularly important and accurate information must be provided.

25. Please note with the number of releases regularly topping 12–14 titles, the FDA team do not have the resources to chase distributors about allocating them a slot within the WoR schedule. That responsibility lies with the distributor.

26. Whilst last minute changes may occur from time to time where release dates change or the delivery of the film is delayed; alterations to the schedule should be avoided unless absolutely essential.

27. All efforts should be made to ensure that the information provided to FDA is accurate and correct. As the licensor representing the UK release, information from distributors will be deemed to be correct.