How to Host a Red Carpet Movie Premiere

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Actors Michael Hunt and Tiffany Jordan. Photo by David G. Baker

Red Carpet Premiere. It sounds so glamorous and exciting, something that most people only read about and never actually attend. But then I started noticing smaller filmmakers hosting red carpet events and I decided if they could do it, so could we. So at the completion of Flowers for Fannie, we decided to make our cast and crew screening a red carpet event. Only what did that involve? I began asking around, interviewing actors and filmmakers and discovered it wasn’t nearly as mysterious as I thought. In fact, it was something that could be done on a limited budget by any filmmaker.

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Actors Jaylon and Johnnie Gordan. Photo by Burr Mathews

First, you need the red carpet. I must admit, the thrill of this alludes me, but it’s very important in the industry. I did a quick search and discovered that the first mention of walking a red carpet goes back to 456 BC when the title character in the play Agamemnon walks on a crimson path laid out by his wife. Since then it has been used by royalty and Presidents, gala social events, and even weddings. The significance is that this is an important event and those who walk the red carpet are the important people.

There are plenty of places where you can rent a red carpet for the day, however, if you’re going to do multiple events, you can purchase your own. All you need is red felt from your local fabric store. Just be sure to tape it down so that it doesn’t move around.

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Actors A. Michelle Harleston and Donnie Hall

Next, encourage your cast, crew, and audience to dress in their finest. Something about ladies and girls in floor length gowns or playful party dresses gives the event a festive party feel. Of course, not everyone will want to dress up, and that’s fine. The idea is to offer the opportunity for those who love dress up occasions, but let everyone come in whatever makes them feel most comfortable. And, of course, have a backdrop set up so that everyone can pose for pictures.

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Finally, provide little touches to make the evening special. For Flowers for Fannie, the local funeral home provided limo service for all the cast and crew. They would pick them up at the back of the church and drive them around to the front entrance. Then the limo would circle around the block to pick up the next group. The actors loved it. The funeral home enjoyed it (they don’t get to enjoy many festive events). And it gave our small town something to talk about.

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Actors Robert Baker, Jr. and Jonathan Everett and their guests

For The Good Book, we hosted a reception afterwards. This proved to be perhaps more popular than the limo as it gave everyone a chance to socialize and talk about the movie. Image

Whatever you decide, remember, the important thing is just providing an occasion for cast, crew, and community to view the movie and enjoy each other’s company.

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Actress Apolonia Davalos

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