UPDATED with Broken Places Documentary: Hosting a Film Screening to Start or Grow an ACEs Initiative: How-to Guide


Note: This screening guide is also attached in pdf format below. 

Movie screenings of documentaries, such as Broken Places (new!), Paper Tigers or Resilience, Portraits of Professional Caregivers The Raising of America, Invisible Scars, and Wrestling Ghosts are popular ways to introduce communities to ACEs science and help us to understand and talk about why ACEs, trauma-informed and resilience-building frameworks matter to people, families, communities, systems, and survivors.

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There is something about watching a movie together, in and as a community, that is bonding, intimate and makes us all equals.

As Anndee Hochman wrote in Using Film to Mobilize Action, movies can often reach reporters and community members in ways other formats and presentations do not. Movie screenings of documentaries, such as  Paper Tigers or Resilience are popular ways to introduce communities to ACEs science.

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  • So how does one host a movie screening?
  • How long does it take? What does it cost?
  • Where do I start?
  • Can an ACEs Connection Facilitator help?

These are the types of questions we routinely get from those interested in hosting a screening.

Here’s a short guide with what we’ve learned to make this process easier for you.  We invite you to share questions, feedback, and suggestions. Happy Viewing!

  1. Get Movies for Public Screenings 
  2. Plan Event 
  3. Considerations 
  4. Promote Event 
  5. Event 
  6. Invitations, Questions & Feedback 

Choose Movie for Public Screening

There are several ACEs-related documentaries available for screening in this guide (organized alphabetically). We will continue to add more as they become available.

Movie Trailers:  


Filmmakers: Roger Weisberg, Writer/Producer/Director

About: Broken Places poses the complex question of why some children are permanently damaged by early adversity while others are able to thrive. To help answer this question, we dug into 40 years of our film archives to update a few of the stories of children growing up in difficult circumstances that we filmed decades ago.

Costs (summarized below but detailed on documentary distributor site, here):

  • $295.00 Institutional & public viewing edition (includes DVD and unlimited public performance rights for a single campus or location.
  • $95.00: K-12 Edition (DVD for K-12 classroom instruction only)
  • $225.00: 1-Year Streaming License (public performance rights not included)
  • $375.00: 3-Year Streaming License (public performance rights not included)
  • $475.00: 1-Year Streaming License & PPR DVD Bundle (includes 1-year streaming license & perpetual public performance rights for a single campus)
  • $580.00: 3-Year Streaming License & PPR DVD Bundle (includes 3-year streaming license & perpetual public performance rights for a single campus)
  • Small non-profit organizations may contact allie@rocofilms.com for a quote.



Filmmakers: Johnna Janis & Sergio Myers

About: Invisible Scars explores Child Sexual Abuse (“CSA”) through the eyes of Johnna Janis, a woman, mother, wife, and friend who appears strong and confident. She candidly reveals the life-long struggles she has faced from the events that have haunted her since childhood.”

COSTS: FREE: Johnna Janis made this documentary available, for free, on Vimeo, as a gift so that others, particularly survivors of sexual abuse, now that healing is possible. VIMEO Link

Filmmakers: James Redford & Karen Pritzker

movie 2

About: ”Resilience reveals, toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. Resilience, however, also chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back.”
Paper Tigers, a documentary that “follows six students over the course of a school year as a new trauma-sensitive program is implemented.”

Cost:    For Paper Tigers & Resilience (as a package)

Education Rates:

  • $135. The price for one showing in one k-12 school.
  • $695. The price for multiple showings within same school district.
  • $595. The price for one showing at a college or university.
    Non-Education Rates: DVD
  • $350. for a single public viewing.
  • $795. for up to ten public viewings.

Non-Education Rates: Digital

  • $250. for a one-time showing in NON-PUBLIC event.
  • $595. for a one-time showing, with digital rights for a movie shown in a public setting.
  • $1295. for up to ten public viewings.
  • $1595. for a 3-year license.
  • $1695. for a life of the file format license.


  • The movie must be shown, for free, to attendees.
  • Schools or orgs with a multi-license agreement can co-sponsor viewings.
  • Paper Tigers can be purchased for individual viewing online. More here.  

ACEs Connection Communities:Please contact your Community Facilitatorwho can facilitate viewings of Resilience/Paper Tigers for review by steering committees or boards of directors  in non-public viewings.


movie 3 Filmmakers: Vic Compher (Director and Co-Producer), Rodney Whittenberg (Co-Producer and Composer) & Tim Fryett (Videographer, Editor)

About: Caregivers, “documentary film based on interviews with nurses, social workers, clinical psychologists, doctors, firefighters, first responders who rescue, assist, and help to heal the injured and traumatized—and also tell their own remarkable and often painful stories. The film takes us on a journey into a world the public rarely sees, depicting emotional costs experienced by professional care providers and probing the emotional consequences of professional public service.”

Costs: based on PPR (“Public Performance Rights, which means screenings to your institution or school where no admission is charged). More details and exact pricing, payments, handling fees and available discounts, all here but here’s a summary:

  • $250. for full feature DVD (74 minutes) OR broadcast version DVD (56 minutes).
  • $350. for full feature DVD and Blu Ray (74 minutes) OR broadcast version (56 minutes)
  • $75.00 for CAREgivers shorts (topics specific segments, 20 minutes).
    • An additional fee of $150. For a licensing fee of $150 makes it possible to do a community/public screening (and to charge admission for one year).  
  • $250. for public, private, and social service agencies for 56 minute version through Vimeo Video on Demand (VOD)
  • $20. for individuals for feather length version (74 minutes) through Vimeo for 24 hours
  • Universities, Colleges and other Educational Institutions contact Filmakers Library/ Alexander Street Press for streaming CAREgivers film or purchase DVDs
  • DISCOUNT of 20% for purchases of the film by agencies that want to incorporate it into their trauma-informed care (TIC) staff curricula.


movie 4

Film Producers: Produced by California Newsreel with Vital Pictures.

About: The acclaimed five-part documentary series and companion tools illustrate how a strong start for all our kids can lead to better individual outcomes AND a healthier, safer, more prosperous and equitable America.

Questions about movie and more information about ordering can be found here.  Here’s a brief summary of pricing. 

Video on Demand (Vimeo) Options

  • $1.99 an episode (5 total episodes) for 2 days of video on demand (Vimeo) for personal viewing (available in Spanish or English).
  • $195. for 1-year subscription for organizations of all five episodes (available in Spanish or English). Includes public performances as well as for staff trainings, conferences, and workshops. Available as video on demand through Vimeo.
  • $350. for unlimited access to staff, students, and faculty with classroom and public performance rights accessible through video on demand (Vimeo) in both Spanish and English (with subtitles).
  • $295. to host a video from university server, by purchasing DVD & 3-year license. Captioning files and digital video available upon request. This option must be ordered through Kanopy.

Costs for DVD Options:

  • $149. for DVD with public performance rights of all five episodes with English/Spanish audio and subtitles (this option does not include streaming or digital rights).
  • $295. for DVD and 3-year streaming licence.
  • $79.95 for discounted DVDs for public libraries, community organizations and HBCU’s that qualify.
  • $29.95 per DVD if ordered in bulk (50 orders or more)




Filmmaker: Ana Joanes

About:. Wrestling Ghosts follows the epic journey of Kim, a young mother who, with the help of her partner Matt and the support of therapists, works to confront her traumatic childhood to build a stronger bond with her sons.

While it centers around ACEs science, featuring the work of Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How We Heal, it does so without jargon and is unflinching at depicting the challenges and needs of those parenting with ACEs while introducing viewers to a wide range of approaches to healing and recovery. There’s a companion website as well dedicated toparent and survivor support.

Questions about movie and more information about ordering Wrestling Ghosts can be found here. Screening and pricing options are below.   

Screening Rates:

  • $100.00 The price for K-12 schools and libraries.
  • $350.00 The price for conferences and festivals.
  • $250.00 The price for all other screenings.
  •  $ 19.99 for individual viewing.
  • Director's Note: "No screenings request will be turned down for lack of funds. Please feel out the form and we'll help everyone organize a successful screening!"

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@Jocelyn  Goldblatt and @Emily Read Daniels, Community Managers of Monadnock Thrives, did a fundraiser on Facebook after their library venue filled to 80-person capacity on the first day they publicized the event. They raised enough in two days to rent a local movie theater and had a Resilience screening and a community discussion. Six weeks later, at a public event attended by 400 people, they launched their ACEs initiative and an ACEs community on ACEs Connection. Most images in this guide are from that event! The Community Managers even had enough money to get a program made for the event.

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2. Plan Event

Planning Team: Who will help plan? Meeting times/schedule?

Audience Size: Who will be invited?

Movie Location: There are free public spaces such as schools, libraries, town halls, and community centers. Sometimes schools or offices will co-host or permit viewings. Ask initiative and community members for space.

Date/s: One-time only or part of a series of events?

Event Format: How will the audience be engaged?

  • Will there be time for questions & discussion?
  • Will there be a speaker or a panel?
  • Include a world cafe or way to engage attendees?

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3: Considerations 

Inclusive? Is it reaching all sectors? Inclusive across and within sectors? Is language on flyer accessible and inviting? Is there a wide range of panelists from all parts of the community? Is public transportation available? Is childcare available?

ACEs Connection Community Launch/Relaunch? Some communities have a movie screening in conjunction with an ACEs Connection Community Site launch/relaunch.

Have Attendees Find Out Their Own ACE / Resilience Scores? This is frequently debated. Should it be done and what's the best way? Whatever is decided, have a plan, communicate it and if possible, have a support person present to talk more for those who would like that.

Plan Your Call to Action: What is the follow-up steps, if any, you want people to consider? Join a community / task force / steering group / ACEs Connection / training group? Take ACE information to others?

Host/Sponsor/Vendors? Sometimes a non-profit will help pay for flyers, popcorn, water or share a space to have a movie. Some will charge minimal amounts to cover the cost. Do you want free vendors and community information tables? Who else do you want at the event and in what role?

4: Promote Event  

Invitees: Who is the intended audience? How will you let people know of the event?  

Flyers/Brochures Samples/Examples:

Publicize: Get the word out. Promote, publicize, share, advertise.

  • Online: Websites, blogs, social networking sites. Post the event on ACEs Connection (calendar and community pages, blog posts) as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. You can use #hashtag campaigns or use #ACEs.
  • Word of mouth: Mention events on community and city or town or neighborhood pages, online and in person. Ask parents, schools, towns, and businesses to help.
  • In Print: In the calendar sections of newspapers, magazines, newsletters; send a press release to print, or contact a reporter who might want to cover or attend the event.
  • Flyers: Hang in public spaces (libraries, public transportation, daycares, coffee shops, etc.) or share via email or online. (See above for examples.) 


  • Building Open/Doors Unlocked (Emergency contacts/assistance?)
  • Signage for parking, location, movie showing?
  • Technology test run?
  • Popcorn/water (if relevant)
  • Social media/online reminders
  • Any other materials to distribute?  Any info to collect from the audience?

Reception/Greeting: Make all feel welcome. Can a few people greet/guide?

Sign-In Sheets (If also an AC community site launch have your AC Community Facilitator help get people signed into ACEs Connection and community.)

During: Show Movie (Most run movie straight through others stop to pace/digest/discuss)

movie 7

After: Consider format/activity for discussion, digesting, responding, absorbing content.

  • World Cafe?
    • Note: See excellent information about community cafes shared by ACEs Connection member, Robin Cogan, here.
  • Open discussion? 
  • Speaker or panel?
  • Stretching or movement?
    • Reminder: People will be assessing their own ACE/Resilience scores. Consider how to address. Do this formally, informally, casually, clinically or with Poll Everywhere - or not at all.

Closing / Call to Action
Let people know where to learn more, how to get involved. Go to go to ACEs Connection & Resources Center for handouts, surveys, ACEs flyer in (English & Spanish, Growing Resilient Communities 2.0, ACEs Science & ACEs Too High news.  

6: Invitation, Questions & Feedback

Our community members are our best resource. That’s you! Many communities have done screenings, viewings, and share blog posts and ask-the-community questions and feedback. Here are examples of what we've shared with each other.  

Please add your experiences, ideas, resources and suggestions. Please share the lessons you and your community have learned with the wider community.

We want to hear from you!


Add Comment

Comments (11)

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What a creative setting for showing the film while also cultivating a community around trauma informed care and resilience. In Philly we had a mini-film festival some time ago featuring Paper Tigers and CAREGIVERS film. 

Vic Compher 

Director and Co-Producer

Portraits of Professional Caregivers 


Meharry Medical College (Nashville, TN) and Prevent Child Abuse TN held a Resilience screening followed by a World Cafe in March of 2018. Invitees were specifically recruited from organizations in and concerned with North Nashville, an historically African American section of the city, and where Meharry is located. We highly recommend using the cafe model to engage the audience, though that might be difficult with open-to-the-public events. Ours was invite based, and I think part of why it was so successful. The cafe would have been hard to manage if we were doing it for hundreds of attendees. Thanks for putting together this article!

Geoff McKenzie posted:

Might I also suggest starting your screening with the 7-minute animated short, "BRAINS: Journey to Resilience" by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative. It is free to screen and furthermore free to share and embed in your presentations. Also: funny!



This is absolutely brilliant! I cannot wait to share this with my school nursing colleagues and the students I teach at Rutgers University! Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource.


Becky Haas posted:

Great piece Cissy!  As a developer of a Trauma-Informed System of Care community, I highly endorse using these great films for raising awareness!!

Thank you, Becky! A few people have suggested an ACEs-related film festival. I think that's a great idea, especially as the body of films expands. Cissy


Thanks very much for your informative, thoughtful and expansive post about how to use these four TIC films in building resilient communities!

As the Director of CAREGIVERS film (Portraits of Professional Caregivers: Their Passion. Their Pain) and also as a licensed clinical social worker, I provide, upon request, workshops to assist organizations in the development of staff resiliency programs. These full or half day seminars take the onus off of staff to simply engage in personal “self-care” and instead demonstrate to agencies how to better nurture workers through the development of peer (and supervisory) mechanisms of real support. 

In addition CAREGIVERS film is available for purchase at a 20% discount for agencies that wish to use it as part of their ongoing TIC curricula. 

And I have included the link to our media kit below which provides additional, relevant information and audience responses to CAREGIVERS.

I invite anyone to be in touch with me regarding questions.

With appreciation and best wishes, 


Vic Compher, MSS, LCSW

Director and Co-Producer







Clare Reidy posted:

Thanks for this guide, Cissy.  I'm going to add your article as a resource on MARC's Using Film to Mobilize Action, which was written by @Anndee Hochman and highlights how communities have used film screenings to build their local movements:  http://marc.healthfederation.org/shared-learnings/using-film-mobilize-action 

@Anndee Hochman's post is awesome. I'll include a link in the guide and in the pdf. Thanks to bringing this to my attention. Cissy