Getting the Word Out

Getting the Word Out

People will come to events that feel relevant, important, and timely. Since AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US addresses many issues—Japanese American history, civil liberties, current events—there are many possible event “hooks” for particular communities and organizations.  Film is a powerful tool for reaching “beyond the choir” to engage general audiences as well as energizing and inspiring those already engaged with the film’s themes.   

Take into account how best to reach your target audiences. Not everyone uses e-mail, and not everyone hangs out at progressive coffee shops. A clear understanding of how each segment of your audience gets their information will make your outreach more effective. The best strategy is likely to be a combination of the techniques listed below. And remember, good publicity will do much more than attract an audience: it will bring your message to a wider audience than those that can attend the event itself. 

Be sure to send us your event information at  so we can publicize it through our website and social media. 


For audiences using the web, this is one of the most effective tools for publicity. Since attention spans are short, use in conjunction with other strategies. 

In all electronic outreach, be sure to include a link to and/or embed the AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US trailer on your website so people can see a preview. []

Newsletter or E-mail Announcement: You can use the downloadable flyer templates available at film url as the basis to create an email announcement to spread the word about your event.  We recommend you send out these emails at least twice: two weeks before, and then a reminder a few days before your event. 

Blogs: Reach out to bloggers interested in your subject or popular with your target audience. Even a brief mention with a link to the event is helpful. Be sure to send them information to link to embed the  AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US trailer from onto their site.

List serves, Yahoo and Google groups:  Post announcements with a link to the trailer on e-mail lists that serve your target audience (parents, students, teachers, etc.).

Create a Facebook Event:  to make it easy for people to share your event with their networks. Tag your co-sponsoring organizations. (Be sure to enable the feature that allows event sharing.)

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: Post to networks connected with a specific local community such as a university, local organization, etc.  If you are on Facebook yourself, post info and a link in your status. 

Send a message with the event information to your friends and to groups that might be interested. Include links to the AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US  website [] and Facebook group [] 


Putting up posters and flyers around your community, in the right coffee shops, libraries, laundromats, and other community bulletin boards can be incredibly effective.  We offer a free downloadable mini-poster template at film url that you can easily customize with your event details. Print on your own printer and/or photocopy. 

Ideas for distributing posters and flyers: 

Leave flyers at local businesses and ask if you can place a mini-poster in their window. Try coffee shops, restaurants, community centers, barbershops/salons, churches, synagogues, schools, campuses, libraries, and anywhere else that your audience spends time. 

Place an ad on local bus systems, on school shuttles, and similar places. (Some ambitious organizers have even gotten sponsorship from a local bus system in the form of free ad space!) 

Distribute flyers at events with similar themes. 

Ask co-sponsoring organizations to distribute flyers and put up a mini-poster or forward an e-mail to their networks. Make sure to include their logos on all materials. 


Think about who is most likely to understand and appreciate your event, and what media your target audience listens to, reads, and logs on to.  By targeting your core audience, you might decide that it makes more sense to focus on, say, an alternative weekly paper that covers progressive issues or local ethnic media vs. the headline-driven daily paper that tends to focus on crime and celebrity. 

Some basic tips for media outreach: 

Create a press release to share with media and bloggers in your area.  

Include a complete list of co-sponsoring organizations and any local statistics or tie ins related to the film (families .  Relevant national statistics can shed light on the local situation as well.  (Be sure to make a special mention if your event will feature the filmmakers or other special guests.)

Include a link to the film’s publicity photos [

Send the release to a wide range of mainstream, alternative, community, and specialized media (radio, tv, print, web) ten days before the event. Send to reporters covering Japanese American and Muslim American communities, civil rights issues, local activism, arts/entertainment, and metro, along with others who might be interested. Compare notes with your co-sponsors to make sure you reach relevant press only once. 

Post the event on community calendar listings in weekly publication(s), on public radio and the web. 

Call local television and radio programs. Let them know about your event and be prepared to give contact for local experts or advocates that are available for interviews. Pay particular attention to local radio shows and shows that focus on themes in AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US, as they frequently need guests and may be very happy to promote a local event! 

Some suggested contacts: 

• Local TV news assignment editors 

• Public affairs or magazine programs producers 

• Talk radio or local/community radio producers and hosts

Invite the people you sent press materials to attend. Pitch the value of this unique screening, remind them of local angles, and the importance of educating people about the issues addressed in the film.



Events on campus offer unique opportunities. Consider these techniques for increasing impact.

Post information on websites, in newsletters, on twitter, and in blogs at your school and at other schools in the area. 

Create a Facebook event and encourage students to forward it widely. (Don’t forget to link to the film’s Facebook page (please cut and paste this link).

Send press release to on-campus newspapers & publications, and to on-campus radio & TV. 

Place flyers around campus, on tables in student mailrooms, and dormitories.

Hang a banner outside the Student Union advertising the event. 

Ask professors in relevant departments to announce the event in class and offer school credit – this is a great way to bring students to the event! 

Suggest all the organizations and departments involved include information about the event in their newsletters and social media. 

Seek co-sponsorship from student groups and campus departments related to the film: student activism, Asian Studies, U.S. History, Law, Sociology, American Studies, etc.