Showing Films in American Spaces

American Film Program/Motion Picture Licensing Corporation Agreement


The American Film Program showcases films that reflect American society and values, and promotes mutual understanding with audiences across the globe. To make this possible, the Department of State manages a collective licensing agreement with the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) which permits American Spaces to hold special public screenings of “Hollywood” feature films, short films and feature-length documentaries. TV drama programs produced by A&E, Discovery, NBC, and Fox are also currently covered under the MPLC agreement.

While the primary purpose of the Film Program is promoting American films abroad, and increasing exposure for independent filmmakers with foreign audiences, the license agreement with MPLC also offers American Spaces a means of screening motion pictures with full respect for intellectual property rights, and helps filmmakers and other creative enterprises oppose film, software, and video piracy.

NOTE: Not every title listed on the IMDb website, or covered under the MPLC license, will be suitable for screening with your audiences. These are the rules for determining license coverage, not a list of recommended films.

How to Determine if a Film Can Be Screened

  1. Under the public performance agreement, films distributed by MPLC members may be screened at American Spaces as long as the conditions below are met.
  2. The film’s license status is determined by whether the U.S. producer or distributor is covered under the Motion Picture License Corporation agreement with the Department of State. To check this, follow these steps:
  • Access the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website.
  • Enter the title of your film(s) in the search bar.
  • On the film’s page, select “more” or scroll down to “Company Credits.” Look for the name of the U.S. theatrical distributor of the film.
  • Open the Producer-Distributor List to see if the film’s producer and/or distributor is part of the Department of State’s MPLC agreement. If the company is listed there, you are clear to proceed to the next step! But also check the addendum to the producer list to see if the studio has a six- or nine-month embargo after a release.

MPLC Public Performance Guidelines

  • American Spaces may hold public performance screenings of films covered by the MPLC license for local audiences as long as the program is clearly sponsored or co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. An American Officer or Embassy staff must be present at all screenings. If a Bi-national Center is located in a university, such film screenings may only occur in the designated American Space. Screenings at American Spaces must not compete, or appear to compete, with local theatrical distribution.
  • No admission may be charged for these events.
  • The films may be screened for unlimited numbers of persons per screening.
  • All films must be legally sourced and acquired from legal vendors. Films must be streamed or downloaded through legally recognized sources.
  • Films must either be available for legal home video release in the country; OR for certain producers, at least six months or nine months have passed since US theatrical release (these producers are noted on the MPLC Producers list. US theatrical release date can be confirmed on under the film’s listed “Details”.)
  • Films that have been legally subtitled or dubbed in the local language may be used for screening purposes. Films may not be duplicated, edited or modified in any way without the explicit permission of the film’s producer. This includes subtitling or dubbing of the film. The MPLC license cannot grant this right. Posts must request permission and negotiate subtitling on a case-by-case basis directly with the film’s producer.
  • No specific titles, characters from films, or producer’s names can be advertised to the general public via newspaper, radio and television promotions etc. However, electronic media such as American Spaces’ websites, social media platforms, and newsletters or email lists may be used to communicate these specific details for upcoming film programs. Handouts about film programs may be posted and distributed on American Spaces premises.