It's a tough time to be running a non-profit arts organization of any kind. Old patrons like WaMu have disappeared, the fundraising climate is difficult, and venues are cutting their hours and/or furloughing staff. SIFF Cinema has been mostly dark all summer; what lies beyond Labor Day is anyone's guess. The Henry, SAM, and Seattle Central Library have all made adjustments to their operating schedules. Now Northwest Film Forum is frankly asking for money.
In a press release this week, Executive Director Lyall Bush announced a crash fundraising appeal for $70,000 by August 15. "Much like other organizations our income is off by 30 percent," Bush writes. In a blast email to 10,000 recipients, NWFF is asking for donations of $10. Without which, Bush warns, "Programs may be put on hold, shelved, or stopped altogether without your small gift. Jobs and programs are on the line."
It seems like a fairly reasonable request (click here for donation link). You could also drop off a check while seeing Herb & Dorothy or On Her Majesty's Secret Service this week, both of which we recommend. Coming up this fall are Burma VJ, a children's film festival, a Latino film festival, Andrew Bujalski's latest mumblecore movie, Beeswax, and the annual Local Sightings Film Festival.
Full release after the jump...
July 30, 2009
Dear NWFF supporter,
I am writing to you to ask for your help. I am asking you for $10, the price of an average movie ticket. The Film Forum has had done many great things this year, but much like other organizations our income is off by 30%. And while we remain scrappy and imaginative in tough spots, this time is different.
We are looking at real changes at the Film Forum unless you say yes and support us. We need to reach a goal of $70,000 by August 15. Please walk it in, mail it in, or click here to make your donation.
You and 10,000 others are receiving this, which means you regularly find our emails and enews in our inbox, which means that you care, too. Maybe you even love what we do and believe the city is a better place - more sophisticated, inspired, or just more fun -- because of the films we show here, the summer filmmaking camps we offer to kids, the screenwriting and film editing classes we schedule, the filmmakers we bring to town (and the classes they teach), and the movies we are so instrumental in getting made.
Classes, filmmaker support, equipment rental, special screenings, and film series, many of these programs may be put on hold, shelved, or stopped altogether without your small gift. That means programs such as Soul Nite and ByDesign could go. It means fewer masterpieces such as "Silent Light" showing up on our screens. It means maybe no more camera rentals. Jobs and programs are on the line.
So, as the movie voiceover says, imagine a world: imagine a world in which people can open a door and find community. Imagine a world in which emerging filmmakers can receive the advice, equipment, collaborators and support they need to make their movies. Imagine a world in which anyone can register for classes to get the tools they need to enter the fields of screenwriting, editing, and video production. Imagine a world in which you can see movies that change the way you see the world. Imagine a world where you can find people of a like mind for inspiration and community.
Fifteen years ago we did that, all of it. To summarize what the Film Forum provides the city would take a much longer letter, but if you are a member or regular patron you have a pretty good idea already. You already believe in what we do.
You can keep all this, now, for the price of a ticket at your average movie theater. It's tough out there, we know that; we have tried our best to keep moving ahead in spite of the current economy. But now we know that some of what we do and provide will go dark without your support.
I am asking you urgently. If you have benefited from our equipment, from the images on our screens, from our classes, from our network of people, from our famously great parties, we are asking you to say yes, you believe, yes you can give $10. Yes.