The Northwest Film Forum, Seattle’s leading cinematheque, today sent out an urgent fundraising request.
All they’re asking for is a $10 donation (the price of one movie ticket or a six-pack of decent beer) — though of course if you’re so inclined more than that is totally cool, too.Â They need to raise $70,000 by August 15, or make significant cuts to their core programs.
You can use this secure online donation form (there’s an “Other Amount” box at the bottom of the membership options), send in a check via snail mail, or drop by the place personally and hand someone a Hamilton.
In a message sent to 10,000 email subscribers and posted online (here, here, and here), NWFF Executive Director Lyall Bush said that income for the year was down by 30%.Â “While we remain scrappy and imaginative in tough spots, this time is different,” he wrote.Â “We are looking at real changes…”
The programs that Bush said could be “put on hold, shelved, or stopped altogether” are among their most important ones:
- filmmaker support
- equipment rental
- special screenings
- film series
Readers and friends know that I’m fond of the Northwest Film Forum, which was founded in 1995.Â It’s a remarkable and really pretty uniquely robust cinematheque.Â In a huge, 8,000 square foot space it’s a combination art house movie theater, film university, post-production facility, rental house, distributor, producer, lending library, creative cauldron, and host for creative house guests.
As a volunteer there for five years or so, I’ve gotten a sense of just how much the Northwest Film Forum offers to the community.Â The movie theaters alone are a huge asset to Seattle, but behind the screen there’s a constant flow of filmmakers, collaborators, instructors, students, people of all ages, all working on making and doing stuff.Â Meanwhile, there’s working relationships with the other film organizations in town, the city government, numerous embassies and consulates, PBS, colleges and universities, and film institutions around the world.
Just get a load of this:
- Two fully equipped theaters, both running (and hosting) shows most of the time
- Constantly hosting screenings with directors and filmmakers
- Production and funding support for local and regional filmmakers — for everything from shorts to features
- Distribution support for original shorts and features
- Film festivals, including the Seattle Children’s Film Festival and Local Sightings, devoted to northwest filmmakers
- Special series, both bringing in traveling roadshows and producing their own
- Commissioning and supporting new scores for historic silent films
- Meeting space
- Office rentals for local film groups and festivals
- Really cheap equipment rentals for everything you need to light and shoot video, 16mm, or Super 8 film
- Digital, 16mm, and Super 8 editing facilities, also incredibly cheap
- Constant workshops of every description — production, writing, editing, animation, equipment training, digital media training, filmmaking workshops for kids…
- Member discounts at local labs and rental houses
- Doing stuff like bringing in director Gus Van Sant to work with local crews
- A really pretty excellent private lending library of books, scripts, VHS, and film
- One of the only places left where you can rent actual film projectors — and for cheap
- A telecine for transferring 16mm or Super 8 film to video
- Providing a very accommodating film venue and locus for groups like STIFF (Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival), Third Eye Cinema, The Sprocket Society, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, and many others.
Any city in the world would be lucky to have a film arts organization like that, and some do.Â But I’m tellin’ ya, it’s really not that many.
I encourage you to please consider taking three minutes and 10 bucks to help support this important Seattle arts institution.
We now return you to the regularly scheduled interweb, already in progress.