Not that this is a holiday season tradition per se, but typically when I compose a post like this, I scour the internet in search of cool, movie-themed or adjacent gift giving items that would warm the heart of any cinephile.
For 2020, I decided to put together a list of some organizations which could probably use an extra helping hand around this time of year. Some you may have heard of, others may be completely new. Please take a moment to get them out, (possibly donate), or simply buy some merch for yourself or someone near or dear to you.
A haven for lovers of film in the greater Detroit area for over 7 years, the founding and running of Cinema Detroit is a true passion project of a good friend. In the best of times, running an independent movie house requires countless hours and constant vigilance. You can imagine what happens in times such as this, where a small business owner must manage so much uncertainty.
Even if you are not in the area (like me) you can still help Cinema Detroit. For one, you can simply donate a one time (or monthly recurring) sum. You can also become a member or visit their Redbubble store.
Give to Your Local Theaters
Don’t think I forgot about my locals! Here are a couple of mine (and links to their membership and/or donation pages):
Jacob Burns Film Center (Pleasantville, NY)
Pelham Picture House (Pelham, NY)
The Avon Theatre (Stamford, CT)
It’s a Wonderful Life Film Festival
This event is located in the upstate New York community of Seneca Falls – Frank Capra’s model for the It’s s Wonderful Life‘s Bedford Falls. Each year since its inception, the festival has featured the likes of the Bailey kids, Donna Reed’s daughter, film historians, and fans from all over who converge on the town to celebrate the beloved holiday classic. There are screenings, lectures and even a 5K run, which takes participants around town, much like George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) did at the end of the film.
Of course, this year’s festival had to be cancelled – kind of. The planners did some shuffling around and made the event virtual, replete with a streaming channel. At the time of this writing, the event is wrapping up (December 13th) – but that does not mean you can’t still pitch in. There is an online shop, where you can pick up some appropriately-themed merch. For items specific to the 5K virtual run, you have until the end of the month to purchase. You can also simply donate and help the sponsors reach their fundraising goal of $25,000.
Lastly, you can contribute to the museum’s broader goals of modernizing and expanding its educational offerings – which include the construction of a 47-seat theater.
(Reminder – next year will mark the 75th anniversary of the film).
The Silent Comedy Watch Party
Conversation, music and a movie – what more could you want? YouTube’s The Silent Comedy Watch Party is a weekly live-streamed event with live musical accompaniment. The show is co-hosted by film historian Steve Massa and silent film accompanist Ben Model. Every Sunday at 3PM EST, silent film fans can tune in and be a part of the audience. During this pandemic, they have served as an indispensable resource for many who yearn to connect with their community of film lovers.
While access to this content is free of charge, one time donations are welcomed and can be made via Square or PayPal. Folks can hop over to Patreon if they choose to make a lasting, recurring contribution.
Over on Redbubble, graphic artist MarlenePopScene has a shop full of products which bear the Watch Party logo.
That’s it for now! What places would you plan on making a gift to?