The Cinefamily is a non-profit movie theater with awesome programming, but crappy everything else. Help fix it.
Hello, we're the Cinefamily!
You might have heard about our recent 24-hour Telethon fundraiser with guests like Robert Downey Jr., Cut Chemist, Eric Wareheim, and this guy:
So, who are the people who pulled off that crazy show, you may be wondering. We're a nonprofit movie theater located in Los Angeles. We were founded about 5 years ago with the mission to find and exhibit weird and wonderful films, and to do it in a way that revitalizes movie-going.
Nearly 2000 shows later, we've been blessed with great success and a great community built up around the theater. We've shown everything from the most complete Cassavetes retrospective LA has ever seen (including many of Cassavetes's collaborators: Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Ben Gazzara in conversation with Gary Oldman) to the most bizarre found footage anyone has ever seen (programmed by crate-diggers like Everything is Terrible! and Community's Schrab and Harmon) and been showered with love and praise from all directions for it.
Indiewire blogger and independent producer Ted Hope even called last year's telethon "the greatest celebration of cinema ever." And while we'd blush to agree -- we definitely know how to celebrate.
So this year we did it again and added Kickstarter so you could participate too. Our project is this:
We need to make our location, the historic Silent Movie Theater, into a state-of-the-art, fully-functional, sound, stable home, that lives up to programming like the above and guests like the ones we're so amazed to welcome. A foundation for growth, for our next 5 years and beyond.
When we moved into the Silent Movie Theater, we were inheriting a building literally built by hand by two avid film lovers, John and Dorothy Hampton, in 1942. They lived upstairs from the projection booth and auditorium all their lives, in the same room we now use for the occasional blacklight art show and sleeping on the couch during all-nighters.
We did the bare minimum in order to get the doors open, and from that time on focused on creating the most awesome programming we could, without a break. Every single penny we made or raised went back into that programming -- leaving our physical plant increasingly held together with spit and chewing gum. Here's just a few of the problems our patrons are familiar with:
Carpets that are coming up and in danger of tripping people any day now. A roof that leaks every time it rains so we have to cover the projector to keep it from being damaged. The most uncomfortable seats in show business, at least according to Yelp. Having to borrow cameras from our volunteers every time we want to livestream one of our Q&As (which then go on to get millions of views. Really, it's the irony that's bugging us). No sign outside the building that we play anything in addition to silent films -- meaning people who've lived in our own neighborhood for years don't even know we're here. A sound system that blows out without respect to how awesome the performer on stage is -- Tenacious D, Stephin Merritt, Smog -- all of them have come to play before and after movies, and each time we simply can't offer them a setup worthy of them.
So, here's the plan. In order of priority, we want to make the following very necessary investments in our theater:
Digital Projector $60,000 -- Yes, as you may have heard, Robert Downey Jr pledged to "cover this" for us during the Telethon!! God bless Ironman. HOWEVER -- these funds aren't part of the Kickstarter -- so if people don't keep supporting us to get to our goal, we stand to lose the over $100,000 already pledged! [NO NO PLEASE NO --Ed.] And we still have plenty of other stuff on our to-do list :
Theater Sound Upgrade $15,000
Live Music Sound Upgrade $8,000
Building Security Upgrade $7,000
Cameras and Livestream $34,000 - Possibly the most exciting thing on here. Because it means we can do more great shows to share with the world outside L.A., like Telethon!
New Sign $10,000
Fix Roof $10,000
New couches and SEAT UPGRADE $65,000 - We have a reward that lets you adopt a seat and put your name or the name of your choice on it. A nice way to honor a relative, or, in our favorite so far, "G O J I R A."
Updated Computers $5,000
Website redesign with more functionality $15,000
Professional Edit Bay $10,000
Recarpeting and Refinishing Concrete Floor $15,000
Bring the Print Calendar Back $80,000
Contingency Fund - Anything else raised will go here!
Once these things are accomplished, we can work on sharing what's great about Cinefamily with wider and wider communities -- livestreaming our programming regularly (without scrambling to borrow cameras from volunteers), booking national tours for prints, getting new prints struck, commissioning new live scores with awesome bands (like NO AGE and THE BEAR) and touring those to other cities, a DVD label... Or even having time to blog once in a while.
That's why you should check our our rewards -- everything from DVDs and downloads of our original trailers, mixes, and found footage-- can you say "fuckery" on Kickstarter? -- like the below:
We've also got memberships (gets you into every Cinefamily show for free), posters, tickets, your name on our "Friends of Cinefamily" donor wall. We've even got rewards donated by supporters like Matt Groening, LACMA, Wayne White, Fantagraphics and VICE that we can't list here -- find out how to get those by clicking this link.
Basically, we'd like to spend more time putting on shows, cutting trailers, and chatting with you about what to watch rather than putting a plastic bag over the projector when it rains. Are those words rousing enough to leave you with? We sure hope so, because here it is 3am again.
Oh how about these words, words that mean a lot to us here at the Cinefamily, and to the ever-growing cadre of movie-goers, movie-lovers, movie-makers who make us up: ...join us.
Fine Print: Your donations are tax-deductible over the amount of the value of the rewards. We'll send you a receipt for tax purposes.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Actually carrying out all the work we talk about above -- is going to take us awhile. Some of the work will require closing down the theater for a bit, and we'll need to schedule that carefully. We'll also be working with a lot of vendors who all have their own schedules etc.
Depending on how many of our goals we get to tackle, look for this process to take about a year -- And look for funny pictures of us goofing around with hammers and stuff keeping you updated all along the way.
We aren't getting that money until mid January long after the kickstarter ends, which means -- We still need your help to reach goal -- Imagine all the awesomeness a well funded Cinefamily can bring to you (yes you) in the year to come -- Part of that money is for our own livestream equipment so we can bring you more awesome shows like Telethon all year!
Well, as awful as they are (believe us, we know -- we sit on the floor), we just couldn't justify putting them higher priority than projection, sound, building security, sharing our live content with others beyond the lucky 156 who attend each show -- and a new roof because the one they built in 1942 floods every damn year. They put the rain gutter in the wrong place. Not kidding you guys.
Because Kickstarter doesn't let you have ANY of the money if you don't reach your goal -- we didn't think we could risk it.