When we started Film is Truth 24 Times a Second, it was a small, independent store in the heart of downtown Bellingham, Washington. We opened the store with about 2,000 titles displayed on split PVC pipe shelves that I cut with an ancient band saw. Today the store has over 15,000 titles displayed on wire racks and handmade wooden shelves. The original idea of Film is Truth has always been to provide access to film—as art, as education, and as entertainment. That idea continues to guide us today.
The video industry has changed a lot over the years, and we have grown while remaining true to our vision. We hope you will help us with our latest transition, so we can keep bringing film and all its benefits to our community. We’re moving the store from our Holly Street location to a new space in the Public Market on Cornwall Avenue. We have occupied three previous downtown locations as our needs have changed, and we’re especially excited about our upcoming new location. Our new neighbors are established specialty businesses, we’ll have access to a meeting room for programs and classes, and you’ll have access to tons of free parking! The new space requires renovation to transform it from its former use as the old Safeway butcher shop into a suitable new home.
At the same time that we are working on this move, we’ve also established a nonprofit organization that will allow Film is Truth to expand its mission. Film Is Truth A Nonprofit Corporation will become the curator of our collection of over 15,000 movie titles as just one of the many facets of its activities. We feel strongly that the collection as a whole is an important physical resource, and that the presence of our brick-and-mortar store brings people together so that conversations can begin. Our knowledgeable staff will continue to be on hand to provide their expert advice and friendly service. As Karl Freske has noticed over the years: “A lot of people prefer to talk to a person and get a recommendation from somebody they can talk about movies with, rather than from a recommendation engine. Others like the serendipity of wandering physical racks and having things jump out at them, rather than researching things online. I am a big fan of happy accidents. If you’ve ever spent time in video stores, looking through dusty VHS shelves, you’re familiar with the sensation of finding something you’ve never heard of, but you’re willing to spend a buck or two renting it. Occasionally it’s something amazing you never would have found otherwise.”
As a nonprofit, we’ll also be able to add an educational component to our work of preserving and expanding our movie collection such as workshops, viewing clubs, a lecture series, and more. And we’ll still serve homemade cookies on the store’s anniversary! We love our customers, the impact we have on our community, and we love what we do. We have weathered many changes in our industry and recognize it’s time to change again if we want to continue to connect our community with film.
Altogether, we estimate the move and transition to nonprofit will cost $30,000. We are asking for your help to raise $12,000 through this Kickstarter campaign. We will make up the rest through other fundraising efforts. When you donate to this campaign, in addition to our undying gratitude, you’ll get thank-you gifts at different funding levels, and you can feel good about helping us further our vision of access and availability. Film is a powerful resource for opening our understanding of other people and the world. Film can be a glimpse into what it’s like to live somewhere else, to believe something different, and to see the world through another set of eyes. It can create connections and start conversations. With your help we can continue our vision of “growing a community of film lovers through the power of cinema.” --Emily Marston
Risks and challenges
The decision to form this nonprofit was a risk in and of itself. It meant announcing to the Bellingham community that Film Is Truth 24 Times a Second would need to serve a purpose other than continuing as a video rental store. It meant realizing we'd need help in creating something larger than the sum of our collection. However, within a month of the announcement members of our community came forward and we formed our Board of Directors from people who believe like we do, in what film can do to bring people together.
Next, we'll need to begin designing our new programs, classes, and forging community partnerships. Many businesses, museums, and teachers in Bellingham have already reached out and expressed interest in partnering with us. We will need to design these programs to both serve the community and supplement the nonprofit's income. The members of our Board of Directors have a wide amount of experience and community contacts, as well as deep passion for Film Is Truth, to make this transition a great success and ensure that we continue to serve the community for years to come.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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