The clock is ticking at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum. Facing a budget shortfall the organization needs to raise $70,000 by August 15th or the fifteen year old non proft will be forced to cut programs and services.
Executive director Lyall Bush sent out a plea to his group's ten thousand person email list just over 24 hours ago and he told indieWIRE today that more than $10,000 has already been donated.
"People are emptying their piggy banks," Bush said this afternoon, noting that small donations have been coming in steadily the past day.
He's both optimistic, but realistic about their ability to raise another $60,000 in two weeks.
"I am writing to you to ask for your help," Lyall Bush wrote in his email message yesterday, "I am asking you for $10, the price of an average movie ticket. The Film Forum has 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."
Bush attributed the shortfall to a recent drop in donations and gifts from individuals and foundations in the wake of the ongoing international economic crisis. Meeting with his staff recently to decide how to address the financial problems, someone suggested putting out a plea to their constituents and they settled on asking just $10, the cost of one movie ticket.
Founded in 1995, NWFF screens some 200 films each year at a two-screen cinematheque that also includes office space, a library, worskshop space and a 1,000 title film vault.
"We are in business to fill a need," Bush told indieWIRE today, touting NWFF "To provide an aesthetic, emotional and intellectual epxeorence, to suppprt an emerging film commmunity here. It's a pretty beautiful thing [what] this organization has offered this city for 15 years."
If they can't raise the money to cover the budget, Bush said, the organization will face cutting its expenses for film retrospectives, filmmaker travel, classes for emerging and aspiring filmmakers and children, as well as equipment rental for filmmakers.
"Across the board, from our screens to our classes to our filmmaker support, the whole community would feel it and the whole city that we serve would feel it," he said today, reiterating that solving the budget problem is within reach. "Ten dollars from ten thousand people solves our problems."
As of late morning local time today, Bush estimaged that about 220 people had donated something so far, with gifts ranging from $7 to $500. The exact total raised since sending out the plea was $10,500.
"I am asking you urgently," Bush concluded in his email plea to the community, "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."