The Forward Fund
“It’s not about how hard you can hit, It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
– Rocky Balboa
In March, the Film Society acted swiftly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With 70% of our annual revenues tied to ticket sales, events, memberships, and concessions - and no way to earn that revenue with our theaters closed - we swiftly removed all non-essential costs out of our business model, initiated staff lay-offs and furloughs, negotiated 90-day deferrals with our vendors, and introduced sweeping changes to both our programming and the platforms on which we offer that programming. But it wasn't enough.
That's when - in July - we called upon Philadelphians to help 'Save Our Screens' through an 11 day Go-Fund-Me campaign to ensure that we could sustain operations through the end of the year. Thank you, Philadelphia - you answered our call, and we have been able to sustain operations through the end of the year.
However, our doors have been closed for nine months, our theaters remain at risk, and we're approaching our 20th Anniversary year.
While there is a 'light at the end of the tunnel' and we hope to begin opening our theaters in the first half of 2021, we must find a way to 'move forward' into our 20th Anniverary Year, sustain operations for the next serveral months, and secure the additional resources necessary to sustain the new programs and platforms that we have put in place to keep Philadelphians conected to their love for film.
That is why we have established the Forward Fund, named in honor of one of the world's most beloved film characters, Rocky Balboa, and designed to help the Film Society 'move forward' through these uncertain times and into our 20th Anniverary, the Forward Fund will also provide the necessary resources to sustain the new and innovative programming - and ways of delivering that programming - that have been put in place during the pandemic.
One example of such innovation is the Film Society's Drive-In at the Navy Yard, welcoming back thousands of film lovers from all parts of our community for a socially-distanced, communal viewing experience that features a diverse slate of new and classic film offerings, all from the safety of their own cars. And it doesn't stop there. In the last few months we also presented Philadelphia's first-ever hybrid Film Festival through both the Drive-In at the Navy Yard and our new digital streaming service, Cine-Send, making it possible for Philadelphians to enjoy the Festival from the comfort and safety of not just their homes - but also their cars.
Mounting these kinds of initiatives while navigating the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is an expensive and challenging proposition. It is, however, one that the Film Society’s staff and board of directors are resolute in sustaining in an effort to 'move forward' through the uncertain times ahead, continuing the good work of our mission to provide Philadelphians with opportunities to be inspired, educated, challenged and entertained through film.
When you make a gift to the Forward Fund, you are providing critical funding to help ensure that the Film Society can sustain operations in the months ahead, while giving it a chance to cross the finish line into a milestone anniversary year.
Thank you for considering a gift to the Forward Fund at this critical time.
We wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you in 2021, when we can thank you - in person - for helping us get to our milestone 20th Anniversary Year!