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Firefly and Serenity marathon tomorrow in Cleveland, Ohio

Misia Yuhasz

Saturday 30 September 2006, by Webmaster

The Observer, September 29, 2006

Film Society offers an effortless way to help end domestic violence

The Case Film Society will be holding a 12-hour Firefly and Serenity sci-fi marathon on Sunday to raise money for director Joss Whedon’s favorite charities.

The marathon will begin at noon and run until midnight. All proceeds from the marathon will be split evenly between Equality Now and Cleveland’s Domestic Violence Center, both dedicated to ending domestic violence, especially against women and girls.

Serenity will be shown twice during the day, supplemented by several episodes of the Firefly series.

Besides the all-day viewings, there will be food brought in at several points during the day. More importantly, after the screening of Serenity, there will be a costume contest, a raffle, and a showing of several extra features associated with the movie, according to Howie Richmond, director of Film Society.

To order tickets in advance for $15, visit www.adamwhiting.com/Firefly/SNEN-CLE/. On the day of the show, the suggested donation is $20, with the price dropping as the day continues. Food will be arriving throughout the day for free.

At noon, the showings will be held at Schmitt Auditorium but the event will be moved to Strosacker later in the evening.

The Film Society is taking its cue from last year’s overwhelming fan response to Whedon’s call for help in raising money for Equality Now. The marathon will raise money for that charity as well as Cleveland’s Domestic Violence Center, a more local cause.

Last year, for Whedon’s birthday, fans of the series, who call themselves Browncoats in reference to the series’ plot, organized 47 same-dayish re-screenings of Serenity and raised nearly $65,000 for Equality Now - unprecedented in the history of fandom, according to Adam Whiting, member of the Ohio Browncoats and coordinator for the event.

The Film Society hopes to help in topping that number next June, but "the Ohio Browncoats couldn’t wait," said Whiting.

"I know that there are quite a few fans of Firefly (and many of Joss Whedon’s other creations) at Case, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do something fun like this while at the same time helping to gather donations for a charity," said Richmond.

"I have not seen either the television show or movie myself, but it sounds like a great idea and a great way to raise awareness about domestic violence," said student Tamara Wright.

Joss Whedon is the director/writer/creator of both the TV series Firefly and the subsequent film sequel Serenity, as well as the creator of such strong female leads as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Besides being an active director, Whedon contributes toward the organization Equality Now, which works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure, according to its website.

The series and movie follow the struggles of anti-conformists in a new solar system society after the population of the planet earth has left it used and dying. In tracking the rebels’ movements, the series and film explore the issues of personal freedom versus government-enforced peace and individualism versus conformism, said Whiting.

"We will take any opportunity to watch [the shows] again, but this event isn’t about that. We want to make a difference in the world - to stand up for what’s right, to help fight the good fight, to raise up the downtrodden, to speak for the silent victims of brutality-so we raise money for charity," said Whiting.

"I personally think [Firefly] is a good show and premise behind the marathon is great. I just hope other organizations can demonstrate Case’s willingness to contribute to the community as well," said student Matthew Schnupp.

Whedon discussed his efforts and the efforts of Equality Now saying, "There are two ways to fight a battle like ours. One is to whisper in the ear of the masses, try subtlety, and gradually to change the gender expectations and mythic structures of our culture. That’s me. The other is to step up and confront the thousands of atrocities that are taking place around the world on an immediate, one-by-one basis. That’s a great deal harder, and that’s Equality Now."

"I hope that students, staff, friends, and community will come and enjoy a great show, meet new friends, win some raffle prizes, and contribute lots of money to two great causes," said Whiting.