Save the Psychotronic Film Society!
I'm Jim Reed. I've made my home in Savannah, Georgia since 1986, and adore unusual and memorable motion pictures. Perhaps more than most.
Despite boasting a major and well-known annual juried film fest (the Savannah Film Festival), our beautiful and quirky little city has never had a dedicated, year-round independent "art house" cinema. Meaning there is no specific, regular outlet for the wide variety of foreign, indie, cult, experimental and classic movies adventurous film lovers crave seeing on the big screen in a room full of quiet, respectful friends and strangers.
So, in the fall of 2003, I founded the ultra-DIY Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah, and have served as Executive and Artistic Director of the PFS of SAV ever since, curating a steady stream of amazing motion pictures from around the globe in a variety of unusual venues (from 50-seat eateries to vintage, 1,200-seat balconied movie palaces) , some of which we literally "turn into" screening rooms for one-show-only.
Over the past 14 years, we have screened sneak previews of highly anticipated films on the festival circuit long before their theatrical release, as well as acclaimed first-run foreign and indie features that would otherwise never play our area's corporate-owned multiplexes.
We also specialize in tracking down forgotten or "lost" films which have never received proper cinematic distribution or home video editions in the USA, and which we procure from devoted private collectors worldwide specifically to share with our audience members.
In this way, we have - quite literally - exposed folks to motion pictures they would likely have never even heard of, let alone been able to locate on their own. It's like an inexpensive weekly film appreciation class that's open to the public and which embraces polar opposites: we endeavor to show only REALLY REALLY GOOD movies and REALLY REALLY BAD ones, while avoiding everything in between.
The PFS is not interested in mediocrity, but we proudly celebrate spectacular cinematic flops right alongside acknowledged masterpieces. We believe that much can be learned by giving infamous, so-called "duds" the respect they deserve by presenting these marginalized efforts with sincerity and enthusiasm, which allows adventurous audiences to revel in what are often gloriously ambitious misfires.
We hold weekly, Wednesday night shows at the lovely community hub that is the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse on Savannah's historic Forsyth Park, and we've thrown annual Psychotronic Film Fests that lasted as long as two weeks at places like the now-defunct Muse Arts Warehouse.
We've had 12-Hour Horror Movie Marathons and William Shatner Festivals and Alfred Hitchcock Weekends and Tribute Screenings to directors like David Lynch, Woody Allen, Edward D. Wood, Jr., Alejandro Jodorowsky, Dario Argento and Godfrey Ho - and to actors as diverse as Robert Culp, Crispin Glover, Joan Fontaine, John Saxon, Sonny Chiba, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Ingrid Bergman.
I am kindly aided in this venture by a few handfuls of volunteers for whom attending PFS events (and helping them to run smoothly) has become a tradition of sorts. However, for the past 14 years, except for the couple of handfuls of kind and supportive local businesses and individuals who have occasionally helped underwrite our more high-profile events in exchange for advertising to our audiences, I have single-handedly financed the PFS by myself. That has proven problematic, to say the least.
The costs of tracking down and acquiring rare films (often from overseas), renting out venues, negotiating Public Performance Rights from distributors and/or filmmakers (so copywritten films can legally be shown publicly), buying and maintaining high-quality audio/video gear and advertising the screenings are, quite frankly, immense.
As a self-emplyed musician and freelance writer living beneath the poverty line, I've routinely redirected things like water bill money and rent to keep the PFS afloat. Which I was always happy to do.
The simple truth is that this organization has never made a profit. There were times when it broke even in a given month or two, but overall, it's a labor of love that I have privately subsidized.
For well over a decade now, friends, family and fans of the PFS have encouraged me to transition the society into a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization, but I have always resisted doing so, partly out of a reflexive fear of change and partly because I never had enough money handy to put towards the legal fees and costs associated with such a restructuring.
In mid-January of this year, the PFS was dealt a fairly crippling blow when over 1,200 DVDs, Blu-Rays and boxed sets were stolen from my home and later found to have been destroyed.
The vast majority of these discs made up approximately 90% of the entire Psychotronic Film Society archives, and the vast majority of those archives consisted of privately dubbed copies of rare and/or unreleased features which are unavailable through standard commercial outlets.
Most were transferred directly from long-out-of-print VHS tapes, Laserdiscs and 16mm and 35mm film prints residing inthe hands of private collectors. It had taken me decades and close to $20,000 to acquire these discs - many of which were the master copies which I had purchased from folks who had decided to get out of the movie collecting game and passed along their personal archives to me, sometimes because they understood that by doing so, it would allow these films to actually be viewed in a theatrical setting.
The worst part was this theft took place just two weeks before I had planned to finally digitally archive all the films onto hard drives, so backups would exist in case the discs were damaged or lost. I lacked renter's insurance, so there was no way to recoup any of their value.
I was heartbroken and seriously considered shutting down the PFS for good, but was convinced by loyal audience members to soldier on and try to slowly rebuild the archives as best I could.
Then, in the early morning hours of August 2, 2017, my van was broken into and thieves made off with the society's DLP video projector, specially modified Blu-Ray player, professional road case, hard drive filled with films and miscellaneous accessories. This was a random incident, unrelated to the earlier robbery.
The following two weeks' worth of scheduled films were cancelled while I tried to find a way to rectify this dispiriting situation.
Many, many people reached out to me once news of these thefts were made public and offered to donate funds to help the society rebuild and continue its unique mission. They all asked the same thing: Where is the online fundraising site?
I was initially resistant to launching such a page as this, but that obstinance was rooted in foolish pride. I simply did not want to admit I was in such dire financial straits that I could not afford to replace the specialized A/V gear required for our events.
However, I have been forced to admit there is simply no way the PFS can continue to operate without an immediate influx of cash.
It is also high time for the society to make the long-overdue transition from being a hobby-like extension of my personal finances to a fully functioning corporation set up as the legitimate Non-Profit Educational and Cultural Organization that it has always been (but not on paper, where such things count).
So, I am asking anyone who has ever enjoyed one of the almost 1,000 film screenings the PFS has presented over the past 14 years, as well as anyone out there who has not attended one of our events themselves, but who appreciates our Mission Statement and the efforts we have put into showcasing fringe cinema in the public sphere (which we hope to continue to do for a great long while) to help us to rebuild the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah into something bigger, better and more stable and secure than it has ever been before.
The way you can do that is by donating any amount you are comfortable with through this page.
100% of all funds raised through this page will go STRAIGHT to the PFS of SAV and NOWHERE ELSE.
They will NOT be used for my personal expenses in any way, shape or form. These funds will reside in a dedicated PFS business account.
Here is EXACTLY what these funds will be spent on:
We will purchase a new, specially modified Blu-Ray player (and hard road case, to help it withstand the constant traveling from venue to venue), a new professional-grade DLP video projector designed for cinematic presentations (and another matching hard road case), a separate digital-to-analog audio de-embedder unit (this allows the Blu-Ray's HDMI audio output to interface properly with the professional audio systems we must use to amplify the films' soundtracks), a portable digital hard drive with which to store hundreds of rare films, and a variety of necessary cables, remotes and accessories.
We will pay off the last remaining balances the PFS owes to a handful of U.S. film distributors for past screenings. This will allow us to basically start over from square one with a clean slate. That is a key component to the next step of this process.
We will legally incorporate the PFS and immediately apply for Federally-recognized Non-Profit Status as a charitable arts and culture organization. Based on our long history of community involvement, our unique (to this area) Mission Statement, and the educational element of our screenings, we feel it is likley we will be granted such status.
Becoming a bona fide 501(c)3 organization means we can start applying for City, State, Federal and private grants to help subsidize and expand our programming options (including more FREE screenings).
It also means we can offer annual memberships in the PFS (with a variety of special amenities for Members), and that most - if not all - of those membership dues (and other private and corporate sponsorships and underwriting) will qualify as Tax-Deductible Charitable Donations.
Since its inception in 2003, the PFS of SAV has routinely received top awards (as "Best Local Film Series" and "Runner-up for Best Annual Film Festival") from most every Savannah area publication that rates or honors favorite local businesses and festivals via readers' polls.
With your help, in just a few months, the PFS can also become Savannah's strongest, most solid and most legitimate community film organization as well.
I am extremely proud of what it has become, through the assistance of volunteers and the attendance of viewers - who have collectively made it into a local institution.
Please take a look at the way-cool Thank You Gifts we are offering to those who fund us at certain levels, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for any financial support you can offer this strange little Film Society!
We want it to go all the way. Till the wheels fall off and burn.
Those of you so far who have donated at certain Thank You Gift levels and chosen to receive secure email links for private downloads of rare cult films from our PFS archives should receive those links in the next 48 hours.
I am still making an inventory of the remaining archives and carefully selecting the broadest selection of feature films I can to show my appreciation for your support. :)
Those of you so far who have donated at certain Thank You Gift levels and chosen to receive Special PFS Ticket Punch Cards in the regular mail should receive those in about a week.
In the next couple of days we'll be announcing a couple of NEW Thank You Gifts that will hopefully be very appealing, so keep watching this site for additional updates.
Until then, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for your encouraging words, enthusiasm and financial contributions.