Doc Films hosted a charity screening of the film Jackie Brown on January 18 and donated all the money the organization earned that night to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).
The fundraiser was the idea of fourth-year and Doc Films General Chair Hasti Soltani.
“With the whole #MeToo movement and things coming out specifically in the entertainment industry…it felt like Doc should do something,” Soltani told The Maroon. “Even though we’re not a massive theater or anything like that, we still have a really important voice, both on campus and in the general Chicago film scene, so it felt like we should use that to say something or do something official.”
“I put [the idea of a fundraiser] out at a general meeting and people seemed to be excited about it and agreed on it,” Soltani added. “I wanted to do something proactive…and raise money for an organization that deals with sexual harassment, so we decided on RAINN.”
According to Soltani, over 100 people attended the screening. Doc Films was able to donate more than $500 to RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country.
University alum Ursula Wagner proposed holding the fundraiser at a screening of Jackie Brown, a 1997 film directed by Quentin Tarantino. She is also the programmer of the feminist revenge film series that Jackie Brown is a part of.
“[When programming the series], I was drawn to Tarantino’s work…because he often shows female leads taking revenge against male violence,” Wagner wrote in an e-mail to The Maroon. “Turning to Jackie Brown, I saw a chance to feature a movie with a woman of color (which I noticed my series was lacking), as well as a chance to show a different kind of revenge against a different form of [systemic] oppression.”
Because Jackie Brown was distributed by Miramax, a company co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, Wagner also wanted to choose it as the fundraiser movie because “it felt right not to benefit from the screening.”
Soltani agreed that it “felt wrong” to make money off a movie that “Harvey Weinstein helped to produce.” She further explained, “We wanted to pick a movie we knew would be popular regardless…[that] would make a lot of money that would go to charity.”
Both Soltani and Wagner expressed hopes that the Jackie Brown event would inspire Doc Films volunteers and audience members to be more thoughtful about what movies they choose to support.
“I would really like programmers to really think about...what their place is within both [a] series and also within Doc’s general calendar,” Soltani said. “We don’t censor our programmers, but I would really like programmers to think about what the movies they are programming say.”
In a short speech before the screening, Wagner encouraged audience members to effect change by donating to another organization they care about, joining the Doc Programming committee and pushing for a more diverse movie lineup, or simply using the RAINN hotline as a resource.
“I hope audience members were inspired in some tiny way to work toward greater equality or push back against violence and oppression in any way they can,” Wagner said.
Doc Films programming meetings are held on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the Max Palevsky Cinema lobby in Ida Noyes and are open to the public.