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Serenity does charity

18/01/2007. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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SFF fans are notorious for their passion for their favourite film or television series, launching letter writing campaigns to save their show. Fans of Serenity and Firefly are working to put that passion into a series of charity events.

In 2006, organizers answered the call to hold Can't Stop The Serenity events in 47 cities around the world, raising $65,000 for the women's rights advocacy group Equality Now by holding screenings of the Joss Whedon film"Serenity. The goal for 2007 is to hold events in over 50 cities across the globe on or around Saturday, June 23, raising over $100,000 in donations.

"The slogan 'done the impossible' means a lot to fans of 'Firefly' and 'Serenity.' In 2006, we did the impossible. In 2007, we're topping it," global organizer Devin Pike said.

"In most cases, when you see a fan-based event centering on a particular show, it's almost out of a sense of self-gratification. 'We want more of our show,' or 'We want more stories from this crew of actors and writers.' With the Can't Stop The Serenity events, it's a bit different. People across the planet are gathering resources to benefit a great charitable organization, by screening a film they know has a fervent fanbase."

In the first year of Can't Stop The Serenity events, the vast majority of organizers were learning how to put together a benefit from scratch. Pike says the experience was invaluable, and the 2007 screenings will be better all around.

"There will be several new organizers on board this year, and the questions we had to answer for ourselves will be the same ones they'll ask. The level of collaboration will be fantastic."

Equality Now, the charity benefiting from the screenings, works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure. Some of the issues Equality Now addresses are female genital mutilation, women's rights in Third World countries and suffrage in the Middle East.

Amanda Sullivan, Women's Action Network Director of Equality Now, is enthusiastic about the response the "Can't Stop The Serenity" movement has generated. "All of us at Equality Now continue to be amazed by and grateful for the Browncoats' and Serenity fans' generous and committed support for our work. Their energy and enthusiasm is inspiring and these screenings are coming at a critical time when we are especially in need of funds! We thank each and every one of them."

The June 23 date was chosen for two reasons: first, it's writer/director Joss Whedon's birthday; second, it marks the anniversary of a series of sneak previews Universal Pictures held to raise interest in Serenity in the Firefly fan base, known as Browncoats.

Details on planning an event can be found at http://www.CantStopTheSerenity.com

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