Can’t Stop the Serenity (or CSTS for short) started in 2006 by a man known as The One True B!x in Portland, Oregon. This very avid fan decided to show Serenity on Joss Whedon’s birthday as a charity event to raise money for one of Joss’ favorite charities, that his late mother was involved with, Equality Now. When B!x decided to share this idea with the world and invite them to join in, we are sure he had no idea that 46 cities across the globe would sign up to organize similar events, across the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. These events ranged from simply screening the movie, to elaborate shindigs, parties, and even Browncoat feasts! Many were organized within just a couple of months. After all the screenings were done, these fans stood by proudly as their combined efforts raised over US$65,000 for Equality Now.
Immediately after, there was chatter about holding the event bigger and better in 2007. It wasn’t long before it was decided to make the event an annual one. So in 2007, with Devin Pike at the helm of the ship, 47 cities signed up to hold a screening. A stunning logo for 2007 was designed by Adam (Lexigeek) Levermore-Rich and from that global merchandise was organized T-shirts, movie size and styled posters. The same design was used to create other merchandise locally such as magnets, mugs, badges, and many other shiny items. We received Global sponsorship from Universal, BenBella Books, the Bedlam Bards, Read My Chest, Things From Another World, Dark Horse, Dragonweave Jewelry, Quantum Mechanix, the Browncoat Cruise, and Done The Impossible. With more time to organize their events and a stronger global support network in place, the organizers in 2007 went on to raise an impressive US$106,000 for Equality Now.
Joss Whedon, creator of hit shows Buffy and Angel, also made a short lived series called Firefly. Although it was cancelled after only 11 episodes, its fan base snowballed until it reached a similar cult standing equal to any of Whedon’s other longer lived shows. The fans tried their hardest to get Firefly back on the air, but to no avail. Eventually Joss was approached by Universal to make a movie based upon Firefly, which is commonly accepted to be because of the fans insistence that more of the story be told. Whilst not being a smash hit at the box office, Serenity has gone on to sell more than 2 million copies and has had a special ultimate Collectors Edition released this year on top of the previous special edition. Rumors suggest this was because the original versions of Serenity kept selling out. The movie itself was a big hit with the fans, who call themselves Browncoats after the rebels who fight against The Alliance in the Serenifly “Verse.” Serenity was named the top sci-fi movie of all time by readers of SFX magazine beating out even Star Wars.
In 1992, Jessica Neuwirth founded Equality Now along with Navanethem Pillay and Feryal Gharahi, to address the gender disparity in the human rights movement, which had grown to dismiss violations as “cultural” or “private.” Issues such as domestic violence, rape, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and reproductive rights were not part of the agendas of established human rights organizations. Neuwirth was a student of Lee Stearns, who founded the first Amnesty International chapter run exclusively by high school students. Stearns is Joss Whedon’s mother. Whedon has been outspoken in his support of the organization and gender equality initiatives. You can hear his remarks on why equality is paramount in this YouTube clip (link opens external window), where he accepts a special recognition award from Equality Now. In picking Equality Now as the organization receiving the proceeds of the global screenings, the organizers of Can’t Stop The Serenity voice their support of the work done around the world by EN.
Tickets to Can’t Stop the Serenity can be purchased in advance online. Tickets will also be available the day of at Market Square Theatre.