A new year brought the Paris Lectures crowd together for an insightful talk by Paris-based indy filmmaker Isaac Elliott-Fisher, creator of the Paramount-bought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles documentary, Turtle Power, as well as a successful silent auction with world-class donations from local artisans. January was off to a productive start.
January’s lecture crept into our agendas by the skin of its teeth. We discovered Isaac Elliott-Fisher and his work just two weeks before his final availability for the month as he headed north on a new assignment. We hurriedly booked the venue and scrambled together an event page and announcements to bring together a room of folks who still happened to be in town like us. We were excited to hear more about Isaac’s experiences and were grateful we could make it work.
At the same time, we were still immersed in our local activist cause of helping raise awareness about the Concerned Citizens of Brant’s fight to protect our local water source. Knowing the local citizens group was still $40,000 in the hole for legal costs, someone in our Rabble-rousers working committee had asked, “Are there any upcoming events we could piggy back on for fundraising?”
It became clear pretty quickly that the stars were aligning for Paris Lectures to be of great use to the community in its current time of need. We sent out some feeler emails to our maker friends and were immediately heartened by the generous responses: Yes, people were willing to contribute to a silent auction, and even greater was the generous spirit with with they donated large, valuable and meaningful creations of their own hands. Whatever they could do to help, without conditions and without reservations. We received artwork, furniture, crafts, gift cards, services, and more. It blew us away.
So commenced a silent auction with incredible donations from local artisans. It began online, bringing out our community’s competitive spirit, and culminated in person at the event to raise $2055 and much awareness for the Concerned Citizens of Brant, including a piece of press in the local news. We’re proud to have played a small role in this big win, and even more proud to belong to a community that cares about each other.
One of the major themes of Isaac’s presentation was this idea that small people can make a big difference, that seemingly little ideas – like those of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, two friends who came up with the ninja turtle characters and founded the franchise – can turn into something much larger than themselves. The same thing happened for Isaac when he initially pitched his documentary idea to two potential business partners, who then went on to sell the film to Paramount Pictures and make it available to anyone on Netflix. The idea of having big dreams can be formidable but even big ideas must start somewhere.
Paris Lectures continues to be an opportunity for people to connect and to be inspired by local makers. More volunteers have stepped up to make this ongoing series a possibility, from our enthusiastic ticket collectors Barb Jr. and Barb Sr., to the talented Mr. Tim Srigley who took all the wonderful photos you see featured on this post, and several incredible rabble-rousing women who helped wrangle the details for the silent auction. Big thanks to our loyal sponsors as well: Millards Chartered Professional Accountants, Studio50, and The Arlington Hotel.
As the Lectures’ infrastructure evolves and it gets easier and faster to spin up new events, it is becoming clear that it is also an effective way to activate community around things that matter. What a privilege it is to be behind this. Thank you everyone for the ongoing support for the series.
We hope to say thanks again in person at February’s Paris Lectures event on the 24th, yet another new event format for us – a simple Friday social. No speakers, just cash-bar drinks and mingling, and of course something in the air to make us all feel a little more creative and connected. We also have a February 18th workshop, an Introduction to Graphic Design for just $35. Join us for any and all!
Photos thanks to Tim Srigley