Something New – A Film About ‘You’

Oct 24, 2014 Written by FIRST Staff

I’ll tell you, I love movies. This is not to say I know much about them, because I don’t, but I love them, and I know when I’ve seen a great one.

I saw a great film last Thursday at the New Hampshire Film Festival. It’s called ‘Slingshot’ and was directed by FIRST Executive Advisory Board member, and Friend of FIRST, Paul Lazarus. Slingshot is about Dean, about his water purification device, and, in no small part, about FIRST.  This means, in a way, it’s about you. A vision of a better future? Impossible odds? Huge technical obstacles? Exhausting work schedules? Financial challenges? Incredible personal highs and devastating lows? (Any of this sounding familiar?) This film has it, and more. I learned much more about Dean than I expected to. I also honestly left the film with an expanded view of FIRST and our mission, and going in – since I thought my view was already pretty big! – I don’t know that I would have thought that possible.

Here’s the trailer of the movie:

Does it sound to you like Slingshot may be worth seeing? How about being able to see the film and raise money for your team at the same time? Paul came to us a few weeks ago with a great idea – he would arrange for teams to be able to show the film in their areas as a fundraiser at essentially no financial risk. We said yes! 

Teams sign up on a website to host a screening, sell tickets to the screening through a website provided to them, are sent a DVD or Blu-Ray copy of the movie so they can show the film, and send the movie back after the screening. Teams will be paid via PayPal or check from the service provider for the proceeds.

Here are some additional details:

  • The screening fee is a flat $300, regardless of audience size
  • Standard shipping of the DVD or Blu-Ray is $32, this is out and back combined
  • If a team doesn’t sell enough tickets to cover these expenses, the screening is cancelled, the team is not charged, and anyone who already purchased a ticket is refunded their money. This is a pretty sweet deal!
  • Teams set their own ticket prices for the film, there is a $10 minimum per ticket
  • The service provider assesses a 5% processing fee on all credit card transactions, including ticket sales and contributions
  • Teams are provided a website to sell tickets through. Websites are customized with team name, school, screening date and $ amounts for tickets
    • There will be a ‘donate’ button on this website to allow ticket purchasers to make donations to the team beyond the purchase price of the ticket. The service provider has indicated – and they do this for a living with many films – that a not-insignificant percentage of ticket buyers will use that donate button to make additional contributions to a worthy cause
    • Currently, this opportunity is only available for teams from the United States and Canada

You don’t need to rent a movie theater to show the film! As the film will be sent to you on DVD or Blu-Ray, you can show it anywhere you have the equipment and you think is appropriate. School auditorium? Community center? You backyard? Great. Want to sell concessions during the showing? Put out a ‘donation’ jar? Do a demo with your robot beforehand, and a little presentation about your team? Fabu. It’s all good. Once your event is confirmed, you’ll also be getting promotional materials to help you make your showing a success.

You can get started by going here, and clicking on the FIRST Teams button:  Someone from Paul’s team will contact you directly and walk you through the rest of the process. You will also see a helpful FAQ on this page as well. 

I want to thank Paul for making this wonderful opportunity available to our teams!


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