"I believe in something greater than myself," the Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) says in Serenity, last year's excellent sci-fi/western. "A better world."
Never mind that the Operative is the bad guy in Serenity—it's still a nice thought. And that line—like about 4,000 others—has been faithfully memorized by Serenity's rabid fanbase, whose members are slavishly devoted to the works of Serenity creator Joss Whedon (who also created Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, the short-lived TV show Serenity was based on).
Rarely do groups of fans accomplish more than out-geeking each other at comic book conventions. But this Friday's screening of Serenity is a benefit for Equality Now, a group that "works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world."
"Back when Serenity was in second-run, a few of us were headed back from seeing it again," says Christopher Frankonis, who organized the event, and is better known for blogging about Portland politics as The One True b!X. "It started as just 'How can we see it on the big screen again?' And then we thought we could do a charity screening."
That idea grew into a lot of charity screenings. "Whedon fans have always done charity events for Equality Now," Frankonis says, noting the organization's importance to Whedon. June 23—Whedon's birthday—was chosen as the date, and from there, Frankonis says, "It just took on a life of its own." He's not kidding: From June 22 to June 24, there are almost 50 planned Serenity/Equality Now screenings, taking place all over the US—as well as in Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand.
"Without question, the hardcore fans are going to turn up," Frankonis says about the Portland screening. "But we're also doing outreach to more general audiences, because we think they'll enjoy it, and we also want to raise the profile of Equality Now." It's excellent news: Devoted fanbases are nothing new, but fans working for the greater good? That's a concept that's entirely too rare—and one that, if he weren't such a bastard, the Operative would surely approve of.