Nice work, America. Our friends in tsunami-stricken Southeast Asia needed immediate relief, and we wasted no time opening our wallets, even if our president needed a little prodding (still want to cut taxes for your rich friends, Georgie?). However, the relief effort is an ongoing process. That much was obvious to Greg von Hausch, who felt that his one-time contribution just wasn't enough. So as president and CEO of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, von Hausch decided to raise money with a little help from WLRN and other sponsors, presenting a Tsunami Relief Fundraiser at Cinema Paradiso.
"My wife and I, like everyone else, got online and made e-mail contributions, but we realized a couple of hundred dollars was really nothing," von Hausch says. "There's probably a multitude of people who wish they could do more, and I want this to be an ongoing thing."
The evening includes a silent auction, reception (with Asian and American cuisine), and the Thai-based movies Somewhere and Beautiful Boxer.
The more interesting of the two, Beautiful Boxer, tells the true story of Parinya Charoenphol, a champion kickboxer who ventures through the ultramanly world of Thai boxing for the most unmanly of reasons -- to become a woman. Bite that, Mike Tyson! It probably goes without saying that Somewhere -- a story of two American backpackers who fall in love in Thailand -- has a comparably standard plot (though, it was enough to woo audiences at last year's FLIFF).
Proceeds from the event are donated to the UNICEF Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief Fund. Von Hausch says he wants to hold such fundraisers at least once a month, featuring films from Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia. "It's going to be a decade before that place gets back to normal, if ever," von Hausch says. In the meantime, we can entertain ourselves by watching a lipstick-clad pugilist with no plans for returning to normal. -- Jason Budjinski