ABout this site
When the shit hit the fan last summer, my first thoughts were selfish: how do we solve this and protect this cultural gem? I waited for further word from the board. Crickets. Then the staff layoffs. Then the email bouncebacks. I mean, sure, Cinefamily was never professional, but this was a bit much. Hoping to spur engagement, I sent board members this letter.
I was active in Cinefamily’s Black Card Facebook group; I shared my letter and subsequent conversation from when the board’s lawyer reached out (apparently the board couldn't or wouldn't talk). Then people reached out to me with their own stories: other members who were owed money, former staff and volunteers—even board members—who had tried to sound the alarm. I began to doubt my reliance on Hanlon’s Razor; I wanted to find out what the board knew and when they knew it.
Pulling on this thread led to dozens of conversations with former staff, and eventually to this website, the result of a lot of hard work, insight, and fortitude from many people—and perhaps some naivete. It is intended as a reliable repository of information for Cinefamily stakeholders. And while lots of people helped in lots of ways, I am speaking only for myself.
This website is animated by a concern for accountability. I’m not a lawyer, an accountant, or any sort of expert in non-profit governance, criminal law, or finance; I don’t know if there were (or are) violations. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal or financial advice. But as someone who believed in the Cinefamily's mission—and as a California taxpayer—I am concerned enough to call on the government to investigate. Based on my own ersatz investigation of the past two months—dozens of interviews, many hours spent with corporate filings and legal research—I have communicated my concerns to the California Attorney General’s office, among others. This website is, in part, to encourage you to report what you know.
If you have thoughts or questions, fire away. I'd be grateful if you flag any technical problems.
Feel free to email me; my first name is Jon and my last name is Zerolnick and do I really think I just outsmarted webcrawlers? at jzblackcard [at] gmail [dot] com or use the cool form squarespace gave us to make life easier.