Our History

how we started

The Meaningful Movies Project evolved out of a long-time community film and discussion effort in Seattle, Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies. Out of this grew The Meaningful Movies Network, an expanding collective of groups doing similar events, now coordinated through The Meaningful Movies Project.

Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies started showing films and hosting discussions in early 2003 as a project of Wallingford Neighbors for Peace and Justice (WNFP&J), a member of the S.N.O.W. Coalition (Sound Non-violent Opponents of War) who formed in 2002 to protest further military intervention in Iraq.

While WNFP&J was a large organization, it was a half-dozen of us who, at the suggestion of a visionary woman in our group, Ellie Rose, began educating ourselves using documentary films. At the end of a short film series, our little film event had grown to about 50.  People were clamoring to meet & talk following the films about the evening’s topic, and about how these films connected to current events and to their lives, families and their community.

When it was announced that the series was over, several of us committed to continue this new found source of community building and education. And thus started Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies (FNATMM).

But the amount of work required to successfully organize and perpetuate these film/discussion events is far greater than it at first appears (see Start A Group). Throughout our history, we have received many requests from other community groups for assistance and advice. Although we helped all we could, we were limited by our time commitments to our own group events.

So in 2012 some of the current organizers of FNATMM formed a separate, non-profit entity, “The Meaningful Movies Project,” to specifically focus on providing ongoing support to neighborhood groups operating with a similar model. We work with these groups to assure that adequate resources are available, and to help them become independent and sustainable.

By the end of 2014, we formed the Meaningful Movies Network, a mutually supporting collective of 11 community-based Meaningful Movies groups, with The Meaningful Movies Project serving as its organizing and coordinating arm. Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies (now Meaningful Movies in Wallingford) continues to successfully show their weekly social justice documentaries and facilitate open community discussions on a wide array of social and environmental justice topics in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.  Now into their 15th year, Meaningful Movies in Wallingford has hosted over 575 evenings of film and discussion at this single venue alone.

The Meaningful Movies Project remains committed to expanding to communities across Washington State, the Pacific Northwest and beyond, and are looking for new and existing groups with whom to collaborate.

We will continue to advocate strongly for this model and fully commit to its sustainability and success.  You can find the locations of current Meaningful Movie communities near you on our interactive map.