Red Nose Day
To sign up or donate, visit Luke Parker Bowles’ and Tom Hall’s team page, tinyurl.com/ybcym7oj.
Tom Hall’s Red Nose Facebook page: tinyurl.com/ybjd3han.
Red Nose Day Joke-Ha-Thon: rednoseday.org/in-school/jokehathon.
For more about Red Nose Day, visit rednoseday.org.
By GWEN OREL
You’re watching movies anyway. Why not do it for a cause?
That’s what Red Nose Day movie marathoners Luke Parker Bowles (Scoundrel Films) and Tom Hall (Montclair Film) are saying to the public, to encourage them to participate in their fifth movie-watching fund-raising drive.
Parker Bowles and Hall compete, like runners in a marathon, to raise the most money for Comic Relief US’s Red Nose Day, which supports impoverished children around the world.
This year, people can participate not only by sponsoring Hall and Parker Bowles, but by joining the campaign and getting their own sponsors to watch movies for a cause.
“People may not want to give money but can pick a day, movies, a period of time,” Hall
said. “Are you going to watch ‘Tiger King’? Do a ‘Tiger King’ marathon and raise 500 bucks.” Or, as suggested on their Red Nose Day team website, watch the “Harry Potter” movies or the “Star Wars” trilogy.
This year, the drive is especially targeted to support children and their families who have been affected by COVID-19.
Red Nose Day is working with food banks to replace school meals, Hall said. “We have the highest rate of child hunger since the Great Depression, easily outstripping the 2008 crisis,” he said. “It’s a fun thing, the movie marathon, but it has a serious purpose.”
According to the Red Nose Day organization, $1 can provide nutritious food for a child, $20 can fill a refugee child’s backpack with school supplies, and $25 can enable a girl in India to take part in a sport and education project for a whole year. The money goes through granting organizations that include Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Save the Children, Plan International USA and many others.
Together, Parker Bowles and Hall have raised close to $70,000 in the past four years.
The two will begin watching movies at midnight on Thursday, May 14, and keep going as long as they can.
Red Nose Day itself is next week, Thursday, May 21. There will be an on-air TV telethon on NBC.
“We’re both endeavoring to keep watching for as long as we can,” Parker Bowles said, adding that he does not expect them to set any records. The World Movie Watching Championships were set by Suresh Joachim and Claudia Wavra in 2008, according to a fact
sheet Hall shared. Joachim and Wavra watched 57 movies continuously for 123 hours and 10 minutes (just over five days).
But this year, Hall does hope to go past 24 hours: It could be 36 hours, maybe 48.
“Tom livestreams it. You can watch him, if so inclined, for the duration,” Parker Bowles said. “I pop back on when I finish the film and talk about it, then log off. It’s fascinating that during the period of what was 24 hours last year, Tom had no nose-picking, slurping or belching.”
“I’m really good at sitting,” Hall said.
Parker Bowles admitted Hall has more stamina than he does. “Every year I beat Tom in raising money. I should let him beat me at something,” he said.
At midnight, Hall will start a Facebook Live where he introduces the film, and will keep going as long as he can.
“We may never see him again,” Parker Bowles said.
The Red Nose Organization has been so impressed with Parker Bowles’ and Hall’s efforts that they are now an official international fund-raiser.
“Montclair has been a benchmark around the country,” Parker Bowles said. “Red Nose Day showed a clip package last year, and 50 percent of it was from schools in Montclair.”
Several of the Montclair schools have incorporated Red Nose Day into their curricula this year too, he said. There are online quizzes and interactive games for children: “Anything they can do in their isolated bunker to raise money, it’s all the better.”
Red Nose Day has set up a “Joke-Ha-Thon” for schools: Students can learn jokes or make them up, then post a video of themselves telling the joke.
Physical red noses are not happening this year, however. Usually, you could get them at Walgreen’s for a dollar.
This year, when you sign up to donate or participate, you’re sent a digital red nose to layer onto a picture of yourself.
In the past the two men have shared a theme, but they have not done that for a while. This year, Hall’s theme is “Rebel Rebel! Movies about rebels and outsiders.” Some of the films on his list include “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955); “Carrie” (1976); “Do the Right Thing” (1989), and “A Hidden Life” (2019).
Bowles has not picked his list yet; he plans to have his children do a “pin the tail on the donkey” with a huge map, then choose movies from the countries his three children pick.
That will probably be the extent of his kids’ involvement, Parker Bowles said with a laugh. His 4-year-old daughter, 8-year-old son, and 11-year-old daughter (who all attend Montclair schools) always ask to stay up until midnight to watch daddy start but fall asleep.
Hall is looking for a film his two sons, 11 and 7, can watch.
So far, the two men are encouraged by the amount of money raised, despite their friendly rivalry about who’s leading, and are hopeful that people will participate even more since they are at home.
“It’s very heartwarming to see that people are just as committed now, when they are worried about other things,” Parker Bowles said.