Sep. 26 – Virtual Fundraiser featuring Dan Savage

On Saturday September 26 from 5-6:30pm central time, as part of the PYGMALION Festival, Jimmy in Saigon will hold its first ever virtual fundraiser. The event will feature a  conversation between Director Peter McDowell and Executive Producer Dan Savage, moderated by Hollywood producer Helen Estabrook (Whiplash, Tully, The Front Runner), a brand new clip from the rough cut of Jimmy in Saigon, as well as musical performances from Robbie Fulks, Acoustic Eidolon, the film’s composer John McDowell with Luna McDowell, JEMS, and Nora O’Connor, and special guests including author Jonathan Ames.

There will also be a silent auction of original artwork, gift bundles, online services, and more! And thanks to a generous MATCHING GIFT from PYGMALION as well as from donors R.J. Brooks & George Guerra, every gift given during this event will be matched up to $7500 on a dollar-for-dollar basis! We are poised to raise $15,000+ through this exciting event towards our new goal of $50,000 in finishing funds.


Jimmy in Saigon is a documentary exploring the mysterious death of Peter McDowell’s eldest brother, James, who died age 24 in Saigon. The film explores unspoken grief and family secrets, while honoring those lost long ago.

PYGMALION is a prominent music and culture festival held yearly in Champaign-Urbana, IL (Peter’s hometown). This year, the festival will be held online and is hosting  Jimmy in Saigon’s fundraising event on September 26. PYGMALION attracts audiences from around the country with its incredible roster of artists and speakers, which in past years has included Andrew Bird, Tig Notaro, George Saunders, Roxane Gay, Janelle Monae, Iron and Wine, and Animal Collective, among others.

Our virtual fundraiser is free to attend, but please consider supporting the event through our silent auction or through the purchase of a VIP ticket. VIP tickets will give you access to a private chatroom with Peter and other VIP ticket holders for the duration of the event, where Peter will share films, music and TV that has influenced his creative direction, exclusive behind the scenes content from the Jimmy in Saigon, and he will be available to answer any questions about the film.



a link to the fundraiser will appear here closer to the date, so Please check back SOON!

If you are unable to attend, we welcome any donations (which are tax-deductible) through our Film Independent fundraising page.

We are hard at work on a rough cut and aim to finish the film by winter/spring of 2020. Your kind donations go directly to the completion of Jimmy in Saigon.

You can read more about Peter, Dan, and the rest of the Jimmy in Saigon team here.


Robbie Fulks, Acoustic Eidolon, John McDowell, JEMS, and Nora O’Connor (left to right)


A Big thank you to our host committee for their generous participation in this event:

Johnny Atorino, Sara Berliner, Guy Brenner, Tracy Chapel, Kelly Creedon, Sarah Dandelles, Sonia Dumont and David Witonsky, Janet Flynn-Royko, Sandy Smith Gerding, George Guerra and RJ Brooks, Bret Hamilton and Becca Whiting, Jen Herlein, Allison Holton, Nikki Joshi, Martha Kasten, Lisa Leshne, Laura Lynch, Stosh Mintek and Dana Rizer, Sacha Mullin, Lucia Palmarini, Mia Park, Maureen Reagan, Norma Rodriguez, Carrie Sandahl, Dan Savage, Todd Savage, Ari, Yoriko, and Rena Salomon Yamamoto, Peter Schulman, Emi Takahara, Khuyen Tuong, Helen Vasey, Lilli Weisz and Jed Silverstein, David Yanko and Gulgun Kayim.