Although it might seem like we’ve been social distancing forever, it’s still early in what may be a very long process. Of course we’re primarily concerned for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones, but we also love our movies. And let me promise you, we're not giving up.
The way we look at movies is obviously changing. Most traditional movie theaters have closed, but the good news is that drive-in movies are coming back to life. If you have a drive-in near you, I encourage you to support it. Hey, you don’t even have to get out of your car. (Just think of it as taking your living room on the road for a little while.)
This also brings up the question of how will people make movies from this point forward, how they will distribute them, find viable platforms, audience access, and much more. That’s another discussion for another time, but one that will really change how we look at movies.
Film festivals have cancelled, but the Annapolis Film Festival is developing an Annapolis Film Festival channel, allowing ticket and passport holders to access every single movie that’s programmed for the festival. My hat’s off to them. I can’t even imagine what it’s taking to pull this off, but these folks refuse to give up and I admire that (especially since I’m a passport holder).
Last night, I led an online chat discussion of Murder on the Orient Express (1974) for our library system on Zoom. Our library is offering several online programs including a continuation of the Great Movies series I present at the Severna Park Library each month. Stephanie, the Director of Virtual Services for the library, contacted me early in the week to ask if I’d be willing to lead such a discussion and I was delighted to do so.
We announced the program through our website and Facebook page, telling our patrons to watch the film on Kanopy, then log on to Zoom for a discussion of the film. We had 18 people participating, consisting of some of my Great Movies regulars as well as others who had previously never been to one of our events, including my good friend Chuck, whom I met at Noir City Chicago last year.
The discussion was wonderful, almost like sitting around with a group of friends, talking about a film over coffee. Some simply listened while others participated in the conversation. From the feedback we’re getting, everyone had a great time and we’re planning on doing it again next Friday.
If you’re interested in joining us, stay tuned here as well as on Facebook and Twitter, where I’ll be announcing the movie for next Friday. If you’d like to suggest a film, simply go to Kanopy and find a movie you think we should watch and discuss. We don’t want anything too dark, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we want nothing but light comedies, either. I hope you’ll join me. I also hope others - libraries or just groups of movie lovers - will consider online discussions.
Of course nothing replaces watching movies with other people and discussing them in-person, but we aren’t going to be able to do that for awhile, maybe for a very long time. But we can still connect with each other over the films we love. Let’s make it happen. Don't give up.