The fun (and benefits) of a film club
Watching movies has long been a favorite entertainment for couples, friends, and families to enjoy together. An art form that appeals to the masses, movies allow us to sit back, relax and escape our world for two hours. Beyond the fun, though, there are other benefits to group-watching as we age. The stress-free environment allows people with chronic conditions or mobility problems to easily participate in an activity. Do you feel lonely, emotional or sad? Watching a sitcom or feel-good movie can help turn your day around. For those with cognitive impairment, watching a nostalgic movie can trigger memories and spark conversation. At the same time, other adults can use movies to learn about the world and keep their brains active. By watching movies in a group, you get all these benefits and the power of socializing. Being around other people and sharing interests is one of the best ways to maintain your mental and emotional well-being as you age.
What to put on the list
Developing a list of movies to show in your film club is an essential initial step. Don’t worry about having everything planned for next year. But an idea for the near future gives his club members anticipation. A popular method of completing a watch list is to consult movie critics lists, Oscar winners, and box office lists. If you’re looking for movies specifically recommended for older people, check out AARP’s list of “adult movies” you shouldn’t miss. If you prefer to tailor your list to your group’s interests, send out a poll and ask group members to share their top three must-see movies they’d also like to see again. Compile suggestions, pull out a hat order, or submit a ballot sheet to decide which comes first.
Before, during and after viewing
Before each viewing party, consider sending out a notice to remind club members what movie is scheduled for this week. This could be a short synopsis that includes important thematic notes (violence, death, etc.) and some “discussion questions” that members can ponder while they watch. You can also assign the refreshment role to a specific person each week or suggest a costume theme to go along with the movie. The sky is the limit for fun and creativity, so don’t be shy.
During the movie, make sure there are plenty of comfortable seating options, check that the volume works for your group, and allow time for members to get snacks and drinks before the movie starts.
When the movie ends and the lights come on, it’s time for a lively discussion! Some movies won’t provoke deep thought, but can spark a conversation about fond memories or amusing anecdotes. The post-movie conversation can help inform your group’s future movie choices and hopefully encourage additional discussion outside of meeting time as well!
Take advantage of technology
In the age of ever-changing technology, be sure to take advantage of your resources. A film club may include members in different geographic locations. Have everyone watch at home while connected to a Zoom call so you can share reactions in real time. Many movies are also available in multiple languages or with large print subtitles, making having an all-inclusive event easier than ever.
Attend a local film festival to get inspired and give back to the community
Celebrating nearly 30 years of the best in independent LGBTQ films, the Long Beach QFilms Festival raises funds to directly support the Long Beach LGBTQ Center. The event features narrative films, documentaries, shorts, and special tributes. Learn more at qfilmslongbeach.com.
So pick a date, make a movie, and enjoy the kick-off meeting of your new club.