California Film Institute Launches Teen Movie Club

The California Film Institute celebrates cinema in Marin County through acclaimed events such as the Mill Valley Film Festival and the DocLands Documentary Film Festival, the diverse lineup at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael and the screening schedule, CFI Education courses and workshops.

CFI is now welcoming a new national film program, Movie room, the first online film club for teenagers that CFI recently created in collaboration with several film organizations from across the country.

“Through this pioneering collaboration, we are expanding the traditional concept of film education to also include film exhibition, curation, arts administration and the variety of ways in which young people can translate their love of film into careers.” fun and rewarding, ”said the director of CFI. Education, says Joanne Parsont. “We are delighted to welcome these young film buffs to the arthouse festival community. “

The national film club specifically targets teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 and will combine distance learning with cinema appreciation when it meets virtually once a month to connect young people to independent cinema.

Students across the country receive free, exclusive online access to an independent film curated by participating film organizations. After viewing the film, students and mentors from each of the partner organizations come together online for a live, moderated discussion focused on the creative interpretation and critical analysis of the film. Where possible, guest filmmakers will join the live conversation to get direct feedback from students on their work.

Movie Room debuted as a pilot program at the 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival in October 2020, with CFI and three partner organizations coming together to review Noah Hutton’s sci-fi feature film Lapse.

Other partners joined us in the following months, and the full version of the program launched in April with the narrative feature of Channing Godfrey Peoples. Miss Juneteenth. On May 8, the club discussed Emily Cohen Ibanez’s new feature documentary Fruits of labor, with Ibanez and the film’s protagonist, Ashley Solis, joining the discussion to hear students’ responses to the film.

Currently, Movie Room includes the collaborating organizations The Belcourt Theater (Nashville, TN), Cinema Arts Center (Huntington, NY), Facets (Chicago, IL), Fresno Filmworks (Fresno, CA), Images Cinema (Williamstown, MA), Kan – Kan Cinema (Indianapolis, IN), Milwaukee Film (Milwaukee, WI) and North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC).

“Movie Room is an innovative company that I wish I had had access to as a young student,” says Cat Kim, associate director at Cinema Arts Center in Huntington, NY. “Especially now with distance learning, to be able to watch a new movie and talk about it with like-minded or unlike peers, but to really share virtual space with cohorts and meet spirits in multiple states, is a adventurous opportunity within the confines of one’s own room.

According to CFI Education, the club is building a national community of students who are passionate about cinema by providing a coherent and safe space for young people to interact with one another.

The club also aims to foster empathy and cultural awareness by reviewing various films, characters and communities.

“I love talking and writing about movies, so when I first heard about Movie Room, applying was a no-brainer,” says Grace, 16 from Chicago. “I can see movies that I couldn’t have seen on my own and I can connect with new people, something I haven’t really been able to do in over a year.”

The 2021 cinema hall is currently at full capacity. The 2022 program will be open to new applicants in the fall. For more information visit

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