To promote the all-important necessity of social distancing during the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, the American Film Institute and director Steven Spielberg (an AFI trustee) have launched a new endeavor: The AFI Movie Club. The initiative will focus on encouraging movie lovers to remain in their homes and keep up their spirits by revisiting classic cinema, complete with tools for discussion and deeper learning. According to AFI, the series will “leverage our collective love of film on behalf of optimism in this time of global uncertainty,” which they hope will “create a communal viewing experience during these unprecedented times of social distancing.”
The club’s first daily selection is the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, the Technicolor masterpiece often regarded as one of the greatest film musicals and family films of all time. Spielberg introduces the concept in the short video below, saying “Now I know you think you’ve seen it, but think again, because right now at this moment in history what better message is there than ‘there’s no place like home’?”
The main page at AFI for the series is here, which will announce each day’s film selection, as well as provide information about where the film can be streamed or rented. Each film then has its own page on the website, which will be filled with additional information, trivia and behind-the-scenes tidbits, as on this page for The Wizard of Oz.
Included is a video interview with Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, in which they both humorously describe being terrified of The Wizard of Oz as children. You can see that below, but in the meantime perhaps it’s time to plan a family movie night?