By Pete Hammond
Today AFI unveiled the launch of AFI Movie Club, designed to be “a daily virtual gathering to leverage our collective love of film on behalf of optimism in this time of global uncertainty.” Steven Spielberg, an AFI Trustee and 1995 recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award, introduced the first movie chosen — 1939’s immortal Oscar-winning classic THE WIZARD OF OZ — with a video (find it below) in which he is standing in front of a stunning French poster of another classic, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. In the video, he explains the reason the debut film was chosen for the honor. “I know you think you’ve seen it, but please think again because right now at this moment in our history what better message is there then ‘There’s no place like home’? ”
AFI said it will continue to select an iconic movie each day for the world to watch together, creating a communal viewing experience during these unprecedented times of social distancing. The plan is to have a variety of other guest hosts announcing select AFI Movies of the Day in videos posted on AFI.com and social media platforms. To view the featured movie of the day with the use of your preexisting streaming services, go to AFI.com/MovieClub. An AFI spokesperson told me the organization will be doing this every day for the foreseeable future and will be digging out tons of great exclusive archive material to add to the experience. This will include “fun facts and family discussion points.” Audiences can continue the conversation online using the hashtag #AFIMovieClub.
“AFI’s goal is to live in a world of art above anxiety,” president and CEO Bob Gazzale said. “We’re honored to have Steven Spielberg, the greatest storyteller of our day, lead the way.”
“There’s no place like home,” is a great message for each of us at this unsettled time. I’m looking forward to better times that are sure to come to us in this great country.
Stay healthy, well, and optimistic for our future.