The Movie Lovers' Club: How to Start Your Own Film Group is the ultimate companion for bringing friends and films together. Through tips on selecting members, movie suggestions, and discussion questions, this book provides everything you need to know to set up and sustain a film group.

Part I covers the basics of starting a club: How to form an overall theme such as a "Femme Film Club," how to find appropriate members, and how to decide where/when/and how often the group will meet.

Part II offers four films to choose from (classic, contemporary, independent, or world cinema) for each thematic month such as June's "Traveler's Tales" and October's "Family Fiestas and Holidays." With specific questions about each film, bonus behind-the-scenes sidebars, and fun film facts, the Movie Lovers' Club is an indispensable guide for memorable movie nights with friends and for community centers.

The Movie Lovers' Club: How to Start Your Own Film Group
Trade paperback: $16.95 plus $5 postage and handling ($21.95)

Read what people are saying about The Movie Lovers' Club

New York Magazine--Bilge Ebiri Eaves
Real Simple
The Evening Class/Twitch--Michael Guillen

Bilge Ebiri, film critic, New York Magazine

In a world where cinema attendance is declining and where reality TV caters to the lowest common denominator, Cathleen Rountree's book offers invaluable advice on how to revive--and even improve--the communal tradition of movie going.

Hannah Eaves,

At a time when exhibitors can't seem to shut up about the inevitable, slow erosion of the communal cinema-going experience, many people out there are trying to take advantage of these deadly, accessible, user-friendly technologies (easy-to-use computer programs like iDVD and content providers like GreenCine) to create new ways of experiencing a movie in the company of others. Who doesn't love, in the second half of Gone With the Wind, hearing the very people who laughed heartily at the first half's melodrama, stifle a sob as they reach for the proffered tissue? It's just not the same with headphones!

Robert Greenwald sensed the zeitgeist and fuelled sales of his documentary Outfoxed by encouraging small house parties-cum-private screenings around the country. Every month, the Ironweed Film Club ("Films for a new progressive movement") delivers to its DVD subscribers a quality, provocative feature, usually a documentary, combined with several complimentary shorts, custom designed for political discussion. Through a partnership with the San Francisco Film Society, they also encourage screening parties at homes and in public spaces.

These things are all "movie clubs" in one way or another. You might join only the Robert Greenwald movie club, or the Ironweed movie club, but the aim remains the same - to have a communal experience that may or may not involve drinking and arguments. It might not be a new idea for readers of the GreenCine site, who are presumably a cinema-savvy group, but it might be to your relatives, who may not have the voracious appetite for cinema that you have. If you're looking for a way to give your family an understanding of your rampant addiction to movies, you could buy them Cathleen Rountree's The Movie Lovers' Club for Christmas. Especially if they keep on asking you what they should put in their queue.

Rountree starts by describing how to put together a film club of your own and her agenda is clear - she wants groups of friends to come together and love cinema. Her often homey instructions ("we took our treats seriously, deriving great delight in serving a spicy mango tea with a fresh boysenberry tart") are very flexible. If you wanted to collectively put the names of all the films you've always meant to see but have always put off and may even be embarrassed to admit that you've never seen in a hat (2001: A Space Odyssey), then draw one every week, I'm sure she'd be more than happy. But for those with less initiative and non-expert film knowledge, Rountree has provided a year-long program, with a film for every week. Each film gets a synopsis, details (cast, crew, awards), quotes, discussion questions and cultural tidbits. For each month there is a "Classic Motion Picture" (be warned, some of these classics hail from the late 1980s, as classic as acid washed jeans), "Contemporary Movie," "Independent Film" and "World Cinema Feature," and each month has a theme, such as July's "Independent Spirits." So theoretically, the club could meet once a month and focus purely on World Cinema, using Rountree's programming. The selections vary from the great (After Life) to the mundane (Girl with the Pearl Earring), but the balance tips just on the interesting side.

Each selection lists alternative titles, too, and of course, if you don't like the films covered, you can always just steal the structure. But that would take a lot of work, which Rountree has already done, and remember, you'll be buying the book to take the work of educating your relatives off of your hands.

Real Simple

May 6, 2006/Episode 18 -- Beyond Book Clubs: Expert advice on starting your own film, investment, or dining clubs
When creating a film club... Cathleen Rountree, author of The Movie Lovers' Club: How to Start Your Own Film Group, says to:
-- Divide responsibilities between members as if they were a "cast and crew." The executive producer is the host; the publicist sends out announcements about what will be seen and what they want people to bring; the caterer takes care of food; the cinematographer takes photos; and the postproduction crew is very important for cleanup.
-- Make sure that the screen is large enough for all members to comfortable see; straining eyes is simply no fun.
-- Purchase the DVD. After the showing, you can include it in a movie library that members can borrow from, or you can raffle it off at the end of the evening.


The Movie Lovers' Club: How To Start Your Own Film Group, a new book from Cathleen Rountree, is a terrific guide for bringing great friends and great films together. Through tips on selecting members, movies suggestions, and discussion questions, this book provides everything you need to know to set up and sustain a film group. The book covers the basics of starting a club such as how to form an overall theme such as a "Film Movement Film Club," finding appropriate members, and deciding where/when/and how often the group will meet. With specific questions about each film, bonus behind-the-scenes sidebars, and fun film facts, The Movie Lovers' Club is an indispensable guide for memorable movie nights with friends.

The Evening Class/Twitch, Michael Guillen

Whether through "small house parties-cum-private screenings" via Ironweed or Film Movement, or whatever's risen to the top of your rental queues on Greencine or Netflix, whether you've raked it in at Virgin at one of their frequent $10 sales, or whether you're taking advantage of the new "screen scene" streaming video-on-demand fare from Greencine, Jaman, Firecracker, and countless others springing up seemingly every day, the bottom line remains that the essence of this so-called "social cinema" is its sociality and cinema's communal texture. Cathleen's ready for you, welcoming you at the front landing, offering food that will complement screenings, suggesting strategies on how to choose films, calendar films, let alone how to select members for ongoing or nascent groups so that discussion will illuminate and enrichen films, and inviting you back for the next grouping. Or as Cathleen quotes Pauline Kael: "Being able to talk about movies with someone—to share the giddy high excitement you feel—is enough for a friendship."

Stephanie Palmer, Founder, Good in a Room, and Former Director of Creative Affairs at MGM Studios

Engaging, intelligent and loads of fun, Rountree's book will spur great conversations whether you're a novice moviegoer or experienced cinephile. Filled with wonderful tidbits that make even the novice moviegoer feel like an expert. I loved reading this book and it's my Bible whenever it's time to update my Netflix queue.

Linda Schierse Leonard, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, author of The Wounded Woman, On the Way to the Wedding, and The Call to Create

The Movie Lovers' Club shows film lovers an exciting way to explore films in a group setting, and is a valuable resource for the individual reader as well. Cathleen's questions and comments are stimulating and provocative and provide grist for a unique film encounter.

Chris Vogler, author of The Writer's Journey, and story consultant for major Hollywood studios

Your movie discussion group won't fade out too soon if you're guided by this lively, intelligent handbook. It combines the author's boundless love of the movies with the structure, variety, and great ideas to keep your group going indefinitely. Add popcorn and prepare to enrich your life!

Barry M Panter, M.D., Ph.D.President and Founder The American Institute of Medical Education, Director of The Creativity and Madness Conferences

Cathleen Rountree's The Movie Lovers' Club is a wonderful book in so many ways: If you love the medium it will enhance your understanding of film; If you enjoy getting together with friends and deepening your relationships--here is a guide to forming a film club; If you want to increase your fund of movie trivia--here it is. If you want to understand human nature and relationships through film--this is the way to do it. You will take pleasure in this book and benefit from reading and referring to it.

Hal Stone, Ph.D. & Sidra Stone, Ph.D. Creators of Voice Dialogue and authors of Embracing Our Selves

Cathleen Rountree's Movie Lovers' Club is fascinating - brilliant, inviting, and insightful with great ideas and lots of interesting information. She's like the group leader of old, who knows just how to make each meeting such fun that you want to come again and again. So gather your friends, read this book, and start a film club that both your Inner Child and your Sophisticated Adult can enjoy!

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