If you are down because the only public movie theater in Malibu has closed its doors and if you are living under the misconception that the only way to see good films is to schlep to the Valley or to Santa Monica, I have good news for you. It is called the Malibu Film Society (MFS), a volunteer non-profit founded nine years ago to bring local film-lovers together for exclusive screenings of critically-acclaimed movies.
I joined MFS a few years ago and find it to be an absolute bargain. Each year, I get to see approximately 50 sneak previews and first-run films many–if not most–of which will be nominated for Golden Globes and Academy Awards. Often, the films are followed by an appearance from the director, writer or cast member, who participates in an interesting Q&A session moderated by Scott Tallal, the society’s head. Many audience members are in the industry themselves, so the questions tend to be intelligent and insightful. I can’t stress enough how enlightening and entertaining some of these sessions are.
Jennifer Aniston, Carol Burnett, Kevin Costner, Sally Field, Carl Reiner, Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Benicio del Toro are just a few of the celebrities who have recently participated in these sessions.
Single membership for the year is a very reasonable $250 and $450 for a couple, though you can purchase tickets for individual showings. I was never great at higher math, but if you get to view over 50 films for a cost of $250, that comes to $5 a film, and when you throw in the free snacks, it’s a bargain indeed. Membership entitles you to access your free ticket as soon as each show is announced. Discount admission for a member’s family and friends (on a space-available basis) is another membership benefit.
The venue is the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue right off Pacific Coast Highway, not more than 10 minutes from almost anywhere in town. Parking is available onsite. Most important of all to me is the free snacks, including M&M’s and wine–life doesn’t get any better than this.
State-of-the-art equipment was purchased and became operational over the past year or two; the quality of the viewing and sound is quite good.
To find out more about the MFS, go to their website at malibufilmsociety.org. If you have your doubts, my suggestion is that you buy a ticket to one of their upcoming movies and see for yourself. My guess is you will end up becoming a member.