I'd always liked films well enough but it wasn't until I worked at my first film festival that I actually fell in love with films. I attribute this entirely to the atmosphere. A film festival is a place where you can strike up a conversation in a ticket holders line about how realistic that horror movie Frozen was and still be friends seven years later (hi, James!); where you can turn to your seat partner--a total stranger--after a film is over and gush about a particular scene; where it's totally okay to eavesdrop and insert yourself into a conversation.

That atmosphere, that sense of family and collaboration, is what kept me going back to film festivals over the years and it's something I actively seek out in my cinema experiences. That's why when we started our partnership with Picturehouse Central and they told us about Central DOCS Club, I practically jumped up in my chair. Documentaries, you say? A club, you say? WITH CLUB CARDS?! (Alas, no club cards...yet.)

I introduced the idea of the Club before but here's a quick recap: watch a documentary, stay afterward and participate in a casual discussion led by a moderator, learn something! (See also: treat yourself to delicious cake from the Picturehouse Cafe, hang out with me and Adam.) Like, how fun does that sound? Answer: very. Other acceptable answer: incredibly.

For our first Central DOCS Club, Adam and I grabbed some friends and saw Author: The JT Leroy Story. It was actually our second time seeing it, but we were both just as enthralled by the entire thing. And the discussion afterward--so good. A nice amount of audience members were able to stay behind and we got deep into a discussion about fame and celebrity, the need to be accepted, writing for the sake of writing, how we all wanted to make out with Michael Pitt at some point, and whether something can be art or a hoax, or even both. (And you can guess what one of the things I contributed to the conversation was, hellloooooooo Michael.)

We heard from all sorts of people who brought all sorts of ideas and opinions to the discussion and many were thoughts that would've never crossed my own mind. Here's a couple of quotes from the evening:

That's the real magic of Central DOCS Club: different perspectives coming together. And, listen, don't be nervous about chatting with the Club. I said above that it's a casual conversation and it truly is: we're all chatting as people, not as scholars or critics. There are no tests because we're all too cool for school.

So if you're free on Monday, 15 August you should come and see The Confession with the Central DOCS Club and stay after for the chat. I'm really looking forward to this one because it's a subject matter I don't know much about. Knowledge is power!

Also, if our Club recap hasn't inspired you to see Author: The JT Leroy story yet, nothing will (are you dead inside?), and you're in luck because it's still playing at Picturehouse Central!