No more than a hundred years after the invention of film, in the bustling “New Hollywood” of the 1980s, Concord Academy students began running a film club. That was a time when some very classic Hollywood movies were made, such as Raging Bull, The Shining, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Color broadcasting television had already been invented, but people still liked going to the cinemas, and CA students had their Friday movie nights in the PAC. Back then, movies were stored on reels of film, and at the end of each 45-minute reel, Film Club co-head Brenden Hussey ’87 would run up to the booth at the back of the PAC to take the finished reel off the projector and thread on the next one. He recalled, “Then on Monday, I would have to carry the heavy reels to the post office to mail them back to the distributor.”

“Film Club back then was a pretty informal thing,” says Hussey. They would periodically pick a movie to screen during the weekends, and then announce it in the PAC at announcements. “We would rent tapes for a few dollars and play them on what was probably a 23" color TV on a wheeled cart,” recalled Hussey, “with everyone sitting or lying on the floor.” The club showed a wide variety of movies: Ran by Kurosawa, Eraserhead by David Lynch, a lot of Hitchcock movies like Rear Window and Vertigo, also Fellini's Amarcord, Lindsay Anderson's ‘If...’ and O Lucky Man, an avant-garde science fiction Liquid Sky…

A lot of fun things happened at the club. “We were all goofy film nerds, and proudly so,” declared co-head Jared Green ’88. His favorite memory of Film Club included watching movies and eating snacks with friends on a snowy day. “Or maybe it was when I got in big trouble for dancing on top of a shockingly expensive piano to announce our screening of Blue Velvet at morning announcements,” Green noted.

Now, forty years later, Film Club continues to thrive. Ran by three co-heads, Kelly Kong ’24, Zoe Sachs ’24, and Andrii Vedmid ’26, the club has hosted three screenings so far this year featuring the classic Star Wars: A New Hope (1977); Hedgehog in the Fog (1975), a heartening Soviet animation by Yuri Norstein; and for Halloween, a Jordan Peele horror film Get Out (2017).

The club has journeyed far in recent years. Zoe recalled that in her sophomore year, “Film Club was pretty inactive, we met only a couple times. [...] COVID has put everything at a halt.” But she thinks that energy towards Film Club has gone up since. The club has been finding balance between members’ diverse tastes in movies and carrying on the club as a unity. Kelly says, “In this digital age with streaming services like Netflix and you can literally watch any film online, I think the community part about film and the togetherness [is brought back by the club].”

More is still about to happen. There are going to be more screenings: Christmas or holiday screenings, a Valentine's Day screening… Zoe suggests movie trips, “We want to go to some screenings at some classic theaters, like Coolidge Corner Theatre, my favorite place in the whole world.” There will be meetings where people present their favorite movies or directors, and some of them will be screened. The co-heads are also planning a 24 hour film festival in spring, where participants get into teams and make a short film in 24 hours.

Film Club embodies time. Indeed, nowadays with TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, film no longer has the place it had before in society and in people’s hearts, but CA students still have their Friday night PAC screenings, where “a very long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” intersects with the memories of Film Club of the 1980s, the generation who grew up watching movies in cinemas, and the community of cinephiles throughout the century.