CineJourneys – Upcoming Free Community Journeys

We hope you enjoyed the interview with Ryan Verrill over at Disc-Connected that was posted this week. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here. This interview was our first opportunity to discuss what we’ve been building, outline the vision for where CineJourneys is going, and talk about specifics that we’ve learned and experienced during the past several months. We’ve found this to be an enriching and invaluable experience, and that’s what has driven the development of CineJourneys. We aimed  even higher, and although the website is “launched” and live, the final outcome will be more powerful and allow us to do so much more.

It also allows us to think of Journeys a little more creatively.

One thing that Aaron said on Disc-Connected, was that this is not just a film club, but a community. We want to deliver an experience that is beneficial to people regardless of their level of engagement — from the occasional pop-in to those who make this place a hangout.

While we feel we offer a ton of value in our Plans (with a couple major announcements to come), we also want to offer value to our free subscribers. Currently we are upgrading our social media platform for cinephiles to customize their experience. Below are some of the free community features that we are adding. As for what we’re building into our social media, we want there to be a way to easily engage whenever something of interest to our members is posted. These will exist on the platform as “hubs” — or you can think of them as ongoing “Journeys.”

Community Group This already exists. As of this present moment, it is not very active. We expect that to change as we grow. This will be the free hub for everything that is of interest to cinephiles at the time. This could be the release of a highly anticipated film, with the opportunity for people to share their opinions and experiences. One example is last year’s BarbenHeimer phenomenon. While we missed that boat during the soft launch, we were able to cover it extensively during the Awards Season 2024 Journey. Just this year, we’ve already had major releases. Dune 2 was massive, and Aaron’s IMAX screening was one of his favorite theatrical experiences in years. That’s the type of film we’d expect to discuss. It’s not limited to film either. We are currently talking about House of the Dragon on our Discord. We expect to talk about The Bear. Those conversations will most likely move to the website.

Unwrap the Plastic – As we said during the interview, physical media is important to us. That’s why we brought back the Criterion Now podcast. The survival of physical media is important. We want people to buy and enjoy watching their discs. Since there are often releases that many people are purchasing at the same time, and sometimes more sitting on the shelf, we are launching this ongoing community Journey to encourage people to not only unwrap the plastic and watch the films, but also share the experience with others. We think this will also be an exciting social tool. We’ll facilitate discussions and even organize watch parties. (Especially for cult films … more on that shortly.)

BookenHeimer – This might not be the final name, but we’ve had fun with adding “Heimer” to our Journeys, and we mean that this as a joyful, communal film related experience. This Journey will be to celebrate reading about film. These will most likely be non-fiction, biographies, film studies books, but they can also be screenplays, books that were adapted, and so on. There are a lot of us who love film books and are always yearning for recommendations. Jill and Aaron, along with any Guides that join the platform, rely upon books and other reading materials for research. This will be our Journey for books, and we expect both readers and authors will be involved.

CineJourneys After Dark – First off, if you read this name and thought of 90s “Skin”emax, that’s not quite what we’re going for, although there could be occasions where we’ll explore more mature cult cinema (for example: early John Waters). Our goal with this Journey is to replicate the midnight movie experience as much as we can on a social media platform. We expect a lot of enjoyable cult movies, the kinds that would play at midnight at your local theater or that weird channel you can sometimes pick up on your antenna. Some we’ll explore on our own, and we’ll also have occasional watch parties at convenient times (that aren’t at midnight). This will be a Journey that will utilize the website and social media platforms like Discord, Letterboxd, and others.

Awards Season 2025 – Awards Season 2024 was a wonderful experience, but it was also a learning lesson for us here at CineJourneys. We had a terrific group with a lot of conversation. This Journey had the most engagement and discussion of all of them to date, and then after the Oscar ceremony, we mostly moved on to other things. This year Aaron and Mark Hurne guided the Journey, and it was the first that required payment from all subscribers regardless whether they were paid or free. While Aaron and Mark offered plenty to the Journey, next year we’re planning for it to be Guide-less. We’ll still schedule calls and someone will share a presentation, but the discussion was the best part of Awards Season and we think going Guide-less will encourage that. Oh, and by the way, it will be free too.

While these listed above will all be free, we expect that many of our paid subscribers and founding members will be active with all of these initiatives, and their experience will be different because of their membership perks. However, there will be plenty for free subscribers, and this will be a good way to get to know the community.

Speaking of which, last but certainly not least, we are bringing back Blogathons. These were so much fun during the peak blog period, which was probably around 10-15 years ago. Some of us miss that, but with adoption of social media, many blogs closed down– although there are still some fantastic blogs out there that when can recommend. We plan to host these blogathons frequently, and they will be on various topics, but we will be modernizing how we share these posts. You won’t need to dust off that old Blogspot or WordPress account, although you are welcome to do that if you’d like. This will allow for the community to celebrate a topic and share their thoughts. One thing we said on Ryan’s podcast was that we wanted this to be an “equalizer.” Someone doesn’t need 50,000 social media followers to be seen. We want the quality of the content and the passion of the individual to determine how something is seen.

We are really excited about all of these, and when you see the final social media platform, it’ll click in. You’ll see how all of this can come together. We can’t wait!

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