TOM & BARBARA HARRISON
Long-time CAFILM Members
Photo © Tommy Lau Photography
I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. Barb’s father, because he worked for the government, was transferred to a lot of places. So she was born in Alabama, lived in Georgia, went to California, went to Iran, back in forth. But eventually, he was transferred to California, and we went to the same high school in Bakersfield, California. Through happenstance, we met again, and we’ve been married 54 years.
We’ve always looked at movies as entertainment. It’s fun to see a good story told on the screen. It’s also fun to see how people live in other places. Especially in the foreign films, you can take a look at the houses and the streets. It gives you a different perspective on other people’s lives. And so for us, it’s both entertainment and information.
We found out about the Mill Valley Film Festival and thought, oh, that might be interesting. That was some 20 years ago. And, oh man, I love it. It’s been really nice. You can get invitations, special screenings and receptions. A handful of my good friends are even people we’ve met while waiting in line.
We’ve met famous people that, growing up in Bakersfield, there’s no way I would have thought I’d meet, just the icing on the cake. And they’re just really nice people, genuinely regular folks. I love getting to hear from the filmmakers, because when they start talking, you realize, they were barely hanging on to get this movie made! It’s amazing how many steps and missteps go into making a movie.
I see a lot of people at the screenings, and they’ll ask, how many of you are members? And maybe a quarter, a third on a good day, will raise their hands. And I’m like, you’re all getting to see this movie here, either at a free or reduced price. Become a member, and you’ll see even more movies.
We have a nice television, but we prefer to watch movies in the theater. Everything’s dark, the sound’s just right, and it seems like you’re actually in the movie. We go to the Rafael at least twice a week. Sometimes more. During the film festival, we were there every day, usually seeing two or three films.
This is an incredible resource for San Rafael. Very few places in the United States have a resource like this. It really, you know, gladdens my heart to see the people who do come out for screenings, but I wish more would come out during the weeks when there are regular films playing. Just come out and say, hey, I’m never going to see this movie any place else.