You can find Irv Slifkin creating these shared movie experiences on the first Monday of every month at the Moorestown Library with his “First Monday Films” series.
Irv Slifkin’s grandmother gave him a proper education. Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, they’d journey together on the Frankford “El” and head to one of the Center City movie palaces to take in a movie or a see a musical. Movie-going was something of an experience for the pair.
The communal experience has always been what Slifkin loves most about movies. These days, you can find him creating these shared movie experiences on the first Monday of every month at the Moorestown Library with his “First Monday Films” series.
A voracious consumer of movie news, Slifkin impressed others with his film knowledge from a young age. In his summer camp days, the head of the camp would try to stump Slifkin every morning with a film trivia question. He never could. At the age of 10, he could not only name the actors in a movie but the director, cinematographer and producers.
He studied the pages of Variety magazine to keep up on industry happenings and became the film critic at Northeast High School’s radio station. His career in high school radio abruptly came to an end when he said a movie “sucked” on the radio. He didn’t appreciate “Towering Inferno,” and his higher-ups didn’t appreciate that he used the word “sucked” on the air.
While attending Temple University, Slifkin served as the college paper’s film critic and entertainment editor. He also started writing for outside publications and ran a blog for a company called “Movies Unlimited.”
Slifkin went on to teach a class at Temple called “Writing About Film” that he still teaches. Around five years ago, Slifkin started teaching a sociology class about the media and a movie history course at Rowan College at Burlington County.
Along the way, Slifkin moved to Cherry Hill and wrote a book titled “VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-out Films of the Psychedelic Era” exploring films of the sixties and seventies. Compiling the book was a painstaking two-year experience, and by the end of it, he swore he’d never write another.
His promise to himself was quickly broken when Philadelphia Magazine asked him to write an article about movies filmed in Philadelphia. He said the piece got a great response, and he was approached by a publisher who wanted to expand the article into book.
He went in for a meeting in February and had to have all of his material in by August. He wasn’t sure he could meet the deadline, but somehow he completed his second book “Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies” in time.
While out promoting his book, Slifkin found himself getting booked for various speaking engagements. Four years ago when the individual running Moorestown’s film series passed away, Slifkin was approached about continuing the series, and he agreed. He’s appeared at the library once a month ever since, and about a year ago, he started screening foreign films at the Mount Laurel Library.
Slifkin has a list of hundreds of movies he is continuously adding to his screening list. He pours hours of research into each movie and starts each screening with an introduction. The showing is followed by a question-and-answer period.
He derives great pleasure from showing people films they didn’t know about prior to coming to his series.
“Showing people things or recommending things they’re not aware of — that makes me happy,” Slifkin said. “That kind of element of surprise to me and the audience is great.”
Recently, Slifkin has embarked on a new adventure. He’s gone from watching movies to producing them. While he can’t release the details yet, he’s working on a film with a friend that will showcase an array of Hollywood stars. They hope to screen the film in South Jersey at some point since both are from the area.
Slifkin has also given some recent consideration to embarking on a solo film project. He said he got his feet wet on his joint project.
“Now I’m like hooked,” Slifkin said. “I want to do more.”
“First Monday Films with Irv Slifkin” takes place on the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Moorestown Library.