To distract himself after a long night of drinking and splurging, Alexander Sorondo impulsively purchased Steven Jay Schneider’s book, “1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” Sorondo felt the need to embark on another writing journey, so he decided to watch every one of the suggested movies and write an essay on them.
“My essays are not like film reviews. Mine are more personal. I use the things that happen in the movie as a springboard for talking about things in my life,” said Sorondo, 26.
In November 2016, after writing his 60th essay, Sorondo launched a website, www.thousandmovieproject.com, where he uploads his essays for others to read.
“On Mondays and Thursdays I show up to Starbucks and post and lay out the page. It’s a ritual,” said Sorondo, who is a tutor in the English Department at Miami Dade College.
So far, the website features more than 80 essays. Sorondo even has guest writers, including comedian Sophia Benoit and book critic Steve Donoghue, participate and share their thoughts.
“I look at the analytics on my website, and my most consistent readers are from outside of the U.S.,” Sorondo said.
Although he had been enjoying his Thousand Movie Project journey alone, Sorondo wanted to share his enthusiasm for these films with the community. In June, he began hosting free monthly screenings at Tea & Poets, a cafe in The Shops at Sunset Place. The screenings are open to the public.
“It’s a way for me to interact with people. I think it’s easier for people to approach these intimidating older movies if they’re watching with a group, leaving their house for it, hanging out in a comfortable, relaxed, welcoming environment,” Sorondo said. “That’s what Tea & Poets gives us, and that’s why the screenings are so fun.”
Sorondo purchases his screening licenses from Swank Motion Pictures. The license allows him to showcase the films to the public, and it is only valid for the day of each screening. His screenings have attracted as many as 70 guests.
“Before the screening I do a little spiel for the audience,” said Sorondo, who also performs stand-up comedy every Wednesday at the cafe. “I get nervous, but I’m trying to be a little more confident.”
Sorondo finds that announcing the screenings on Facebook is the most effective way to spread the word. He has created a Facebook group called “A Thousand Movie Project,” where he posts information on upcoming screenings and essay posts.
“People look forward to our movie nights and really enjoy coming together for his screenings,” said Joaquin Ortiz, owner and partner of Tea & Poets, 5701 Sunset Dr. in South Miami. “Alex is great to work with and doing something truly unique. His concept fits perfectly within the scope of our brand.”
At 8 p.m. Nov. 28, Sorondo will celebrate the anniversary of Thousand Movie Project’s website launch at Tea & Poets. He invites everyone to come join him for some snacks, tea, coffee, wine, beer.
“Everybody is welcome to come along.” Sorondo said.