Cinema Series FAQ

  • Click on the blue tabs below to see information about the cinema series.
  • Movie dates, times, and trailers are below the FAQ box.
  • MAGPS sponsors a cinema series, open to clinicians, spouses, & anyone interested in the application of psychological principles to our lives.
  • The mission of the series is to promote connection for MAGPS members between conferences, get the word out about our conferences, provide stimulating learning experiences on issues including, but not limited to, group, diversity, and ethics.
  • Each cinema series event includes a light dinner, a movie, and a lively discussion with a moderator.
  • Light dinner: 5:45 PM - prepared by our own cinema series food committee (in context with the theme of the movie -- you will be surprised!)
  • Movie: 6:30 PM
Upcoming Presentations:  
  • 04/29/2017: Black Swan - Presenter: David Heilman, M.Psy.

white-squareA $10 donation to cover the cost of food and drink is requested.

white-square2.5 CEs (Continuing Education Credits) available for Professional Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Psychologists for $25.white-square
white-squarePlease email and let us know how many will be attending white-square
  • The home of Lorraine and Dan Wodiska
  • 6014 28th Street North, Arlington, VA 22207
white-squareDisclosure of Commercial Support and the Unlabeled use of a commercial product. No member of the planning committee and no member of the faculty for this event have a financial interest or other relationship with any commercial product(s) discussed in this educational presentation.white-square

Cinema Series Presentations

2018-2019 Cinema Series Season

Mark your calendars now for the Cinema Series Season! Our movie dates are:

Saturday, October 6, 2018 – “The Lunchbox”

Discussants: Navmoon Mann, MD, & Lenore Pomerance, LICSW, CGP

Saturday, December 8, 2018 – “Moonlight”

Discussant: Reginald Nettles, PhD, CGP

Saturday, February 2, 2019 – “Call Me By Your Name”

Discussant: Sonia Kahn, PsyD

Saturday, April 13, 2019 – TBD

Discussant: Katherine Thorn, LPC, LCPC, BCN




Cinema Series Archive

2018-2019 Cinema Series Season

Mark your calendars now for the Cinema Series Season! Our movie dates are:

Saturday, October 6, 2018 – “The Lunchbox”

Discussants: Navmoon Mann, MD, & Lenore Pomerance, LICSW, CGP

Saturday, December 8, 2018 – “Moonlight”

Discussant: Reginald Nettles, PhD, CGP

Saturday, February 2, 2019 – “Call Me By Your Name”

Discussant: Sonia Kahn, PsyD

Saturday, April 13, 2019 – TBD

Discussant: Katherine Thorn, LPC, LCPC, BCN



Cinema Series Preview and Interview: Force Majeure


Saturday, April 7, 2018 – “Force Majeure”


Discussant: Brian Cross, PhD



Brian Cross, PhD will be presenting “Force Majeure” on Saturday April 7, 2018, at Lorraine and Dan Wodiska’s house. The New York Times described it as a “dark Swedish comedy. …Just under the surface of a seemingly blissful marriage run fissures that a sudden jolt can tear open to reveal a crumbling edifice. That’s the unsettling reality explored with a merciless lens in the Swedish director Ruben Ostlund ‘s fourth feature film.” Be sure to bring your long distance glasses for those subtitles. 
Where: Lorraine and Dan Wodiska’s house
            6014 N 28th St.
            Arlington, VA 22207
When: Dinner: 5:45 PM

                Movie:  6:30 PM

And now, please enjoy the Cinema Series Interview with Brian Cross, PhD, and Judy Tyson, PhD.

JUDY: Brian, I’m so glad to have the opportunity to get to know you and talk with you about, Force Majeure. Before we get to the film, tell us a bit about your clinical work and your choice to become a clinician in private practice.

BRIAN: As a therapist, early on, my focus was treating very disturbed children and teens and their family systems. I had been working with seriously emotionally disturbed children when a critical incident moved me to change the focus of my clinical work from school settings to private practice. While restraining a psychotic young boy, a teenager much larger than I hovered over me, threatening me with a small knife. With no staff present, my best intervention was limited to telling this teen that if he cut me he was going to end up in jail. And, he would be fresh meat in jail!

JUDY: A really frightening moment. Stunning. With your clinician’s responsibility and no option to “flee,” this moment truly was a “force majeure” for you. It reminds me of the family in our film. With light hearts they begin a ski vacation and an avalanche disrupts an idyllic moment. Now they have no choice but to face the aftermath of their own “force majeure.” But we can talk about that later.

BRIAN: Yes, for me, that moment with the teen was one of the “avalanches,” of my professional career. Soon after that incident I retreated to what seemed at the time would be a safer clinical environment, private practice. And I’ve been there since.

JUDY: Our backgrounds are somewhat similar. In my early years as a clinician I also worked with emotionally disturbed children and their families. Working with these children was a challenge that defies the imagination. It was truly tough work. So, after some intense experiences, I also, chose to re-tool and continue my clinical work in private practice.

BRIAN: When I began my private practice I evaluated children. Over the years, however, I found working with adults, couples, and group work deeply satisfying and have continued that to the present.

JUDY: Before we focus on the film, what moved you to volunteer to present at a Cinema Series event?

BRIAN: A while ago I went to a Cinema Series evening. A couple presented the film and it looked like it would be fun for me to present a film also.

JUDY: I’m glad to hear that what you saw inspired you to present a film as well. That’s what I hope the Cinema Series events offer us all: opportunities to enjoy one another, learn from one another, and, if we are open to it, be inspired by one another to try out something new, whether it is an activity or an idea.

JUDY: How did you discover Force Majeure?

BRIAN: Well, as a rule I prefer “fantasy entertainment.” I avoid films depicting anything that could remind me of my clinical work. I don’t watch films of struggling couples. Years ago, my lovely wife, Elizabeth, introduced me to this movie. She was watching the film, and I sat down to see a bit of it. I never finished the film then because the premise of the movie…an avalanche….running in fear…the emotional turmoil that ensues, suggested it wouldn’t be a story to promote restful sleep. But it did interest me.

JUDY: And, you did eventually watch the entire film? And found it to have redeeming value?

BRIAN: Yes, The bit I had first seen did interest me. So, later, I watched all of it. And I liked it! “Force Majeure,” starts out slowly. A family is beginning a ski vacation. Then we see their reaction to an avalanche.

JUDY: And, the energy shifts.

BRIAN: Yes. At first the film appears to be a bland story of a family on a ski vacation. But, it shifts. I found Force Majeure to be a very edgy, dark, existential movie.

JUDY: And what drew you to choose it as the film to present to us?

BRIAN: The film’s theme gradually emerges as a study about the limits of our humanity, stereotypic gender roles, the frame of marriage, the pretense of control, and the myriad of circumstances puncturing our lives and providing us ground for evolving. (Wearing my clinician hat, I immediately thought that the star couple in the film would soon be entering therapy).

JUDY: That does sound heavy. And the way you put it, pretty bleak.

BRIAN: But, on the other hand, I also found it to be a seriously funny movie. There were so many comedic moments. I laughed a lot watching it.

JUDY: That was my experience also. Maybe the unexpected comedy helps make the move successful. I agree, the film is “seriously” funny. The funny bits truly are funny; laugh out loud funny; “seriously” funny. For me, there is a serious aspect of some of those funny moments because the comedic moments are about “serious” concerns we can all have of the ego: self-esteem, trust, emotional safety. The director of Force Majeore, Ruben Ostlund, was quoted as saying, “All my films are about people trying to avoid losing face.” This film has numerous vignettes of men and women in their struggle with self-esteem; trying not to lose face. Many of the moments are poignant, troublesome or sad. And many others, while funny, point to issues that can keep us vulnerable, embarrassed, and sometimes ashamed.

BRIAN: In Force Majeure the dichotomy carried by the husband and wife, comes to light once they experience the avalanche and seems to stimulate their divisiveness, secrecy, and shame. The husband carries shame; the wife assumes the vindictive victim; both husband and wife are reluctant to acknowledge self-doubt.

JUDY: To shift a bit; you might be aware that The Cinema Series committee has a commitment to support our MAGPS mission statement. To that end, we’ll have the opportunity in our discussion after the film to connect issues presented in the film with how these issues relate to the personal challenges in today’s socio/political climate. Can you relate any of the film’s themes to present day concerns?

BRIAN: It is challenging to not let our differences separate us. We have all, at times, been tempted to take the road more traveled by separating ourselves from each other. We see in this film that, once jarred by a force majeure, the husband and wife find themselves doing just that with one another.

JUDY: The characters in the film struggle to cope with the after-shock of a force majeure. The struggle to maintain their equilibrium and “save face” polarizes them. In our discussion after the film, we will have an opportunity to consider whether any of the themes and concerns in the film remind us of challenges and struggles in our social and political life today. We’ll have a conversation about times we have been triggered by what may have been an unrecognized “force majeure,” that moved us to reactivity and projections; when we realize we could not tap into our wisdom. We can talk about the challenges currently facing our society politically and how those challenges also touch us socially, at times even in our inner circle. We can reflect on what appears as chaos caused by the disequilibrium of our times. I look forward to facilitating what I hope will be a meaningful conversation for all of us.

Cinema Series Preview and Interview: Get Out


Saturday, February 10, 2018 – “Get Out”


Discussant: Raquel Willerman, PhD, LCSW & Warren Levy


The Movie ‘Get Out’ Is a Strong Antidote to the Myth of ‘Postracial’ America (NYT)


“Get Out” speaks in several voices on several themes. It subverts the horror genre itself — which has the well-documented habit of killing off black characters first. It comments on the re-emergence of white supremacy at the highest levels of American politics. It lampoons the easy listening racism that so often lies behind the liberal smile in the “postracial” United States. And it probes the systematic devaluation of black life that killed people like Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner (New York Times, March 27, 2017). Join us on February 10, 2018Click here for more information.



And now, our cinema series interview with Judy Tyson, PhD, CGP, Raquel Willerman, PhD, LCSW, and Warren Levy:


JUDY: Raquel and Warren, I am glad to have an opportunity to talk with you about the film you chose to present at our next Cinema Series. Jordan Peele, the writer and director of “Get Out” has received accolades from the film industry for his film. And by the time this interview is read, many will already know that “Get Out” was nominated for a Golden Globe award and has been recognized as ground breaking in the film industry.


I saw “Get Out” to prepare for this interview. And when mentioning the film to friends and colleagues, their “push back” reactions surprised me. To some, its “horror” label telegraphs “ominous,” “foreboding,” “scary,” and is a reason to avoid the film altogether. Would you give speak to this issue, first off?


RAQUEL: The first thing I will say about me is that I don’t like horror movies.  My body gets disregulated just at the sound of eerie music!  There are suspenseful and unsettling moments in this film. However, clearly, Peele does not want to scare his audience away. He wants his audience to connect with the film; to identify with the African American protagonist. The well timed comedic moments give us opportunities to catch our breath, self-regulate, and metabolize the intensity of the subject matter he presents. And that helps us take away a viewing experience we can learn from.


It’s ironic that the category “Get Out” was nominated for at the 2018 Golden Globes was actually comedy, not horror.  It was also nominated for best screenplay and best actor. It has won best film for many smaller film awardsas well.  From a cinematographic perspective, it’s gorgeous. There are numerous reasons to see this film in addition to its “message”.


JUDY: I agree. Peele says that the film’s label is irrelevant. It has been labeled comedy, documentary, horror, and I would consider adding satire to that list. What is significant is that it is a Black man’s statement of racism as it exists presently in our society.


RAQUEL: Peele’s statement absolutely resonates with me. I think it’s so important for White people to realize that even if they work hard to “be safe” for people of color, or believe themselves to harbor no racism at all, that there’s an entire US history, from slavery, to lynching’s, to Jim Crow, to present-time uses of incarceration and police brutality, that make it impossible for a Black person to “turn off” his or her alarm system in White spaces. It is an act of courage to be in a predominately White space.


In fact, I think it is a brilliant aspect of the film that most of the film takes place in an upper class White suburb. For many of us, including me and Warren, such a magnificently appointed suburb says, “safety.” But for Peele’s main Back protagonist, we learn that our White safety is not safe for him.


JUDY: That challenges the assumptions of so many. Even those never having lived in an upper class White suburb may hold those assumptions. Peele reminds us that those who are invited into an “inner circle” are “outsiders”. Being considered “the other” may mean never being safe from assumptions or acts of others that jar or are hurtful. And, as Peele suggests, in some circumstances, can annihilate.


To shift the focus, would you each please share a bit about your personal selves? What could you tell us that would give us an understanding of your choice to present this challenging film?


RAQUEL:  I have participated in various anti-racism efforts over the years as a White person. I’ve learned about the pervasiveness of racism and that there are conscious and unconscious aspects to it. In fact, I have come to realize that racism is so pervasive it can be said to be in the air we breathe. Like breathing polluted air, no one escapes it; not even those of us who work hard to end racism.


I also have found from my experience that much of the work to recognize our own racism involves being able to pendulate between self-regulation and moving towards the discomfort.  For example, if we are White we need to increase our windows of tolerance of what we can see, hear and feel about the African American experience. And we need to expand our understanding of the ways we are complicit in or benefit from racism.


JUDY: It seems that bringing this film to our attention is a way you will have helped us expand our awareness of how we may be complicit that we may be unaware of.


And, Warren, what would you like to share about yourself? How does your interest in this film reflect your interests and concerns?


WARREN: As a physician, I try to be sensitive to the stresses in patients’ lives both personal and societal.   But it is all too easy for me, a White man of privilege, to forget about the traumas that African-Americans experience every day. This film presented the trauma and allowed me to feel some of that fear through Peele’s protagonist and his experiences with his White upper middle class girlfriend and her family.


When watching the film I got pulled in by the plot.  After it ended, and Raquel and I talked about it, I could reflect on the symbolism and the overarching themes.


JUDY: Your discussion with Raquel enabled you to gain insight as to what the film has to offer. That’s great validation for the group discussion we’ll have after viewing the film on Cinema Series night. Our group discussion, facilitated by a few of us, will be a time to share our perspectives and develop learnings and gain insights.


WARREN: I certainly hope so.


JUDY: It seems to me Peele wants more from his audience than recognizing the racism in others. It seems to me that he wants his audience to realize each of us, unwittingly, has made assumptions based on unconscious projections which have been grounded in racism. It could be “horrifying” to realize this. Could we, informed by our own unconscious attitudes, be perpetuating racism?


There are moments in the film when Peele’s characters express attitudes or behave in ways we would reject. Again, their attitudes “horrify” us. Peele suggests it is “horrifying” that some of use may be operating from our unconscious assumptions of the “other”.


RAQUEL: Judy, this is a very astute observation and one that leads to the crux of anti-racism work in my opinion.  It would be easy for me, a White person, to look at the White characters and say, “That’s not me!”  And of course in most of the details it isn’t.  But the dream-like quality of the movie encourages us to look deeper into ourselves, into our unconscious processes to ask these questions.


JUDY:  Raquel, what would you hope our colleagues and friends “takeaway” from reading this interview, viewing the film, and participating in the discussion?


RAQUEL: I would hope that people feel their perspective about race and racism is enlarged.  I would hope they feel curious about looking into all the symbolism of the movie, because one night of discussion won’t cover it all.  And I would also hope that it spurs participation at some level, personal, clinical, political, and societal in the efforts to end racism.


JUDY: Well spoken, Raquel. Those of us who organize the Cinema Series support those goals as well. The next Cinema Series evening, February 10, we’ll visit over dinner and then I’ll invite you to introduce the film. Perhaps, you could suggest what we might think about, or notice, or wonder about while viewing the film. After the film, we’ll all get some dessert and sit down together for a group discussion.


I’m looking forward to the opportunity we will have to explore how this film speaks to us. We can share our reactions to the film. We will have the opportunity to take on Peele’s invitation to consider how our unconscious projections have influenced our decisions and actions in our day to day lives.

Cinema Series Interview: “Cabaret”

Judy Tyson interviews Liz Marsh on presenting “Cabaret” for the MAGPS Cinema Series December 9, 2017 movie.


CINEMA SERIES INTERVIEW Judy Tyson and Liz Marsh    
JUDY: Liz, I’d like to begin by asking you to say a bit about your choice to present a film for the Cinema Series.
LIZ:   I co-chair the MAGPS membership committee. At a meeting we were discussing what movies could stimulate a discussion regarding the MAGPS mission statement for this year.  I suggested Cabaret. I want to support MAGPS and its mission so I volunteered to present the film.
JUDY: Yes. Over the years I’ve seen Mid-Atlantic “grow” with the times. I am so pleased that we have this commitment. The first film in the Cinema Series, The Great Dictator, was a success in that regard.
LIZ:   Our Mission statement reflects MAGPS’ commitment as an organization to address the intense, conflictual political climate. The Board’s intention is to develop professional activities that will constructively respond to its impact on ourselves and our clients.
We have been developing plans to a-tune our future Conferences and other offerings to do that. We want our MAGPS activities to raise our awareness as to how the political climate affects us both personally and professionally. As clinicians we have a professional obligation to explore how this climate of divisiveness challenges us personally and as clinicians. The Board wants to promote activities that help us as group psychotherapists to attend to the pressures and tensions of the political climate.
JUDY: Liz, would you tell us briefly how MAGPS’s mission has personal meaning for you?
LIZ: I am disheartened by the stance our government and our world seems to be taking towards those who are different or need support. I am excited to be a part of MAGPS at a time when our understanding as clinicians of group dynamics may be able to make a difference; even if the difference is only with our clients and ourselves. I feel personally that we have a duty to be active in the conversation. Perhaps those we touch may respond more inclusively and compassionately to those needing our support.
JUDY:  It seems to me that when people are scared or unable to make sense of a situation, a default perspective can be to  blame the “other,” or stand on the sidelines as a bystander, perhaps  in a state of fear of the “other” or feeling overwhelmed.
LIZ: As therapists we are aware of a pervasive undercurrent of “othering,” in our society. We see it in our groups and have noticed “othering” has prevailed in our society’s history. But we have seldom seen it so publically reinforced as we have since the 2016 presidential election cycle began.
JUDY: In your opinion why is Cabaret a good fit for this Cinema Series season?
LIZ: Cabaret is an interesting choice because it takes place at a tipping point in history. The film, Cabaret, is a musical based on a story by Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood’s autobiographical story takes place in Berlin in the 1930’s, the critical years when the Nazis were coming into power. The musical is about a community of “others.” We see how they choose to respond to a rising threat. This is a threat that may or may not impact them directly.
JUDY: What will be your focus that evening?
LIZ: My intention is to talk about that historical political situation and lead a discussion about choosing to be a bystander, a witness, rather than, when we see things amiss in our communities, choosing to get involved. 
JUDY: In Cabaret Bob Fosse, the director, shows us what happens when insidious, amoral, dark political forces are not addressed and people ignore them or behave as “bystanders.”
What can our membership do to support MAGPS’ mission to explore the tough issues we now face as citizens and that Cabaret dramatically illustrates?
LIZ: My personal comment, “Call your representatives every day!”
In regards what an MAGPS member do?  Our organization is always looking for volunteers to do things. For example, opportunities to present a film at a Cinema Series; join a conference committee; contact a Board member to say you want to help and learn what you can do. The Board wants to focus our upcoming conference on topics that address the divides in our communities and would love members’ ideas, feedback, and help with tasks to make it happen.
JUDY: Yes, early on, when joining MAGPS (more years ago than I can remember) I found that all I had to do was to “show up” and get involved. Mid-Atlantic has no “glass ceiling” to stop anyone from participating. Over the years I  have found MAGPS to consistently welcome new members. And all members are encouraged to find ways to participate. The payoff has been that our organization has become a professional community that nurtures our members’ professional as well as personal growth. 
LIZ: I believe one of the most important things we can do is to dialog with people that are different from us. Events like the Cinema Series provide a platform for dialoging. The opportunity to is important now more than ever. Come and put your two cents in!
JUDY:  In my opinion, your choice of Cabaret is spot on.  Most of the scenes are of people extremely happy, with little to no evidence suggesting there is much to be happy about. The signs that their lives will be soon be impacted by a Nazi world view are ignored.  With the dancing, singing, and smiling, there is a sinister undertone. Something is amiss, to use your words, and nobody seems to notice. Or, if they do notice, they don’t seem to know enough to care.
Thank you, Liz, for giving us your thoughts and thank you, in advance, for presenting Cabaret and what I am sure will be an enlightening group discussion. I’m looking forward to viewing Cabaret with our members and their guests.
For those who will be coming for the first time, the evening begins with visiting and a delicious dinner. This is an opportunity to meet those you know, interesting people you may not have yet met, and those who might be looking forward to an opportunity to get to know you! We’ll watch a great film, and afterward Liz will help us have a lively discussion. Of course the discussion will be accompanied with dessert.
                           CINEMA SERIES presents CABARET
         Hosts:  Lorraine and Dan Wodiska            Dinner and visiting: 5:30
                     6014 28th St., North                        Film viewing:  6:15
                     Arlington, VA 22207                       Discussion & Dessert
                               A $10 contribution to cost of the food is requested
Please RSVP here if interested in attending.

Cinema Series Interview: “The Great Dictator”

Lenore Pomerance interviews Maryetta Andrews-Sachs and Bob Zeskind on presenting “The Great Dictator” for the MAGPS Cinema Series September 23, 2017 movie.


LMP: At our last movie, we talked about the new MAGPS theme of taking in the political, social and psychological challenges of today and reflecting our response to them in our educational programs.  Bob, you spontaneously thought of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” which was his spoof on Hitler.  Can you tell us a little of why that association came so spontaneously to your mind?


Maryetta and Bob: White racism has always been close under the surface – but rarely acknowledged.  It has clearly mushroomed, seemingly in response to the Obama Presidency.  It’s not a big stretch to think of Trump and the title of this movie.


LMP: That was last Spring. How have things changed or progressed since then?  I’m thinking about what the Nazis tapped into that is being tapped into in our country today? I guess we only have to look at what happened in Charlottesville!


M&B: It is what has been brought out by the campaign’s rhetoric that has led to the White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis, KKK, and supporters feeling more emboldened.  Before, there were coded messages, “dog whistles” reflecting these currents. Now they are being shouted in public squares, “Make America Great Again” is obviously Make America White Again.


LMP: As group therapists, we are on high alert for two important dynamics, scapegoating and paranoia of the other.  How does the movie reflect them, and the parallel in our society?


M&B: Clearly the movie is about Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and the creation of an Aryan race, i.e. White and blonde, which is certainly one of the major episodes of scapegoating and “othering.” Fear is the Father of Hate – and off we go.


LMP: What would you say about the bubble some of us feel we are living in?


M&B: It’s hard for any individual to recognize the bubble they live in.  How can the bubbles be popped so that we truly engage with each other and find our common interests?  What is involved in doing this, not just on an individual level, but on a community level?  Where do we begin?


LMP: Yes, those are just the questions we are posing to ourselves, and through our educational programs, attempt to come up with meaningful responses.   Does the movie show any opposition to Hitler, similar to ours here?


M&B: There are a few characters opposed to Hitler in the movie.  Others are either killed off – or passive.  Think of reactions to Senator Joseph McCarthy in our country.  How will each of us respond to further injustices here?


LMP: Exactly!  What do you want to say about Chaplin’s epilogue at the end of the movie?


M&B: He is calling us to the better angels of our nature!  If only every leader led with such messages. His words continue to be relevant, unfortunately.  Note that he is also asking soldiers to fight with the love of humanity in their hearts.


LMP: Yes.  This movie is uncanny in its relevance for us today.  I just finished watching the movie as well as a documentary on Chaplin’s life. He was a genius, and a very complex man, hated and loved.   He was hounded out of this country because of his perceived Russian communist sympathies, communist sympathizers being among the major scapegoats of the 1950s.   Yet he was humbly grateful to the motion picture academy that presented him with a lifetime achievement Oscar. In that documentary, his daughter said he was only granted a ten-day visa to attend the event.  She exhorted him not to go.  He replied that he was delighted saying, “You see, they are still afraid to me.”


Maryetta and Bob, thank you so much for kicking off our new 2017-2018 season with this movie. This will be a really rich experience for us all.


Be sure to RSVP to Lenore that you will be coming to the movie on September 23, 2017.