AFI Member Spotlight: Barbara Provus
This month, we spoke with Two-Star member Barbara Provus, who spent her career as an executive recruiter for Fortune 500 Companies before retiring and has been an active member of AFI since 2008. Barbara’s favorite film is Alfred Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS, and she and her family have the “AFI movie gene” with her sister even establishing a scholarship at the AFI Conservatory in memory of their father who loved movies.
We spoke with Barbara about the AFI initiatives that she loves to support, her experience with virtual programming including AFI DOCS this past year, and some of her favorite films.
AFI: What is your first memory of a film or television show that made you fall in love with the art form?
Barbara: I remember my father taking me to see Disney’s PINOCCHIO in a theater. I was so frightened by the whale that he had to take me home. I was also terrified of the flying monkeys in THE WIZARD OF OZ when I saw it on TV…it’s amazing that I did end up being a movie lover! But, even at the age of five, I recognized magic was happening onscreen.
AFI: What part of AFI’s mission, programs or events interests you the most?
Barbara: I’m impressed by the 360-degree scope of what AFI does to support the art of film, but the Archive preservation project is something for which I’m especially grateful. I can’t imagine never having seen some of my favorite movies because they were “lost.” And the Lists are a wonderful curriculum for any movie lover, and very helpful for trivia games.
AFI: In an unconventional year such as this, what was your favorite film? And as an ardent devotee of the Academy Awards®, what was your favorite moment from this year’s ceremony?
Barbara: My favorite documentary film was MY OCTOPUS TEACHER, which won! I think the world under the sea is a never-ending movie. The connection between the filmmaker and the octopus was amazing. And it sure wasn’t scripted.
I haven’t seen all the nominated feature films yet but agree that NOMADLAND was deserving. The diversity of the nominees broke down so many barriers. Hopefully, it will continue at an accelerated speed. Tyler Perry’s powerful speech in which he urged audiences around the world to “refuse to hate” will be with me for a long time.
AFI: How was your experience watching AFI’s virtual programs this year, including the Netflix screening series and THE MOSQUITO COAST screening?
Barbara: The virtual programs were a great comfort during this past year. I was able to see new movies and support AFI, even if I had to pop my own corn.
AFI: With AFI DOCS coming up, what was your favorite moment from last year’s festival?
Barbara: I love documentaries, and there were so many great ones. I was especially moved by THROUGH THE NIGHT, which featured such dedicated people who were facing challenges, but never gave up. When a documentary touches you, it really touches you.
AFI: If you could have lunch with one filmmaker or artist alive or dead, who would it be?
Barbara: Initially, I thought of some of my favorite actors, or brilliant directors or screenwriters. But three of my favorite classic movies – PENNY SERENADE, REMEMBER THE NIGHT, and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – were all the better because of actress Beulah Bondi, so she would be my choice.