I started becoming interested in movies at around age 11. It was around the early 1990's then and the Internet was only specialized tool used by a select few. So I got most of my information on books and on TV. It wasn't until the mid-1990's during my college years when I *really* became serious, started voraciously watching Kurosawa, Truffaut, Godard, Fellini and all the Hollywood classics. What happened? A combination of growing up as a person and as a film buff and of course the Internet where I met and corresponded with people who recommended these films to me.
One of the reasons why cinephilia is so popular these days, as well as all other aspects of geekdom is the Internet. Never before in the history of society and film has information and access been this easy. I mean, from the time I started fiddling with the Internet and corresponding with people, downloading entire films and watching in your computer have become commonplace. Rarely seen films and very indie and very arthouse flicks can reach audiences easier than ever before. I also find that some young people are becoming serious cinephiles at rather young ages, discovering films that I haven't even heard of until college during their junior high years!
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, there are downsides to this, of course but I do believe that the good far outweigh the bad. It means films and the appreciation for films as art form will no longer be shared by a elite few but rather by a wider spectrum of people.