Monday, June 24, 2013

Hello Gorgeous!--Day One TCM Classic Film Festival 2013

Even though I had stopped by TCMFF headquarters on Wednesday, it didn't feel like the film festival really started until Thursday the 25th; the day I had been waiting for since April of last year!  I started the day off with a trip to Old Navy to get a free tote, like you do.  I then made my way over to Club TCM to wrestle with the idea of buying a larger sized tote bag, I didn't end up getting the tote, instead I got a pen, a pin, a shirt and the old fashioned flight bag.  I should've just bought the tote and saved myself the trouble.  I don't know what it is about tote bags, I guess I just love to tote.  Here's a picture including the T-shirt and flight bag, totally overboard on my part, I admit it:
After essentially buying everything at the TCM boutique I spied Raquel from Out of the Past and @QuelleLove fame.  We said a quick hello, mostly because I was nervous and embarrassed (as I am in 90% of social interaction).  But it was really wonderful to meet her and put a face to the online identity.  I wish I had been more sociable, but even at 30 I let my self consciousness get the better of me.  I then scurried outside to check my phone (no reception inside) and then sat in on the Meet TCM Panel.  It was very informative and fun to see the people and faces behind the network that I love so much. The panel was emceed by Scott McGee (@BBunny1940 on twitter) and included Charlie Tabesh, Sean Cameron, Tom Brown, Jeff Gregor, Pola Changnon and
Richard Steiner.  Each member of the panel had something insightful and interesting to share with the crowd.  They also handled themselves so professionally while also infusing humor into their responses to questions.  The panel began with a discussion regarding brand passion analysis.  It was determined that fans of TCM are as passionate as NFL or Simpsons fans and the only brand that beat TCM was Apple.  That is very easy to believe especially since I have often considered getting a TCM tattoo since I love what they do for classic film so very much.  They then discussed programming and what is taken into consideration deciding on the programming.

Jeff Gregor, Pola Changnon, Richard Steiner
They mentioned things like the rights to movies and deals that they can make with studios.  And in regards to programming the festival they need to be able to find a print and find the appropriate format.  Pola Changnon who is in charge of set design talked about creating sets for both Ben and Robert.  She talked about some of the recent changes and what goes through her mind and the hosts minds while working on the set.  For Ben, she said that he imagines living in that space and for Robert, who she called a "handsome devil"they wanted to make his space social and welcoming.

Sean Cameron, Tom Brown, Charlie Tabesh

Sean then talked about the new program called, Friday Night Spotlight (I'm already a month late on this) which was inspired by Cher.  It's to be hosted by a different classic film fan celeb and each month will feature a different theme.  This program offers more perspectives on film and different voices at the network.  Here are the upcoming Friday Night Spotlights:
Illeana Douglas- Second Chance Films (this one has come and gone, but it was wonderful)  She selected a lot of great movies and was also on twitter discussing the movies with #TCMParty and fans.  I have them all recorded on my DVR and need to find the time to watch them.

Bill Hader- In October he'll be doing Friday night Horror nights.  I keep missing him on Essentials Jr. but I do enjoy him immensely and love that he's a part of the TCM family.
Eddie Mueller- His spotlight will focus on Noir Writers, I believe this is the spotlight they're doing this month and I've dutifully recorded all the films from the last 2 weeks.
Then in my notes I wrote down David Edelstein....but I didn't write down the theme of his Friday Night Spotlight, so we'll all have to stay tuned for that :)
Jeff Gregor
This then led to a discussion about how they're able to secure talent for events like this and how they find celebrities who are classic film fans.  It was revealed that they work hard to maintain great relationships with classic film fan celebs and that they keep a database indicating which celebrities are fans.  If someone mentions classic film in an interview or elsewhere they get added to the database.
They then opened the panel up for questions from the audience.  Some of them were interesting, while others were cripplingly embarrassing.  One woman asked if they could make it clear in the Now Playing guide that a film will have closed captions so she won't miss the dialogue when she leaves the room to go to the bathroom or make a snack.  Other questions did result in hearing some interesting info, for example when asked about using a Digital copy or a film print for festival screenings they will always chose the one that is better quality, but recently they have been under more pressure to go with the digital restorations over film prints.  Someone also asked why 'The Exorcist' was pulled from the line-up, it was insinuated that William Friedkin had a lot to do with that, he was unhappy with the print they were going to screen, so instead of fighting with him they opted for 'Three Days of the Condor' instead.  There also a few questions about planning themes and what makes a classic a classic.  The panel stated a number of times that there isn't a cut-off date for a classic film and they often try to work within a theme or with a particular actor in mind.
Tom Brown
Some other questions were about holding a festival on the east coast, they responded as nicely as they could, but made it fairly clear that a 2nd festival won't be happening any time soon.  They said it was a tremendous amount of work to put together this festival (and for that we are all very grateful).  Oh one other very interesting tidbit was that they always try their hardest to get obscure or not often seen movies and one way that they do that is by negotiating for smaller films when they're securing or buying the rights to bigger movies and sometimes they're able to work out deals where they can screen a movie once a year.  Overall this was a wonderful panel that helped shed some light on the inner workings of TCM and also confirmed the fact that the people who work to provide all these wonderful programs, festivals, specials, etc. truly love and respect classic film and their fans!

Well that ended up being very long-winded, I've always been quite verbose.  Anyway, after the panel I decided to head back outside to get some air, text some friends and family, you know things you need cell reception for, and when I was walking back inside I bumped into (almost literally) a friend of mine who I've known since college.  We've managed to bump into each other pretty much every year at the film festival, but this year we decided to spend the rest of the day together and go to Funny Girl together and all that good stuff.  We also decided to enter the 'So You Think You Know Movies?' Trivia contest, together we became 'Dial teaM for Murder' and tackled the INSANELY difficult questions thrown our way by Film Forum programmer Bruce Goldstein.
James Karen
There were very many challenging and tricky questions.  My friend and I did not win, but we had some personal victories, like me determining that James Karen narrated a Buster Keaton documentary, since I had remembered that I celebrity spotted him at the screening of 'Cameraman' at the 2011 film festival and my friend pieced together that it was Lucille Ball in the brief clip of Top Hat, based on his knowledge of her being under contract at RKO at the time.  We figured that we probably got 8 out of 20 correct and based on the questions, that ain't bad.  As an added bonus 3 actors who were featured in questions showed up during the trivia contest.
Norman Lloyd

They included James Karen, Norman Lloyd! and Michael Badalucco.  They also presented the winning team with their prizes.  I tried to get a picture of Michael Badalucco as well, but they all came out very blurry, he's a man after my own heart gesturing like wild. Here are some of my pics, Norman Lloyd was so very confused, but was definitely a good sport.  Always nice to see him at these events.

After the trivia contest I scurried off to my car to change for the opening night movie.  I had planned on changing in a bathroom, but that was not in the cards for me and changing in the car just seemed to make the most sense.  All those years of changing in cars before and after soccer games as a youth really prepared me well for life.  I then grabbed a quick bite with my trivia contest bud at 24 Degrees and we then made our way over to Funny Girl. At this point I was still foolishly holding out hope that Babs herself and/or Omar would make an appearance, but I was very wrong.  And after hearing a not so flattering story about Omar Shariff with a fan at a convention I became grateful that he wasn't going to be in attendance.  Still, it would've been quite a coup for TCM to get Streisand herself, oh well.  Instead we got a letter from Barbra read by William Wyler's daughter which was heartfelt and sweet and a little convo before the picture between Robert Osborne and his 'Friday Night Girlfriend' Cher.  It was very cute to see them interacting in person. 

The movie was simply STUNNING.  I'll be honest and let you know this isn't one of my favorite classic films, I've only seen it one other time, but after seeing this restoration in Grauman's I fell in love with it.  I kept wondering what it must've been like for audiences to see this movie when it came out and have this be their first introduction to Barbra Streisand, I mean seriously! That hair, those nails!! That voice!  No wonder she won (well tied for) that Academy Award.  I was seriously blown away by the movie and promptly ordered the Blu-Ray restoration when it came out the following week, along with The Guilt Trip, come one you know I had to.  Anyway, amazing to see the film in all it's glory.  TCM always knows how to pick good opening night movies.  Oh and that reminds me at the panel someone asked if they intended to always do musicals for the opening night movie and Charlie Tabesh said it just kind of happened that way it wasn't always the plan.  I've really enjoyed all of the opening night red carpet movies from all of the film festivals, (A Star is Born, An American in Paris, Cabaret and Funny Girl).  They've been wonderful ways to kick off the festival and awe-inspiring to see at Grauman's (I refuse to call the theater TCL).  The red carpet staff were VERY similar to the first two years, in that they were pushy, rude and constantly saying "move along" or "keep moving" even when there were people in front of you, I can't walk through people, sorry.  I would've liked to have had a moment or two to enjoy walking the carpet and scoping out the celebs walking in with me.  I did grab a quick snapshot of Eva Marie Saint saying hi to Robert Osborne, I like to pretend that she's saluting him :)
After the movie I had the AMAZING luck of being able to go to the Vanity Fair party!  Thanks to my friend I got to tag along and experience the fancy shmancy-ness of it all.  In all the years of attending the festival I had never attended the party and felt very lucky to be able to check it out this year and kind of see what I've been missing.  It was very nice to check out the venue and do some celebrity spotting.  I saw Max Von Sydow, Tippi Hedren and Illeana Douglas walking around.  There was also a lovely performance by Lulu.  She sang, 'To Sir, With Love,' and! 'I Don't Wanna Fight No More, ' which I didn't realize she had written.  I had always just thought of it as a Tina Turner hit.  I didn't take that many pictures cause I was just trying to soak it all in, but here are a couple:

And! my mom emailed me saying that she spotted me in a picture on the TCM festival website, here it is:

I'm the one sitting on the edge of the pool thingy about midway back, in the very colorful dress with the black sweater, I can't believe my mom found me in that picture, but that's how moms are sometimes.   After hanging out for a couple of hours we decided to take the shuttle back to TCM headquarters.  We ended up in a shuttle with TCM's Tom Brown! which was a nice surprise.

So that does it for the day one update, it was a lengthy one, I know, but it was such a great day and such a wonderful experience I'll try to update about day two sometime in the near future and I'd love to be able to update about the 2012 fest, sometime soon!  Thanks my faithful readers :)


  1. It was so nice meeting you Diane! I could tell you were a little shy so I commend you for finding me and coming up to me to say hi. Even at my age of 32, it's still difficult for me to be social. I found it a bit easier at TCMFF because I was just so excited to meet folks. Perhaps next year, if we both end up going, we can plan to meet and maybe attend an event together so we can chat a bit more.

    I was so jealous of the other folks I know from the classic film blogging community. They went up to Osborne, McGee, Mankiewicz, etc. with no problem. I was too shy to meet any of them! If it wasn't for my husband, I wouldn't have met Leonard Maltin.

    I have to say, that second half of the Meet the TCM Panel was uncomfortable to sit through. The panel did a great job but some folks in the audience abused their privilege of having a microphone in their hands. ha! We did end up getting a lot of useful info out of that panel though. You did a great job recapping it.

    and OMG you went to the Vanity Fair party?! LUCKY! Looking forward to your other posts :-)

  2. Sorry for not responding to this for 2 months! I'm terrible. But I appreciate the comments, as always. I'm very much looking forward to next year's festival and that's a great idea to plan ahead of time to go to an event, I would love that!

    I know what you mean about feeling shy around celebrities, I always over think it and don't want to seem bothersome, it's good to have people who encourage you and help you to get over the hurdle.

    The 2nd half of the panel was brutally! uncomfortable, so many instances of thinking, 'is this the right forum for this question?' But you're right the panel did a wonderful job of diffusing the situation.

    I'm working on getting those other posts up, I really want to get them done in a timely manner. Thanks again!