Turner Classic Movies might seem like the network your grandmother might watch, but think again. According to the network’s host Ben Mankiewicz, two-thirds of their viewers are under the age of 49. Welcome to the world of classic film.
The TCM Film festival, now in its fourth year, has become a big part of the Hollywood landscape each year at the end of April. Setting up its hub at the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, the festival takes off where the first Academy Awards began. The VIP room dubbed “Club TCM” is in the hotel’s famed Blossom Room where the first Oscars took place in 1929. The Best Picture honoree was Wings and the winners were all known ahead of time in the short, 15-minute ceremony.
While times have changed, the festival still honors the tradition of film history. In speaking with TCM Classic Film Festival managing director, Genevieve McGillicuddy, she shared the importance of the weekend, “The community is out there and wants to connect and the festival is the one of, if not the most visible, manifestations of bringing the community together. That was our driving goal in creating this event.”
Many of their cues are taken by the viewers who make suggestions on specific themes or a series of films they would like to see. From the fan-generated hashtag on Twitter #TCMparty to good old-fashioned emails, the network takes its fans very seriously.
The four-day festival allows film buffs to foster friendships, get up close and personal with TCM’s personalities Mankiewicz and the beloved Robert Osborne as well as see some of their favorite stars talk about the films that have become timeless classics. This year, a restored print of Funny Girl was the opening night’s big red carpet event. Press Pass LA was able to talk to some familiar faces about their favorites scenes from Barbra Streisand’s film debut. Legendary film critic Leonard Maltin shared, “The tugboat, that’s the first thing I think of,” which is a iconic part of the movie’s anthem “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” Actress Ileana Douglas said, “‘Hello, Gorgeous!’ That’s a pretty good moment,” referring to the opening line in the film and Streisand’s opening line to her Oscar speech when she won for in 1968.
Other highlights from the weekend included Jane Fonda being honored at the TCL Chinese Theatre with her hand and footprints sealed in cement with so many other recognizable stars from years past. Her cement square was placed right next to her legendary dad Henry who passed only five months after receiving his only Academy Award for On Golden Pond.
Before a screening of the film, Fonda reminisced about her dad’s strength throughout filming even though he was very ill. The funnier moments on set were delivered by Katharine Hepburn who was notoriously competitive and even talked the 9 to 5 star out of the house she wanted to rent. Hepburn liked it, too, so guess who won that round?
With multiple programs running simultaneously, it can be difficult for a film fan to choose where to go next. A highlight on the last day was TCM’s upcoming documentary on legacy filmmaker Richard Zanuck called Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck. Viewers will be able to see the TV premiere on May 8, but festival audiences were enamored with Zanuck’s approach to life given his family’s rich history in the entertainment business. The filmmaker died three days after seeing the documentary on his life.
TCM’s next big event is their annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Cruise aboard the Disney Magic from Dec. 8-13, 2013.
Visit TCM Facebook for a full photo gallery of the festival.