Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Put the Blame on Mame"--Day 4 of the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival

(I clearly started writing this a few months ago, but I finally finished it today, stay tuned for more posts about events from a few years ago.)

Hello party people!  I've been inspired by this week's exciting 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements and have decided to try to finish my on the pulse coverage of previous film festivals.  I've decided to start with the final day of the 2013 festival.  It is kind of strange to think that these events took place 3 years ago.  Anyway, here we go, Day 4, filled with femme fatales, intrigue and some laughs...

The first movie of the day was, Gilda (1946) directed by, Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth and Glen Ford.  It screened at the Egyptian Theater and was introduced by Debra Winger.  Ms. Winger's introduction was short and sweet and to the point.  She shared her love of the film and for Rita Hayworth's performance.  She even quoted the line from the film, "If I'd been a ranch, they would've named me, "The Bar Nothing."

The film was beautiful, engaging and so wonderfully dark.  The plot is convoluted and the performances are stellar, and it was an amazing treat to get to see Rita Hayworth in all of her silver screen beauty.  It was worth it alone for the 'Put the Blame on Mame' scene.

Next up was Libeled Lady (1936) at the multiplex.  This was one of the TBA screenings, aka a second chance screening so I was grateful to have another opportunity to see it on the big screen.

Libeled Lady is one of my favorite romantic/screwball comedies and look at that cast!   It was introduced by the one, the only Scott McGee

Seeing screwball comedies in a packed theater is one of the best ways to see them.  Sharing the laughter and the ridiculousness is an absolutely wonderful experience.  It was also a joy to see this cast on the big screen.  While watching this film I realized that the full effectiveness of some actors and actresses are much ore evident when they're seen on the big screen.  For this movie and this screening that happened with Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow.  There are times when you see a classic film actor or actress in a movie on a DVD at home and their screen presence just doesn't fully come through, that is until you see them on the silver screen.  The subtlety of their performance and their nuances don't always shine through on the smaller screen at home.  That's not to say that Powell and Loy weren't also stellar, but their performances still manage to come through on TV screens, and and even more so in the theater.

Next up on the final day of the festival was a complete shift in both genre and tone, Three Days of the Condor (1975) starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, and Max Von Sydow.  The screening was introduced by Robert Osborne and included a conversation with the amazing Max Von Sydow before the screening.

Hearing Mr. Von Sydow speak was very engaging, he touched on many of the movies in his career.  I pretty much just enjoyed listening to his sultry voice and to just be in his presence.

The final film for the day and for the festival was The General starring Buster Keaton.

I was back in Grauman's Chinese theater and joined again by my cousin (who had also been at the screening of Airplane).  This was such a great way to end the festival.  It was introduced by Robert Osborne and the final screening before the theater was going to be renovated.

I absolutely love seeing silent films in these big theaters, with live orchestras, and with a huge audience.  There is nothing like hearing a packed theater laughing at Buster Keaton's hijinks.

Here are some shots of the theater:

It's even more interesting to take a look at these photos now.  Not only because this was 3 years ago, but because I've been in the renovated theater for the las 3 festivals and this feels like a major blast from the past.

Alright, well that does it for me for Day 4 of the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival.  That's one more complete festival down, 3 more to go!  I'm going to try to tackle these posts while I have some downtime this summer.  Tune in next time.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 TCM Classic Film Festival Tentative Schedule and Social Producer Assignment

Ahoy Ahoy, Classic Film fans.  I apologize for the delay in formulating this post, but school, work and traveling to NY last weekend haven't allowed for the proper amount of obsessing over the film festival schedule.  However, it did allow for a sit-down between my dad and I to attempt to make decisions about our schedule.

As always, this was a bit of a challenge, but a fun one filled with making awesome decisions.  So, without further ado here's our tentative schedule for this year's festival (subject to change for any number of reasons):

Block 1: One Potato, Two Potato (1964) [New to us]
This was a funny one because my top 2 choices were One Potato, Two Potato and Dark Victory
and my Dad's top picks were One Potato, Two Potato and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  Once we saw that Barbara Barrie was going to be in attendance we decided to make this our selection.

Block 2: Brief Encounter (1945) [Favorite on the Big Screen and New to Dad]
I love this movie so much and am really looking forward to seeing it on the big screen.  Oddly enough my dad has never seen it, so what better way to enjoy it than in a theater at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Block 1: Either Shanghai Express (1932) or Never Fear (1949) [Favorite on the Big Screen or New to us]
I had originally seen a VHS copy of Shanghai Express a few years ago, so when I heard that a restoration of the film was going to be at the festival I immediately added it to my must see list.  And it's going to be introduced by director Josef von Sternberg's son, Nicholas von Sternberg.  My second choice this block is The More the Merrier.  Meanwhile, my dad's number one choice is the Ida Lupino movie Never Fear, which will be introduced by MoMA Film Curator, Anne Morra.  We'll see how this one shakes out.

Block 2: The Way We Were (1973) or He Ran All the Way (1951) [Favorite on the Big Screen or New to us]
The Way We Were is my top choice for this time slot, Robert Redford on the big screen...need I say more?  My dad's selection is He Ran All the Way, which sounds like a really complex movie complete with a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo.  Another interesting time slot.

Block 3: The Conversation (1974) [Favorite on the Big Screen and fun celeb]
This was a tough block for us, lots of different things to choose between, but I think I'm most drawn to The Conversation with director Francis Ford Coppola as a special guest.  The other films at this time sound extremely interesting and I think if The Conversation wasn't at the same time we could easily see any of them.

Block 4: It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Voices of Light: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) [Favorites on the Big Screen]
Did you notice the 'and'...that wasn't a typo, this might be our first block of movies where we dun dun dunn....split up!  I know what you're thinking, that's totally uncalled for, but it may have to be done.  I had the amazing pleasure of seeing an extremely similar performance of The Passion of Joan of Arc at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in recent years (my friend from college sang in the performance).  It was an absolutely wonderful experience and I couldn't possibly recommend it more highly and definitely think my dad should see it, but that means that I may sneak off to the screening of It's a Wonderful Life instead.

Block 5: Repeat Performance (1947) [New to us]
After reading the description for Repeat Performance, my dad and I were both intrigued.  It's hard to pass up Angela Lansbury and Alec Baldwin at the Manchurian Candidate and Bob Fosse and the rest of the cast of My Sister Eileen, but it would also be fun to see a new to both of us movie.  This is one that might change on the day of depending on the pull of Angela Lansbury or Bob Fosse.

Block 1: 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone [New to us]
Another tough block, but I think we're going with the presentation about Vitaphone.  We really enjoyed the Technicolor presentation and the hand-cranked movies last year so we'll keep our trend of learning about different formats alive with the 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone.  Plus, it will feature great from 1928-1929 that feature Rose Marie and George Burns and Gracie Allen.

Block 2: The First Time in Hollywood @ Club TCM
This is another instance of having been to a very similar event, very recently.  Last year I went to a screening of Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid at UCLA complete with an interview with Carl Reiner, which was wonderful.  I'm tempted to see it again, especially since it's a whole afternoon with Carl Reiner and because my dad hasn't seen Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.  But I think ultimately we're going to enjoy an event at Club TCM instead.  It sounds like a great group of people at the panel and I always enjoy hearing Cari Beauchamp talk about movies and Hollywood history.

Block 3: Rita Moreno Book Signing [Fun celeb]
My entire family really likes Ms. Rita Moreno (EGOT Winner).  I enjoy her performances in musicals like West Side Story and as Detective Goren's mother on Law and Order: Criminal Intent (I'm a sucker for Vincent D'Onofrio).  While my dad and brother's respect and revere her from her performance in Oz.  I tend to go to at least one book signing per festival so I think this one would be perfect for us.  It's also wonderful that Larry Edmund's is collaborating with the festival for events like this, they're always so wonderful.

Block 4: The Long Goodbye (1973) [Favorite on the Big Screen and fun celeb]
After a day of learning about Vitaphone, attending a panel, and hopefully getting to tell Rita Moreno how much we enjoy her body of work it's only logical to go to a screening of The Long Goodbye with Elliot Gould in attendance.

Block 5: Rocky (1978) or  Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) [Favorite on the Big Screen and fun celeb or New to me]
I was sure my dad would want to see Rocky at the fest, but it turns out he saw it in the theater when it first came out, so his first choice for this time slot was Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.  I've certainly seen Rocky before, but never in a theater, which is why it was my first choice this block.  However, while putting this post together I discovered that Talia Shire will be in attendance for this screening, which may have clinched it.  And to quote Rocky and my dad after I emailed him about it, "Adriannnnnn!"

Block 1: All That Heaven Allows (1955) or M*A*S*H (1970) [Favorite on the Big Screen]
My dad's top 2 for this time slot are M*A*S*H and Fallen Idol and my top 2 for this slot are All That Heaven Allows and M*A*S*H.  Not sure how this is going to turn out, but it will be extremely difficult for me to pass up seeing a Douglas Sirk film on the big screen.

Block 2: The Kid (1921) followed by Horse Feathers (1932) [Favorites on the Big Screen]
Originally, we were really looking forward to seeing The Longest Ride and to see Burt Reynolds in person (I recently saw Smokey and the Bandit for the first time and my affection for Reynolds has grown exponentially), but now that he's unfortunately no longer going to be attending the festival it's back to the drawing board.  It seems that a double feature of The Kid and then Horse Feathers is a good alternative.  We haven't discussed this time block since Burt Reynolds cancelled so we'll see what happens here.

Block 3: The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966) [New to me and fun celeb]
This should be a fun one and Eva Marie Saint will be in attendance.  I've never seen it before so I'm really looking forward to it.  My dad is also interested in seeing Fat City during this time slot, but I recently saw a restoration screening of this at The Reel Thing last year.

Block 4: Network (1976) [Favorite on the Big Screen and fun celeb]
We weren't sure what to go with for the final screening, but with the announcement of the wonderful Faye Dunaway we were sold on Network.  This movie is intense and emotional and hearing Faye Dunaway should be amazing.

Alright so there's our tentative schedule, lots of tough choices, but as always there are no bad choices.  Here are some other wonderful blogger's schedule posts, I like seeing other people's choices and seeing the reasoning and to see if we have any screenings in common:

Raquel's Top Picks: My Top Picks for the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival 

A Classic Movie Blog's: The TCM Classic Film Festival 2016 Schedule

Laura's Picks: The 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

Chris' Movie Madness: TCMFF Madness, Baby

Social Producer Assignment- #TCMFFSP

My dad and I are THRILLED to be Social Producers at the festival again.  This year we're going to incorporate the themes of the films at the festival with family and loved ones.  We're going to post (at least) daily topics for discussions.  They may include memories of seeing certain movies, be related to the themes of the movies, or just general movie experiences.  We will also most likely seek out festival goers who are attending with their family, much like we did last year, and share their stories on Twitter.  In addition to this we're also going to be on hand for some Social Media 101 support.  I'm currently creating a handout that goes through the steps of setting up a Twitter account.  We will also make ourselves available for other support as needed.  We're really looking forward to it again this year.  You can read about all of the social producer's on Classic Movie Hub and here are other posts by other Social Producers:

Kellee's Scavenger Hunt: TCMFF 2016 Announcement: Photo Scavenger Hunt!

Ariel's Film Formats and Preservation Overview: Print Resource Guide for TCMFF 2016

Aurora's Schedule and Coverage: #TCMFF 2016 - I Won't Be Passing the Time Playing Solitaire, Mrs. Iselin!

Chris' Hunt for the Falcon: Find the Falcon at TCMFF

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the fest this year.  Hope we have some screenings in common.

Monday, February 29, 2016

#CurateMyLife: Classic Film

After reading Aurora's post for the #CurateMyLife #ClassicMovies project I decided to attempt to tackle it as well.  I was also motivated because I had to do a major apartment clean-up for a small Oscar Party this weekend.  Anyway, be sure to check out Aurora's post and check out the #CurateMyLife blogathon which was created by Margaret Perry.

The deadline for the blogathon has extended through February 29th (Happy Leap Day!), which means I can partake.

While working on this post I kind of realized that my life and most definitely my classic movie life is split between my apartment in LA and my parent's house in NY, so my collection is a bit bi-coastal.  But, I'm going to try to just focus on the things I have in my apartment currently since those are the items I have chosen to have here in LA with me.  Here we go!

1. DVD/Blu ray Collection
My current collection covers a number of different shelves in my apartment and are organized in a few different ways.  The majority of the DVDs and Blu rays are simply alphabetized, yet separated one area for DVDs another for Blu ray in the tower shelves, however I recently attempted some categorizing.  This came about mostly because I had purchased more bookshelves.  The current categories include: Musicals, Hitchcock, My Top 30, Criterion, Disney, TCM releases, Holiday Films, Box Sets, and Film Franchises.

I honestly get a lot of flack about my collection from some of my friends and peers.  They are flabbergasted that anyone would, in this day and age, be actively building a physical media collection while so many movies are available digitally.  I get their point of view, but I'm a physical/tangible media kind of gal.  I like knowing that I have that access to a particular film without having to rely on the internet, a thumb drive or a cloud.  There are also so many titles that come and go from streaming services that I really appreciate the perceived permanency of DVDs and Blu rays.

2.  VHS Collection
I don't currently have any VHS titles in my apartment, I do still have a bit of a VHS collection in NY though.  I do have a VCR here though for VHS rentals.

3.  Favorite DVD/Blu ray
I am terrible when it comes to favorites, which is evidenced by my shelf of top 30 films, but those don't even include movies from my other categories, so with that preface, I guess if I had to pick my favorite DVD or Blu ray, I guess I would go with the Criterion edition of Charade because I love that movie so much and it was nice that it got a proper home video release, even though it's in public domain.  My other favorite is the Beatles movie Help! partially because I love it so much, but also because it was such a treat when it came out on DVD/Blu ray.

4. Favorite VHS
My most sentimental VHS tapes are the old clam shell Disney movies, they're not here with me, but I would say they're my faves.

5.  Classic Film Related Wall Art
This was one of the categories that got me super excited to do this project.  I love being able to display my Classic Film wall art and it makes me feel better when I see it.  I feel like Charlie Chaplin is greeting me when I come home from work.  I'll start with the amazing pieces from Dorothy, their stuff is so creative and really beautiful:

It's hard to tell from my not so great pictures, but they are a Film Map, a Hollywood Star Chart and a Love Star Chart.  The map is a street map of an area that could be LA which is made up of over 900 film titles including Sunset Blvd, Valley of the Dolls, Chinatown, and Gosford Park.  The Hollywood Star Chart is based on the sky over LA on October 6, 1927 and includes constellations of 62 films (chosen from the films selected for preservation by the National Film Preservation Registry) and their 'stars.'  The Love Star Chart is made up of 74 romantic films (from the BFI Love season) and is based on the sky over NY on November 26, 1942.  That ended up being long winded, but I love these prints!

Here are some other items all around my apartment, movie posters, cooking shots from classic films in the kitchen, and TCM-ness.

6.  Classic Film related household product (i.e. mug, dishtowel, picture frame, etc.
I don't have that many household classic film related products, so this may be a stretch, but I have some magnetics and mugs!

7. Classic Film Movie Ticket
I decided to go with my TCM Classic Film Festival Pass because those are essentially tickets to many wonderful Classic Films.
TCMFF passes from 2010-2014
2015 TCMFF Pass

8.  Picture of you and friends/family enjoying a classic movie experience
While looking for pictures for this section I noticed that I don't really take too many selfies or pictures of myself or the people with me at or before events.  I typically take pictures of the event, which in hindsight is a bit of a bummer.  I should be better about including pictures of the people with me at that time.

I also noticed that all of these pictures are from TCM events, I'm not surprised, just an interesting observation.  The top row is a picture of me and my dad is from last year's TCM Film Festival and a snapshot of my mom on the red carpet for the opening night screening of Cabaret.  The next row is a picture of me with my friend Tracy who stopped by Hollywood to talk to me while I waited in line for Singin' in the Rain at the first TCM Film Festival and me and my cousin at I can't remember what screening that was but it was at a TCM Film Fest and the final picture is me and my brother during the NYC TCM Classic Film Bus Tour.

9.  Picture of Fan Art
This is by far my favorite set of fan art, the drawings were done by the amazing artist Kate Gabrielle, you can check out here work here: Kate Gabrielle

What I like most is the difference in the style, yet each one is amazing (just a note: the 2 center-ish pictures are actual photos, not drawings by Kate).

10.  Classic Movie Related Souvenir
I don't think I have anything that fits this category.
11.  Object that once belonged to a Classic Film Star
Another category that I don't have anything for, but that would be awesome.

12.  Picture of yourself with a Classic Film Star
All of these are thanks in large part to TCM:

13.  Selfie from TCM Film Festival
Not big on selfies in general

14.  Selfie with Robert Osborne
Haven't been lucky to snag a selfie with Mr. Osborne, but I have spoken to him on a couple of occasions at the film festival.

15.  Classic Film Book Collection

16.  Favorite movie star biography/autobiography
I don't currently have a favorite biography or autobiography here in LA.  In fact, a large majority of my book collection is currently in NY.  I was always partial to biographies written by Charlotte Chandler and I think Ginger Roger's autobiography is my favorite.

17.  Misc. anything missing from this list that you feel is part of your classic film life.  Be Creative!
This might not be super creative, but in the last year or so I've started making these little montages, sometimes they're themed and sometimes they're not.  The first one I made was with actual 4X6 photos, which I arranged and fit together and then got laminated.  I then started creating them using different collage/montage programs like Picasa and Fotor.

This project was extremely enjoyable, it was a great opportunity to evaluate the items that I have decided to surround myself with and to think about the reasons why they're a part of my life.  And I think the conclusion, at least for me, is that these classic film items add something special to my life and just genuinely make me happy.

I think Margaret came up with a wonderful blogathon/hashtag and it's been a pleasure to participate.  Be sure to follow her and Curate My Life on Twitter and here is her blog with more information about the project: Margaret Perry

Sunday, January 3, 2016

AMIA 2015 Conference- Portland, OR

I had first heard about the AMIA annual conference at The Reel Thing, which was held August 20th-August 22nd 2015 in Los Angeles, CA.  The AMIA conference (November 18th-22nd, 2015) sounded like the perfect event for someone who was new to the Moving Image Archive field. At the time I didn’t know if I would be able to attend the event, but thanks to the generosity of CAIDP and UCLA, I was able to embark on a wonderful four day journey to Portland.

A common theme throughout the conference, for me, was copyright law and copyright issues facing archives and libraries.  These are issues that plague small archives, large archives and every archive in between.

My conference began with The Copyright 101 Workshop, which was presented by Andy Sellars from the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic.  It provided an amazing overview of what copyright is, who it impacts and how it is dealt with by archives all around the world.  The workshop was held all day Wednesday, November 18th.  The workshop covered everything from the history of copyright law, the first movie that was copyrighted (Fred Ott’s Sneeze), works in Public Domain, through who holds the rights to Pizza Rat.

Fred Ott's Sneeze 1894

By the end of the workshop I felt like I had a greater understanding of both the limitations of copyright law and some of the ways that archives can work within the parameters of the current laws.  It is still a tough issue and certainly continues to prevent unlimited access to archival holdings without compromising.  We also learned about a great resource, Creative Commons, which is a website that provides some education about copyright and provides access to some content that can be accessed.

For the next 3 days I attended numerous sessions that covered a great deal of information and introduced me to many different types of people and different types of archives.  I learned about the history of FIAF, the George Eastman House Nitrate Picture Show, and even got to see some wonderful screenings, just to name a few things.  I noticed that in the end the types of discussions and panels that I gravitated towards and enjoyed the most often related to the tackling of a project or a problem and how it was navigated.  This was the case for both the BFI panel and the Paramount Studios panels that I attended.

From BFI.org
The BFI panel: From Acquisition to Access at the BFI National Archive: Case Studies, was presented by, Helen Edmunds and Katrina Stokes.  What was so compelling about this presentation and this project was how committed the BFI is to encouraging people from all over the country to take part in this project.  This project is meant to help preserve British film heritage, as well as British history.  This means that they don’t just focus on produced films or studio films, but they are actively looking for home videos and amateur films.  Unfortunately, access to the BFI player and all of their material is not available in the US (an interesting copyright issue).

The Paramount Studios panel: 21st Century Film Preservation: A Case Study – Paramount Pictures was presented by, Andrea Kalas, Laura Thornburg, Nikki Jee, Sean Vilbert, and Charlotte Johnson.  This was a panel that covered a lot of information in what felt like a short period of time.  Each presenter discussed a different area of the preservation process, from the policy to determining which films were to be preserved first to the policy for data management storage.  It was very interesting to hear what it is like to tackle film preservation from a studio perspective.  Something that I found particularly interesting is that the driving force behind the preservation of many of the titles is not distribution.  Just because a film is preserved, it doesn’t mean that there are plans for home video distribution of the title.  Rather it is a means to preserve their “assets.”  This seemed like another obstacle concerning access, it seems like all archives, whether big or small still have some kind of hurdle when it comes to providing access to their holdings.

Overall, this was an extremely wonderful experience.  I feel like I learned a great deal about the current state of moving image archives and archivists.  The conference also provided a really nice atmosphere to socialize and engage with all different types of professionals.  I also got a deeper understanding for the wide variety of obstacles that many different archives face and how each of these archives overcome these obstacles.  I feel extremely lucky to have gotten the opportunity to attend this conference and look forward to implementing what I’ve learned and gained as I continue to navigate through this profession.

I also really enjoyed getting to see a new city.  I had never been to Portland before and I really enjoyed it.  There wasn't much downtime during the conference, but I took advantage of the breaks and got to explore the city, a little bit.  I walked myself over to Powell's Books, which was unbelievably amazing.  I had never seen such a haven for book lovers.  Unfortunately, they did not have the classic film books that I've been trying to hunt down for the last few years, they're still awesome.  I also had lunch a couple of times at some food trucks with my classmates.  It was a bit chilly, but still fun.

This conference was a really wonderful experience, it definitely took me out of my comfort zone (I tend to be a little shy), but it allowed me to interact with so many different types of people and learn so much about this amazing industry.  As I've been going through this career change I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "That's a job?"  "oh, so you'll just be organizing things?" "I didn't know films needed to be preserved," but going to this conference really helped me feel more comfortable and confident with this big career change.