Tuesday, March 31, 2015

TCMFF – Initial Wrapup

Gathering my thoughts quickly on my way home from the TCM Clasic Film Festival (TCMFF), it's little hard to even put coherent words together. Possibly, this is an indication that I'm trying to do this too soon. I think I'll just cover a few highlights.

Jasmine and me
Probably the biggest highlight was having my 15-year-old daughter Jasmine along and getting to experience the TCMFF with her and see the films through her eyes. Everyone's reaction to her was so positive. I got literally dozens of compliments, how smart or cool or funny or pretty she was. She made me very proud. I kind of expected as much. She's a really good kid, but she did by far surpass any expectations I had of her.

Related to that, both of us were a working as TCM Social Media Producers at TCMFF. According to the TCM folks, the program was a huge success. #TCMFF was trending on twitter, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and we like think that what we were doing helped push that along.  Primarily, as Social Media Producers, we were doing a video blog called Reverse Angle, where we turn the camera around an point it at the people attending TCMFF. I made a playlist of all of the  #tcmff Reverse Angle videos.  It was a blast. There's a sense of comradery you have with the people you're working with and feeling you're helping in a small way to make something big and wonderful a little bit better.

The best thing Wednesday was getting to go to pre-TCMFF press conference. I think my favorite moment was one thing that Ben Mankiewicz (@BenMank77) said. The question was about how the people on the panel got their jobs at TCM. Ben explained that he had been doing a news show. He said that when he did that show, he interviewed lots of famous people, but he never became friends with any of them until he got to TCM.

Too Late For Tears was awesome and a complete blast to see with an audience. It's very rare that you see a film where the main character has virtually no redeeming qualities. I was in the Roosevelt bar late Thursday, and @CineMava said something brilliant about the film. I'm paraphrasing but the gist was that anytime you have someone so crazy they make Dan Duryea back down, that's pretty crazy.

It's hard to pick any one of the screenings over the others, so I'm going to make this one be about me. Last year I had planned to get a white dinner jacket for TCMFF, but I couldn't find one that fit me properly, at least, not at a price I wanted to pay. This year I broke down and bought a new one. The original plan was to wear it opening night, but when they announced the schedule and had On Her Majesty's Secret Service playing late Friday night, it seemed like a no brainer to wear it then. So my favorite thing from Friday was having two different groups of people pull me off my stool in the Roosevelt bar late that night to take a picture with me.

Norman Lloyd makes a point in his interview. Photographer: 
Edward M. Pio Roda. TM & © 2015 Turner Classic Movies. 
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. Used 
with permission.
A Conversation With Norman Lloyd was amazing. He was so sharp and told the coolest stories. What I found amazing was that he would go off on tangents and still remember to come back to the original question, something I can't even do at 52. When Ben Mankiewicz introduced him, he said that he had known Norman Lloyd for 4 years, which meant that he had known him for 4% of his life. He told stories about everything from Hitchcock to Orson Wells to Denzel Washington to Chaplin to working with a Jamaican rapper on Trainwreck, coming out in July. The absolute favorites were his story about going to the 1926 World Series and when he pantomimed the fall from the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur.

Rebel Without a Cause was great and really caught me off guard with the emotions it brought up. Jasmine loved it as well. Her job as half of our Social Media Producer team was to do reviews of all the films we saw on twitter in addition to doing the camera on the Reverse Angle videos I was doing. This was her review of Rebel Without a Cause:

Let's get one thing straight I'm not crying, I'm sweating from my eyes

This was the one tweet that the official TCM Film Festival twitter feed retweeted. If you want to read more of Jasmine's reviews, https://twitter.com/hashtag/tcmff15yo will show the top ones and a link at the bottom will show you all of them.

Late Saturday, we were waiting in line for Return of the Dream Machine: Hand-Cranked Films from 1902-1913, and Jasmine said something along the lines of this was going to be all over tomorrow night, and she didn't want it to end. So not only did Jasmine have a good time, but she was with it enough to anticipate the inevitable TCMFF postpartum blues. I thought she's one of us, which of course caused me to chant, Gooble gobble, gooble gobble, one of us, one of us...." This freaked her out despite her never having seen Tod Browning's film, Freaks.

There was something that Eddie Muller of The Film Noir Foundation said in his introduction of Nightmare Alley. I'm paraphrasing, but he said that you shouldn't look down on people who haven't seen a film you think they should have. Just be happy for them that they get to see it for the first time.

Then the closing night party was a blast. It's nice being able to wind down and geek out with your old movie friends about all the great stuff that just happened.

There is one thing on Monday that sticks out. We were taking the train back home to San Diego. LA to San Diego on the train is not an expensive trip, and it's only about twenty dollars to upgrade to Business class. In Union Station, they have a Business class lounge, so we went upstairs to relax for the hour or so before our train left. When it was time to board our train, they asked if we wanted a red cap to take us to the train. I decided it was worth the cost of a tip, partly out of laziness, but mostly because of its association with North By Northwest.


  1. Chris - it is a memory you and your daughter will treasure forever, attending the 2015 TCMFF together. She seems astute enough to have the post-festival blues ( and to be freaked by your "Gooble gobble..." line, not having even SEEN the movie. Shows how relevant "Freaks" IS all these years later. And she IS a pretty girl - get ready Poppa Bear. )

    I regret not seeing Norman Lloyd speak - THAT's almost worth the whole trip the wealth of tales he must have. And it's nice to read that "Rebel..." effected you as it probably did all those teenagers back in the 50's. James Dean. Boy, he had something.

    I was there for your tuxedo shots with those young folks and am sorry it didn't occur to me to take a pix with Sturham, Chris Sturham. ( Dang! )

    Nice wrap-up. And thank you for quoting me. I now feel famous and will quote that you quoted me.

  2. Aww, that's nice. I will be back next year with the white dinner jacket. You'll get your chance. Heck, I might not travel without it ever again. It was great having Jasmine along, and Poppa Bear is definitely not ready. Fortunately, I seem to be pretty intimidating to the boys she knows without half trying, so at least I have that working for me.

  3. :-) Poppa!!!! ( Good! Saves wear and tear on the knuckles! :-)