Sunday, May 8, 2016

TCM Classic Film Festival: Day #6 Recap

Raquel Stecher at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival
Raquel at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival
By Sunday morning I was really exhausted. I always try to keep my Sunday TCMFF schedule pretty light to conserve my energy. By the end of the festival I was also sick of festival-goers misbehaving. Smelly people leaning on me, people using their tablets, phones and cameras in disruptive ways, seat kicking, post-interview evacuations and rude people trying to save front row seats at Club TCM. Knowing that the Spotlight and Essential passes sold out in 14 minutes, it's inevitable that more aggressive types make it to the festival.  There seemed to be more VIPs this year too which made for some uncomfortable situations. There is already a bit of a class system at TCMFF but it was more prominent this year than previous years. With all that said, it's really difficult to complain when this was the best festival of the four I attended. I had been very lucky this time around. And best of all, I didn't get sick!

I sacrificed going to Holiday in Spain at the Cinerama Dome (shown with Smell-O-Vision!) to have breakfast with by Robby of Dear Old Hollywood and his lovely family. 

Me and Carlos with Robby, Zinnia and their daughters

Then I met Noralil and Marya of TCM and Jessica of Comet Over Hollywood for a chat. This social time was worth sacrificing a few screenings. The biggest draw of TCMFF for me is the opportunity to socialize with friends who share my passion for classic film and live far away from me. This is my one chance to see them.

Jessica, me, Noralil and Marya

The first event I went to was The Art of the Film Score: Creating Memories in the Movies presented by composer Michael Giacchino. I won't lie. I went to this as an excuse to camp out at Club TCM for a good seat for Conversation with Gina Lollobrigida which was immediately after. It proved to be a really good presentation and I'm glad I attended. I know next to nothing about music in film so it was definitely an education. It was interesting to learn how music can alter an audience's reaction to particular scenes.

Club TCM in the Blossom Room

After several issues getting seats for the Conversation with Gina Lollobrigida, I managed to get a spot. I should have stood towards the back because the seating area was not ideal. If you weren't towards the front, you couldn't see Lollobrigida at all. I hope TCM considers elevating the stage so more people can see. Lollobrigida is a fascinating woman and Leonard Maltin's interview with her did not disappoint. More on that soon.

Gina Lollobrigida showing us her portraits of Fidel Castro

I was going to see The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966) but didn't feel like sitting in a crowded theater. I opted instead for a meal at the historic Pig N Whistle restaurant and spent some time at Larry Edmunds Bookshop chatting with the Jeff and Sean.

 I met Jill and her friend Sean in front of the Egyptian before the screening of Network (1976). I got to spend much more time with Jill this year and for that I'm truly grateful. I also met up with Angela, Jessica and some others (sorry if I forgot you!). I was telling folks how Robert Mitchum's grandson Bentley once told me that my husband Carlos looked like Kevin Spacey. Ever since then I cannot unsee the resemblance. Jessica took this funny Snapchat while we were waiting to get in. It was inspired by my comment and my series "Carlos hates Snapchat".

Snapchat by Jessica

Next up was Network (1976) with special guest Faye Dunaway. When Burt Reynolds couldn't make it to the festival, TCM recovered well by adding Dunaway to the roster. I was already planning to see Network so having Dunaway there was icing on the cake. Ben Mankiewicz interviewed her before the screening before an almost packed house. I was surprised how many laughs the film got. I've always been more traumatized than amused by this movie. Some see it as a dark comedy, others as an eery prediction of things to come. I probably won't do an in-depth post on this one because I have so many other posts to work on. But if I find some time and energy to do so I'll report back here.

Ben Mankiewicz and Faye Dunaway at the TCM Classic Film Festival
Ben Mankiewicz and Faye Dunaway in conversation TCMFF

After Network, we headed to Club TCM for the Closing Night party which is always bitter sweet. I had a couple of expensive glasses of whiskey and got a bit tipsy. I apologize if I said anything weird to you at the party. I spent a lot of time during the festival being Kate Gabrielle's make-shift publicist. I talked her up to anyone who would listen. Some folks called her the button girl and I was quick to explain to them that Kate is a very talented artist and she does more than just buttons. Many folks were interested in learning more about her art and said they would check out her website. I hope I drove some future business her way.

My TCMFF bestie Jessica, Ben Mankiewicz, me and my second glass of whiskey

I finally got to officially meet Ben Mankiewicz! I showed him my Ben Mankiewicz Fan Club button and told him that Kate Gabrielle created them. Jessica and I got our picture taken with him (many thanks to Marya for the photo!). Ben is a really sweet guy. Very down-to-earth and friendly. I always try to say hi to him at the festival when I can.

After having lots of great but short conversations at Club TCM we were all booted out to make room for TCM's exclusive staff party. A bunch of us made our way to the In-N-Out burger a few blocks away. This was great. I had a long conversation with Kate about foreign film and we all took this epic selfie thanks to Kate's selfie-stick.

Kate, Sabina, Angela, Raquel, Danny Jessica, Kristen,
Lindsay, Nikki, Millie, Pete, Carlos, Jill, Casey, KC, Kim and Matt
 My husband Carlos ended up being our social coordinator that evening. That's a role usually relegated to me but he stepped in when I was too tipsy to know what was going on. He helped corral us all to go to In-N-Out, saved us seats so we could sit together and helped orchestrate the group selfie. Thank you hun! Carlos has a fabulous time at TCMFF every year and he loves hanging out with my friends. They seem to like him too.

I was sad to leave my friends and I had a good cry in our hotel room afterwards. I love you all. Until next year!

On the Monday after the festival, Carlos and I went with Laura and her husband Doug to visit Matt
and Dan of Warner Archive. We had a nice lunch and the conversation was not nearly long enough. I could have spent hours basking in the warmth of the California sunshine talking about movie business.

Carlos, Raquel, Matt, Dan, Laura and Doug
I hope you enjoyed my TCM Classic Film Festival recaps. Please stay tuned for more festival coverage.

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