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TCM Classic Film Festival 2012

I was back in LA in April for the third annual TCM Classic Film Festival, watching another impressive line-up of movies that have stood the test of time with some of the cast and crew who made them.

Before I went I wrote about the 2011 Festival over on the Guardian Travel website (you can also read a round-up of last year’s coverage elsewhere on this blog), trying to explain why TCM is more than just a chance to watch films on the big screen.

I also covered the Festival for the Edinburgh Evening News once again, wondering if Edinburgh could take over from Hollywood before looking at the cinemas themselves in LA and San Francisco.

While I was in LA I caught over a dozen special screenings and met some fantastic people, many of whom have been viewers of the US TCM channel for many years. I’d been commissioned by Cinema Retro magazine to write a follow-up report of my festival, which was published in May.

Some of the people I met at 2011’s TCM were the team behind the excellent Cinementals blog, who allowed me to write about a film festival closer to home last week. The 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival will be screening a retrospective strand dedicated to Hollywood director Gregory La Cava and I interviewed EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara for the Cinementals.

Finally, I wanted to experiment with the iMovie app on my iPhone earlier in the week and decided to use some photos from TCM to do so. It’s not the best video you’ll see on the Festival but here’s the experiment

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Interview Online Twitter Writing

Return to the TCM Classic Film Festival

It was just under year ago that I wrote about my visit to the TCM Classic Film Festival, something of a mecca for classic film fans around the globe.

Guest appearances from Kirk Douglas, Warren Beatty, Peter O’Toole and Eva Marie Saint were just the icing on the cake of a four day event which saw some of the finest films ever made screened in the heart of Hollywood on LA’s most historic screens.

I enjoyed the Festival so much that I’ve decided to head back again next week, this time covering it for the esteemed classic film magazine, Cinema Retro, who have commissioned me to see as many films as possible in the alloted time.

This year the decisions are as difficult as they were in 2011, with screenings of Rio Bravo and The Pink Panther (introduced by Angie Dickinson and Robert Wagner respectively) clashing, while Casablanca is shown at the same time as the 50th Anniversary screening of Dr No.

You can see a list of the full line-up on the TCM website and there’s more from my interview with TCM host, Robert Osborne, on my classic film blog, Holyrood or Bust.

I’ll be tweeting about my trip and recording my thoughts for Cinema Retro while trying to arrange a few interviews along the way.

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Film Filming Online Writing YouTube

The future of film criticism is in the past

Being a classic film fan can be a lonely experience, one of those people who regularly scans the TV listings for 1am repeats of Clarence Brown films or documentaries about RKO.

This past year has found me immersed in cinema history, through my visit to the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF), my work running the Park Circus blog and my weekly Edinburgh Evening News column.

A few weeks ago I wrote in the paper about the arrival of Scorsese’s Hugo and new silent film, The Artist, both of which celebrate the early days of film, while on Thursday I noted the arrival of Edinburgh’s IMAX screen and the need to keep an eye on some of the smaller films in the city.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8K9AZcSQJE]

As I’ve discovered through working with Park Circus, the world is increasingly looking to the past for its entertainment, something I’m more than happy to be a part of.

I’ll be visiting the IMAX for Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol in a few weeks, and appreciate the need to promote quality new cinema via sites like my own www.reelscotland.com, but I also think it’s my responsibility to tell readers about our rich cinematic heritage, as I did back in September for the Evening News.

It’s also the reason I recently started another blog in the shape of Holyrood or Bust. With the huge volume of DVDs and Blu-rays currently being released, not to mention cinema re-releases and films such as The Artist, it’s a golden period for those wanting to write about classic film.

My most recent post was requested by a friend in New York, Will McKinley, who is a viewer and fan of the US TCM channel. Though I’m unable to watch the channel, I did become a convert to TCM during the TCMFF and used their recent Buster Keaton season to launch the site in October. This time, Will asked if I could write a post to celebrate the return of TCM host, Robert Osborne, to the screen after a short absence.

I obliged by using an excerpt from an interview I carried out with Osborne in LA earlier in the year:

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I’m now gearing up for a 2012 filled with even more classic films, including another trip to Bristol’s Slapstick Festival, the second Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema here in Scotland (see my video interview below), a return to Los Angeles and a few other projects that are in the early stages.

Through my work I’ve discovered a vibrant community of classic film fans it’s been a privilege to engage with them on various websites, via Twitter and, most importantly, in cinemas around the world.

Here’s to another classic year of film coverage in 2012.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W9MIKcPObSI]

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Film Filming Interview Online YouTube

Green with Envy in the Edinburgh Evening News

Kermit the Frog

Following my Muppet weekend back in April, when I was given the opportunity to interview Muppet producer Martin G Baker, I was also lucky enough to be allowed behind-the-scenes of The Jim Henson Company during my recent trip to Los Angeles.

Although I did film the tour I sadly wasn’t allowed to upload it to my YouTube channel, but my exterior shots of the building are on Flickr.

This week, as a reaction to the release of a new trailer for the next Muppet movie, cunningly disguised as a romantic comedy, I wrote about Green with Envy for today’s Edinburgh Evening News column. Although The Muppets is out in the US in November, it won’t be seen in the UK until February 2012, something I reacted to on my TV blog, adventuresinprimetime.com with an open letter to Jason Segel.

Jason’s still not been in touch, but I’d still like to see the film before 2012 so if anyone needs some coverage of the film’s US premiere from a UK perspective, perhaps with some red carpet video interviews, I’m free for commission.

In the meantime, here’s that trailer for Green with Envy that’s been garnering so much attention:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CloKbXtD28&feature=channel_video_title]

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Filming Interview Online Writing YouTube

TCM Classic Film Festival 2011

Travelling 5,000 miles to watch a few films isn’t something I thought I’d be doing at the start of the year when I made a resolution to watch more classic movies, but with the second TCM Classic Film Festival taking place in Hollywood, I didn’t have much choice.

Running from 28 April – 1 May 2011, the event was a chance for fans of the US TV channel, TCM, to congregate and watch films on the big screen rather than the small, with around 70 shown over the four-day period at some of Hollywood’s finest venues.

I was there covering the event for the Edinburgh Evening News, filing two of my weekly columns from LA. The first covered a tour I’d arranged with author John Bengtson, who showed me around the haunts of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin for a new YouTube video.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhwjB9d9pUo]

The second column was an overview of the event, comparing it where possible to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, which looks to be changing so radically this year that simply showing films in cinemas is to be eschewed for quirky locations, along the lines of the Edinburgh Fringe. An extended blog version of the column also went live during the event.

My third and final Evening News column featuring the TCM Festival was on a panel discussion which took place between studio executive Peter Guber and director Brett Ratner. They discussed the art of the movie sequel and it was a good way to show that the Festival didn’t just stick to covering older films.

Between columns I managed to interview the host of TCM, Robert Osborne, for my Evening News blog and take to the red carpet on opening night to film interviews with Shaft’s Richard Roundtree and The Trouble with Harry’s Jerry Mathers (also the star of infamous US sitcom, Leave it to Beaver). The full set of videos can be found on YouTube.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxL4SGdYW9E]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsF7rSDG5tc]

Coverage of something as big as TCM wouldn’t have been complete without a constant flow of my tweets from the event, filling in the blanks of my other coverage while promoting the Festival to an even wider global audience.

Here are a few:

During the event I made some excellent contacts and some new friends, gaining a greater appreciation for how film festivals are held outside the UK. I’m hoping to attend more this year, using multimedia to cover the various opportunities open to journalists today – suggestions are welcome for new ways to cover traditional topics and events.