It’s been a long time coming—since May of this year, in fact—but the extensive report on my adventures at the second annual Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, which took place in nearby Hollywood, is finally up and running. It’s called "My Favorite Film Festival of 2011: Alive and Well, in Love and War, at the TCM Classic Film Festival” and it can be found at the online culture magazine Slant, published there under the auspices of Keith Uhlich and The House Next Door, which has been a longtime force in the film blogosphere and is now the official blog of Slant magazine.
The title may be slightly deceptive, however— counting the various special programs at the New Beverly Cinema curated by special guests, the only festival I actually attended other than TCM were brief visits to the AFI Fest here in November and the Los Angeles Film Festival near the beginning of the summer. (As you may have ascertained, geography plays a huge role in my festival fun, as I am not very much part of even the intercontinental jet set.) But then again, when one has as many options in terms of the availability of classic movies on big screens as we continue to enjoy here in Los Angeles, despite the dire future projected for 35mm archival prints, it sometimes feels like every week brings with it its own festival, along with the hope that more people will avail themselves of the bounty and not take for granted its presence. (There are no guarantees, even—especially—regarding the permanence of film and the venues in which you can see it.)
So, apart from the attempt to set the piece’s content apart from matters of timeliness by billing it as an end-of-the-year report on my “favorite” film festival, it seems to me that it does work as an attempt to keep engaged the subject of seeing and appreciating classic films on the big screen, something that I think is always worth mentioning in one way or another. In that spirit I offer it to you now, with a qualification and some acknowledgments. The qualification takes the form of an apology, particularly to Keith Uhlich and Ed Gonzalez, chief editor at Slant, for my complete and utter tardiness which necessitated all the year-end positioning in the first place. As readers of SLIFR will have no doubt already observed, this past year has been the least prolific in the history of this blog (more on this in a post reserved for next week), and as with the writing here circumstances in life—the outside world, and the interior world of my creative brainscape-- made it a bit more difficult than usual to find the time, not to mention the words, to fulfill my pleasant obligation as regards reporting on the festival. I’m exceedingly glad, therefore, that I managed to wrestle it into some shape which seems to have pleased my editors, and I vow a much more prompt turnaround should they be so generous as to sponsor me again next year.
As for acknowledgments, in addition to Keith and Ed and their bright minds and friendly, encouraging demeanors, I wanted to give a shout-out to a few folks (some of which are mentioned in the piece as well) who really helped me have a joyous experience at the festival and, in the aftermath, really get it together vis-à-vis the whole writing thing. My sincere thanks to:
Ariel Schudson, student of film preservation and blogger extraordinaire at her site Sinamatic Salve-ation;
freelance writer, blogger and good pal Bob Westal;
Richard Harland Smith, fellow Horror Dad and resident genius at TCM’s Movie Morlocks;
classic film expert and all-around good guy Michael Schlesinger;
Carrie Specht, writer, director and headmaster at the Classic Film School;
Michael Torgan and Julia Marchese at the New Beverly Cinema;
and, whether or not she thinks she deserves it, Farran Smith Nehme, who I’m so happy to have gotten to know via our concurrent introduction into the blogosphere six years ago. As I said at the conclusion of the piece published at Slant, her continued influence and passion sets a shining example for all us lowly bloggers toiling in the shadow of paid professionalism; her singular wit, good humor, and genuine love and respect for the film classics of a bygone era provide me and so many others with the inspiration to truly appreciate and attempt to preserve, each in our own way, the treasures of our collective movie past.
And last but most certainly not least, thanks to my wife, Patty Yokoe Cozzalio, who put up with my absence during the days of the festival, continues to put up with even more absence during the rest of the year as I pursue the enjoyment of classic and contemporary film, and of course the time to write about it, and who lent her eagle eyes to the editing and proofing of this piece before I finally submitted it. I appreciate your effort and concern more than you’ll know, and I love you.
Now please go read the piece and even leave a comment if you care to—here or there. You might kill a tree in the process, but if you print it out you’ll have bathroom reading guaranteed to hold you over the span of several sit-downs, if you like the piece, and some extra TP if you don’t!
And if I don’t get a chance to say so between now and then, merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!