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.

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.

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.

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