Third time, lots of charm: The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival

IMG-4856I can’t believe this year marked my third visit to the TCM Classic Film Festival. Can I say I’m a veteran now? I’m not so sure but it doesn’t matter because as always, it did not disappoint. Just when I think TCM can’t get any better, they outdo themselves.

This year was the 10th anniversary of the festival and the 25th for the network. These milestones added an extra level of excitement and glee to the whole event. Passholders walked around with 10-timer ribbons, buttons in honor of Robert Osborne, t-shirts with their favorite film stars, you name it. The spirit of old Hollywood was a live and well on the streets of Hollywood Boulevard.


This year I was honored to take part in the TCM Ambassador program along with several other fans to create content for social media channels. It was a unique experience to work with the marketing team and get to know them a bit better. The Ambassador program is similar to the social media producer program they had a few years ago and I really appreciate TCM’s openness to input from fans, you truly feel like a part of the network.

Team Aurora

There were many highlights for me during this trip but the most special was the screening of Sleeping Beauty with two of the original animators in attendance. When it comes to technology, we’ve come so far from when that film was made so to see hand drawn animation on screen with two people instrumental in bringing it to life was really neat. The film was Jane Shattuck-Takamoto-Baer and Floyd Norman’s first jobs and in their voices, you can hear their pride for their work. Sleeping Beauty marked the end of hand drawn animation and Norman discussed the colossal resources that were given. Baer and Norman are so proud of their places in Disney history. The two said despite what people have heard of Walt Disney, they were hired for their talents and treated with the utmost respect. The two also agreed that Walt Disney Studios was a pioneer in hiring women and POC talent.

Pardon me, it’s Miss Angie Dickinson

One of the great thrills of the TCM Classic Film Festival is getting to hear from your favorite stars. This year Angie Dickinson was in attendance and I knew I had to be there at her introduction to Ocean’s 11. I always thought Angie Dickinson was cool but seeing her in person confirmed it. The leading lady strutted onto the poolside stage in platform heels and a black beret with a youthful swagger that reminded me her 87 years are just only numbers. She was so candid and had a great rapport with Ben Mankiewicz, I wanted to see a show with these two watching her films.

Blinded by the Goldblum!

Weirdly when it comes to movie crushes, Jeff Goldblum is one of my earliest. I thought he was so funny and cool in Jurassic Park when I was 11. He’s only aged well in the ensuing years and is now the internet’s boyfriend. The weekend before TCMFF, I had my bachelorette party and Jeff Goldblum was part of the decor (G-rated, if you’re asking). On Twitter, Niki over at The Way We Watch and I bonded over our mutual love of Goldblum and even discovered we owned the same Jeff shirts. We didn’t know each other but ended up being the first two people in line and had the best time. We, along with Erin of Miss Honey Hale and Julia of Cinema Crossroads, were so giddy and excited about his introduction to Nashville that the few hours we waited flew by.

Goldblum was joined by Keith Carradine, Ronee Blakley and Joan Tewkesbury. During the panel, I was entranced by Goldblum but also admiring of what a gentleman he is. The movie meant a lot to Blakley and he gave her such support as she spoke about her experiences its production. The film is one of Goldblum’s earliest roles and he was so funny explaining his weird role and how he got it.

After the discussion was over, the four of us bolted out of the theater waiting to see if we’d catch a glimpse of him on the way out. We waited for a bit and had about lost all hope…until we saw Keith Carradine walked by without anyone and then we knew Goldblum had to be behind him and lo and behold.. HE WAS! Goldblum had handlers with him and we truly were at a loss for words. I think we ended up screaming gibberish but he turned around and waved hi before being whisked away. The moment is so surreal and hilarious. I’m not doing it justice but it’s something I’ll always remember.

Keisha (@cinemacities) captured the moment he waved goodbye to us and our screams.

“You guys are the hardcore nerds!”

Another super fun screening was the Peter Lorre classic Mad Love introduced by Bill Hader. Hader is one of my favorite comedians and his impressions of Peter Lorre and Vincent Price are two of my favorites so I knew I just had to be at this screening. Anyone who is a fan of Hader knows just how much of a fan he is of classic movies and TCM. Hader is a friend of the network who hosted Essentials Jr. and also contributed to spots on the now deceased FilmStruck streaming service. In the final month of FilmStruck, Hader famously pleaded for people to save it when he accepted an award calling FilmStruck, “his favorite thing ever.”

When Hader got up to the stage he introduced us as ‘the hardcore nerds’ to be watching a black and white horror movie at 9:30 a.m. He was so giddy about his love for the film during the intro, even doing his Lorre impression to boot. After he introduced the film, he sat with his daughter to watch it.

Stars, they’re just like us!

I’d like to thank everyone involved in putting on the TCM Classic Film Festival. I can’t imagine just how much work goes into putting it on but it was yet again an unforgettable experience and I can’t wait to attend again.

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