TCMFF is more physically demanding than I expected.
As I was leaving the airport to come home, there were some employees standing near the entrance to the baggage claim area saying things like, “Have a nice day!” and “Enjoy your visit!” to people as they left. Not me, though. When I walked by, they said, “You’re almost there, you can make it!” I’m sure I did look pretty exhausted by that point. I was coming right off a very long day at the festival, I was running on very little sleep, my shoe was starting to bother me and I was just ready to go home.
I knew the days would be long, but since I’m a person who likes walking and I generally walk a few hundred miles a year, I thought spending a few days running around within just a few blocks of Los Angeles should be no problem for me. Hahahahaha….no. Maybe it would have been easy under normal circumstances where I’m eating normally, not jetlagged and not spending over 12 hours a day in theaters. But I can’t wait to do it again.
The quality of prints were consistently very good.
During press day, Genevieve McGillicuddy and Charles Tabesh said that one of the biggest challenges of programming a festival like this is finding prints in acceptable quality. Once the festival got started, I quickly appreciated how much effort they put into finding good prints. The movies I saw were an even mix of digital and 35mm and they were all consistently very good, and in some cases, pristine. The lowest quality print I saw was National Velvet, but that’s completely forgivable considering it was a last minute addition.
The midnight movie selections were perfect.
Reactions to Eraserhead were generally…confused, but there’s no denying that Eraserhead and Freaks are two of the ultimate midnight movies.
You won’t be able to do it all, but what you will do will be amazing.
TCMFF is a bit like having your own On The Town type experience. Only instead of having one day to do everything you want, you have four days and there will probably be at least two things happening at any given time that you’d love to be doing. (And that’s only if you come strictly for the festival events. If there are other things you want to see and do around town, I recommend either coming a day or two early or staying after the festival.) I went into the festival with my list of movies and events to go to, but I also went into it expecting those plans to change at any time. And they did change, but I’m not sorry they changed, either.
I would have loved to have seen Maureen O’Hara, Jerry Lewis, and Quincy Jones in person, but the things I went to instead of those events and screenings were things I enjoyed so much that if I had it to do all over again, I would have made the exact same choices. I realize that if I had gone to the Quincy Jones conversation on Friday like I originally planned to, I probably would have ended up missing either Why Worry? or Employees’ Entrance, and since both of those were highlights of the festival for me, I have no regrets.
The festival may be over, but I still have movies to watch.
Since it simply wasn’t possible to see everything, I came home with Fifth Avenue Girl, Sorcerer, On Approval, Written on the Wind and Hat Check Girl on my list of movies I need to see.
The people are as exciting as the movies.
If you’ve been following other bloggers’ coverage of TCMFF, you’ve read a lot of people saying how appropriate it is that the theme for this year’s festival was “Family: The Ties That Bind” because there is a very strong sense of family among attendees. At the risk of sounding clichéd, they’re all absolutely correct about that.
This was my first time attending the festival and even though I knew many people who were going to be there, it was also my first time getting to meet them in person. Despite the fact that I’ve known some of these people for years, there was still a small part of me that was a little worried that it would be totally weird to spend a few days going up to people and saying, “Hey, I know you from the Internet!”
Once I got there and started seeing people, I realized I had nothing to worry about. Excitement kicks in before you even have time to think of it as being potentially weird. And after all, they know me from the Internet too and it’s fun for everybody be able to put a voice and a face to the blogs they read. No awkwardness, just an instant sense of camaraderie. Even in cases where I had read a person’s writing but never personally knew the person behind the blog, it was still like running into an old friend. I flew out there by myself, but once I got there, there was never a moment where I felt like I was alone. Getting to spend a few days surrounded by so many friends in this classic film utopia was one of the most completely joyous experiences I’ve ever had.