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Tag: TCM

May 5, 2016 Posted by admin in General

#154: Exploring the Hidden Gems of the TCM Classic Film Festival with Will McKinley

tcmff class pictureOnce again, it is that time of the year where we focus on classic film in honor of the TCM Classic Film Festival, which has been hitting Hollywood, California in a big way every Spring since 2010. (Incidentally, I'm proud to say that our own Horrible Imaginings Film Festival shares its birth year with TCM Classic Film Festival--what amazing company!) As a film fanatic with a keen interest in film history, the TCM Classic Film Festival is an almost religious experience, and every year I decide to give the pure horror aspects of the podcast a break in favor of reflecting on the unique experiences afforded at this festival. The beautiful thing is that the programming there is so varied that I do always get to praise some of their obscure or cult film choices.


And speaking of obscure choices, that is what I decided my main focus would be--the hidden gems of the TCM Classic Film Festival, particularly the "Discovery" films and the little-known films that get shown in the smallest of the venues at the festival: the Chinese multiplex's House Four. Many of us at the festival call House Four our regular home, and I got another House Four regular to discuss this year's festival with me. He has been on the podcast many times, and he probably needs no introduction for many of you. His blog Cinematically Insane is a staple for #OldMovieWeirdos everywhere--I speak of course of Will McKinley. Together we discuss:

1. The role that traditional 35mm film formats play at the festival, and the role we would like it to keep playing
2. What is House Four, and what kinds of films show there
3. What are the "Discovery" films?
4. What films had the greatest impact on us
5. Why choose obscure films
6. The challenges and brilliance of creating the TCMFF program
7. The differences between preservation and restoration
8. What makes a good restoration
9. Film love vs. Film snobbery
10. What some people misunderstand about TCM, and how we set them straight
11. The Vitaphone 90th Anniversary presentation
12. The midnight movies (Roar and Gog in 3D with a new restoration)
13. What kinds of movies we hope to see in the future
14. The new TCM Backlot Fan Club

So much great content in this episode. I am extremely proud of it, but really how could we not have so much to talk about after TCM put on such a memorable event? Again? As an added bonus, here are pictures of the amazing projector rig especially built to project a rare 16mm print of a Taiwanese martial arts film during the San Diego Asian Film Fest's Spring Showcase, as discussed in the episode:

16mm rig

Also, as promised in the episode, here is the Vitaphone short of Shaw and Lee's Vaudeville act "The Beau Brummels." Hilarious!

Now Listen to the Episode Here:

June 25, 2015 Posted by admin in General

Turner Classic Movies, how much do I love thee?


It's like Cinematically Insane and #OldMovieWeirdo Will McKinley said, "TCM is a corporation and a for-profit corporation, but as for-profit corporations go, they're pretty good people." This is something that, as a TCM watcher, I have always felt to be true. I mean, they are on a regular cable network, but have always run their films uncut and commercial free, choosing to not only exhibit the films in the best possible formats, but also to have various TV spots about film format, film exhibition, film history, you name it. TCM was, for me and for many of my peers, a true film school. There is a lot more to all of that than profiteering, and to be sure they lose a lot of revenue by not having ads. All that said, if I had any doubts about the sincerity of TCM's mission to share and celebrate the entire spectrum of film history, those doubts were dispelled a few days ago when the good people at that fine network informed us that they would support our efforts to renovate our local independent cinema. Not only with permission to screen their network on the big screen for 24 hours, but with social media outreach and, to our incredulous joy and generosity, with the offer to match any funds we were able to raise, up to $5,000!

teen producers club

Ok, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, but there is no understating my elation, and the fundraising has just begun. Many of you may not live in San Diego, so let me talk for a second about our Media Arts Center and their Digital Gym Cinema. I know, those names are bit esoteric (particularly the one for the cinema), so let me lay down what they do a bit. For the last 22 years, the Media Arts Center has been an integral part of a high-needs community in San Diego, offering affordable film classes, media summer camps, a Teen Producers Club, and other fantastic film, video, and other media-based community outreach programs to our city. They also are the non-profit organization behind our San Diego Latino Film Festival, which has grown significantly over the last two decades and celebrates one of the largest ethnic communities in San Diego.


The Digital Gym Cinema was created by Media Arts Center San Diego in order to answer the complete dearth of independent cinema venues in San Diego. I can't stress this enough. The closest cinemas we had before were The Ken, The Hillcrest, and the La Jolla Cinemas, but all are owned by Landmark. I don't want to badmouth Landmark at all because I think they are fantastic, but they have their own programming and leave little time for repertory and special programming. They also show films on the especially high end of what can truly be called "independent." Digital Gym Cinema gave us that venue--gave us a place where we can show very independent films with thoughtful curation and discussion. Gave us a place where we can program classic film or themed series or book signings or so many other great and enlightening events. It's a desperately needed location, but it is very expensive to maintain and, worst of all, it doesn't look at all like a cinema so most people in the city have no idea it exists! A marquee would go a long way toward giving it the cinema look and feel so people in the neighborhood can know it is even there.


The marquee is just one piece, but it is a huge one, and it is expensive. My film programming partner Beth and I are extremely passionate about film and film exhibition, and we very much need this theater to stay open. For that reason, we have decided to fundraise for the marquee. The current "Summer of Darkness' programming on TCM seemed like a great thing to fundraise in conjunction with, partly because we love films noir, but also because of how TCM has structured the festival. Every Friday they run 24 hours of films noir, veritable marathons. Hey, people run marathons all the time for pledge money--maybe we can have a marathon of films for pledge money! That's what we decided, and we just needed TCM's approval. As you've already read, they gave that approval in spades.


So what do you need to know? Well, fundraising has begun on IndieGoGo! Every dollar anyone gives will be matched by TCM up to $5000! That means a potential 10K for the theater AND that every one of your dollars will be worth 2! The actual marathon will be during July 3rd's "Summer of Darkness" event on TCM. We are locking ourselves in the theater starting at 3:30am PST on that date. We won't finish until around the following 3:30am, losing sleep and possibly sanity in the best possible way. All in the name of helping our theater. We WILL be livetweeting the whole thing using the hashtags #TCMParty and #NoirSummer. We WILL be livestreaming the whole thing, so you can watch us as we slowly lose our minds. If you live in San Diego, feel free to join us when the building is in normal operating hours, but we are specifically inviting people for the 11:30am screening of 1949's "The Bribe" and the 9:45pm screening of 1949's "The Window." Admission will be free and we will be loopy. Our sustenance will be sponsored by Pizzeria Luigi, Bread and Cie, Trails Eatery, and Lightning Brewery. We still need a coffee sponsor!

Please blog about this, podcast about this, tweet about this, and most of all--JOIN US on July 3rd! Turn on TCM and enjoy some of the greatest American films ever made! Help us get that goal! Follow me on Twitter @HIFFSD and follow Beth Accomando on Twitter at @cinebeth! Watching noir for a cause, see!

May 27, 2015 Posted by admin in General

#138: Into the Darkness! Preparing for TCM's Investigating Film Noir Class!

Out of the PastHow excited are we? Turner Classic Movies is collaborating with Ball State University to offer an online course on film noir! It is free to everyone! Subscribers and non-subscribers alike! Internationally! To coincide with their INSANE "Summer of Darkness" programming (I mean, just LOOK at this)! Ok, I know I am rambling here because I am enrolled and ready to take this class! Not only that, we will be analyzing and reflecting on the class here on the podcast! Starting with this episode.

Over the course of at least three episodes, we will reflect on "Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir" BEFORE the class, DURING the class, and AFTER the class is over. This episode is our Before edition, and our anticipation is enhanced by a number of guests!

First of all, my friend, #TCMParty tweeter, and sometime collaborator Will McKinley will join me in this series as a classmate. You can catch him on Twitter @WillMcKinley and read his blog Cinematically Insane.

Turner Classic Movies's Director of Marketing & Editorial Shannon Clute will also be joining us to give us TCM's perspective on the upcoming class and "Summer of Darkness" Festival. You canDark Passage read his writings many places, including TCM's Movie Morlocks Blog.

How could we discuss the upcoming class without the instructor? That's right, we are also joined by Richard Edwards, the man behind the virtual lectern! Rich is the Executive Director of iLearn Research at Ball State University, heading up the group that researches and builds innovative courses that incorporate social networking, online collaboration, open access, digital storytelling, virtual worlds, and active learning. You can follow Rich on Twitter @redwards7

Some of you Film Noir fiends may also know Shannon and Rich as the co-hosts of the podcast "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir," which has been around for a decade now, as well as some of their other podcasts. You can find their archive over at They have also written a book about Film Noir together called "The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism," which you can get here!

The Maltese Touch of Evil

In today's episode, we discuss:

1. The original concept of TCM collaborating with Ball State University to offer a free course on Film Noir. Was this possible even a decade ago?

2. When the educational component was incorporated into the "Summer of Darkness" Festival.

3. How the podcast "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" led to such a unique class.

4. What enrollment is like, and what people can plan to get from the class.

5. What Film Noir has to offer, in general.

6. Working with TCM to build a class around the "Summer of Darkness."

7. The various video, social, and other components of the class.

8. Important Film Noir titles.

9. Possible future classes?

10. Will and I discuss why participation in this is so important.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @HIFFSD, and remember to stay scared!


April 2, 2015 Posted by admin in General

#133: TCM's Noralil Fores On Bringing Classic Film Into the 21st Century

Hello everyone! This is my final podcast from the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival from Hollywood. It has been an incredible experience at my third year of TCM Film Fest, not the least because of the wonderful people I've had the privilege of meeting and befriending along the way! You can hear me talk to many of those friends in my other podcasts, which you can listen to here: 



In today's episode, I talk to another person I'm happy to call my friend. Her name is Noralil Fores, and she is the social media coordinator for Turner Classic Movies. She has been instrumental in the top notch TCM has done at building relationships with their fans. She has also been wonderful in helping our podcast get access to the TCM Film Festival! 

Because TCM has been so wonderful with social media, I decided to talk to Noralil about the role that plays in bringing classic film to a newer and younger 21st century audience. Our conversation was awesome, and I know you will all enjoy it so much! That about take care of my #TCMFF podcast block for this year. I'm already counting the seconds until next year! 


#131: TCM Classic Film Festival 2015 Wrap Up!

I am feeling a little like Clint Eastwood in the Good, the Bad, and The Ugly after Eli Wallach has dragged him through the desert, only, instead of being sleep and food deprived from that ordeal I feel exhausted from the sheer rapture that was the 2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Just as with last year's wonderful event, I have a podcast wrap up here for you. Don't forget, though, to check out my other TCMFF-inspired episodes that just went online. One is about the 1940 scifi classic Dr. Cyclops and the other is a look at race representation in film using pre-code films as a social benchmark. That last one is part of the Pre-Code Blogathon that is being put on by Shadows and Satin, as well as

tcm logo


And now for what you'll find in episode 131! I got a small collection of memories from a number of my #TCMParty fans. You can learn more about that group in the episode, but the people you will hear from include:



@NitrateDiva (follow her blog)





Click on the links to follow them on Twitter. They are all great! At the same party, I was joined by @WillMcKinley to discuss his various thoughts about the 2015 festival. Will has several unique perspectives that are worth listening to. Follow him too, and do yourself a favor and read his blog Cinematically Insane.

The last part of the episode is a discussion I have with KPBS Arts and Culture reporter Beth Accomando, @Cinebeth on Twitter, who writes the Cinema Junkie blog, as well as our friend Bill about the films we watched. It is our personal wrap-up that we do in the car on the sad drive from Hollywood to San Diego. My hope is that you will use our conversation to discover some classic films. They may be old, but if you haven't seen them before they are new! Keep listening to the show--more classic film goodness to come!


Reminder! Horrible Imaginings Director Miguel Rodriguez On TCM Tomorrow!

Set your TVs to TCM Tomorrow for the First Fan Favorites Programming!

Hello everyone! Just a reminder to tune into the only television channel that really matters--Turner Classic Movies--tomorrow starting at 12:30pm EST/ 9:30pm PST for the first ever Fan Favorites programming block. TCM, ever the gracious and fan friendly network, is experimenting with allowing fans to program films, complete with interviews on the air with host Ben Mankiewicz! San Diego Horror film festival director Miguel Rodriguez is one of the people handpicked to participate!


The requested theme was the holiday season, so Miguel chose the scifi horror "The Thing from Another World!" Joining him in the Fan Favorites programming block are fellow TCM Party members Aurora Bugallo, Paula Guthat, and Joel Williams. Aurora's Choice, the musical "Meet Me in St. Louis" will air first at 12:30/9:30 PST with her introduction, Paula's selection Bob Hope comedy "The Lemon Drop Kid" will air at 2:30/11:30 PST, followed by Miguel's appearance with "The Thing From Another World" at 4:15/1:15pm PST, and it will all wrap with Joel Williams and his pick, the western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" at 6/3pm PST!  

If you are wondering why Miguel picked "The Thing from Another World," tune in to TCM to hear his conversation with Mr. Mankiewicz! You are urged to join the gang on Twitter, where each person will host a special tweetalong of their respective films, using the hashtag #TCMParty. It's like watching the films with classic film lovers from around the globe! Let's all show TCM how much we appreciate their excellence in fan outreach and make this a great day for everyone! Plus--movies! 

See you on the internets!