Turner Classic Movies
Grady College Classic Film Festival 2007
Written by Diana Saenger   

For me the 3rd annual 2007 ROBERT OSBORNE CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL was a total joy. Imagine spending three days doing what you love best - watching classic movies. And there was more! I got to meet featured guests that were involved with some of the films, classic movie fans and the wonderful festival directors - Nate and Pamala Kohn - festival team members and sponsors of this delightful event.

Robert Osborne's Classic Film Festival is an annual non-profit event of the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The festival team leaves no stone unturned to combine enjoyment and celebration of film, with that of introducing students to this genre through the screenings and bringing guests into Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication discussions to learn about their work.

Watching the movies on the Grady College Classic Center's 60-foot motion picture screen and state-of-the-art 35mm projection and sound systems is almost as exciting as seeing them for the first time. The 2,000-seat Classic Center theatre literally is transformed into a world-class movie palace. Each film usually includes an added element, an original trailer or cartoon.

"It's an exciting adventure to see these films the way they were meant to be seen," explained Osborne. "The big screen gives a different dimension and vitality to them."

Osborne, the prime time host of Turner Classic Movies, columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, author and authority on the Academy Awards. picks the classic films shown each year. In addition to the films, the festival features panel discussions hosted by Osborne that include University of Georgia scholars, festival guests, artists, critics, and others. The panel topics relate to the classic festival films and their various influences. The panel discussions are free and open to the public.

The 2007 festival began with a reception on the beautiful University of Georgia campus where guests, sponsors and festival organizers met to greet each other and learn about the three day event.

This year's list of films included:

 SOME LIKE IT HOT   (1959; b&w) --------- A classic comedy

 LAURA (1948; b&w) ------------ ----  A classic film noir mystery

 THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975; color) -  A classic adventure

 WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996; color) ----------  A classic mockumentary

 ELECTION (1999; color) -------------------------- A new classic

 MAD HOT BALLROOM (2005; color) -------------- A classic documentary

 AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957; color) ------- A classic romance

 THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965; color)---- A classic musical

Fred Willard, Marni Nixon, Robert Osborne, Colleen Camp

 Special guests at the festival included:

Attorney Norm Aladjem is the head of the international and independent film packaging and financing unit at Paradigm. A member of the Friday morning panel, Aladjem's renowned expertise as an entertainment attorney and former Chairman and CEO of the Writer's and Artists Agency, came in handy to explain a lot of the ins and outs of show business.

Angela Allen, a British film professional who has worked on hundreds of films including The African Queen and The Flying Dutchman, was at the festival to discuss her involvement on The Man Who Would Be King. She shared interesting tidbits about working with Michael Caine, Sean Connery and director John Huston.

Colleen Camp has appeared in more than 100 feature films including Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Funny Lady, Rumor Has It, and Running with Scissors. Adding producer to her shingle,  Camp appeared at the Classic Festival to talk about her role - small yes, but quite significant - in Election. Talking about the film, her humorous role as Reese Witherspoon's controlling mother, and other aspects of the film, Camp dispersed her warm and natural comedic talents throughout her conversation with Osborne and fans.

Roger L. Mayer was President and Chief Operating Officer of Turner Entertainment Co. from 1986, until his retirement in 2005.   Before joining TEC, he was Senior Vice President - Administration for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. and president of MGM Laboratories, Inc. AND Boy - does he know a lot about showbiz. Mayer sat on the Friday morning panel added his wisdom and expertise about movies and Hollywood to every conversation.

You haven't heard all of the lovely voices until you've heard Marni Nixon's! Her career includes opera, chamber and symphony, oratorio soloist, Broadway, Off-Broadway, film & television.  In fact you've probably heard her many times and didn't know you were listening to her sing. She is the singing voice of Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn in the motion pictures and on the soundtracks of The King and I, An Affair to Remember, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady. Nixon not only recalled wonderful moments on the set of the festival's Sunday matinee screening of The Sound of Music, and offered up juicy details about her on screen and behind the scenes career.

David Oppenheim grew up listening to the music of Johnny Mercer in his hometown of Savannah, Georgia. He related to the audience how he first began to admire recordings of 30s and 40s big band radio, and the albums his parents played on the family record player - artists like Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Meredith Wilson, Henry Mancini, and of course, Johnny Mercer.

Ray Ruggeri is the founder and archivist of Cinemabilia, a collection of original, vintage movie posters, covering all film genres and spanning several decades. This avid collector, lecturer and well-respected international dealer of motion picture memorabilia, held court in the lobby of the Classic Center with his table of thrilling photos and exciting stories about them.

Likely, Charlie Tabesh, Sr. Vice President of Programming and New Media of Turner Classic Movies in Atlanta, is partly responsible for all of those terrific classics we get to watch again and again on TCM. Tabesh sat on the Friday morning panel and provided his insight into questions asked of the panel.

Many film fans have fallen for Fred Willard's wonderful comedic nature in movies such as Waiting for Guffman, This Is Spinal Tap, Best of Show as well as numerous TV shows and stage performances. Willard appeared with Osborne at the conclusion of the screening of Waiting for Guffman to talk about his role in the film, and as expected, had   the audience in stitches.

I felt honored to be a part of this festival as a panelist and to mingle with so many like-minded people. I can't wait to go back next year.

Continue to check out ClassicMovieGuide for updates about next year's festival and also the festival site at www.grady.uga.edu/osbornefest




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