The first ever TCM Film Festival occured in 2010, and passes went on sale on November 18, 2010. In early March of 2010, a contest offering the prize of a top-of-the-line Spotlight Pass to sweepstakes entrants made first festival fervor even more exciting. Dates for the TCM Film Festival 2016 were announced Wednesday, August 28, by journalist Scott Feinberg in The Hollywood Reporter, and the classic film fun begins on April 28 and lasts until May 1 of 2016. This year’s announcement was the earliest on record to herald the coming year’s festival of classic films.
The very first announcement concerning the 2010 festival arrived on September 9, 2009, on the TCM website. Pass sales began November 18, and an early incentive discount of $100 was awarded to customers who purchased passes before December 18. Films like “Wild River” were announced on March 9 of 2010, special guests like Jean Paul Belmondo, Ernest Borgnine, and Eli Wallach on March 9, and panel topics and panel guests March 18 of 2010.
A special interview with Charlie Tabesh, head of programming for TCM and the TCM Film Festival, was posted on the TCM Website by classic film lover and 2009 Guest Programmer Peter Bosch. Tabesh revealed some of the behind-the-scenes ruminations and plans for the 2010 festival when he responded to a question concerning how he chose what films to program. “There is no single answer to that question,” stated Tabesh, “because different films are included for different reasons (so forgive the long answer). We started with a broad theme, The History of Hollywood. We’re big on themes at TCM, and that led us to several categories to explore and certain films that seemed a natural fit. ‘Sunst Blvd.’ for example, is not only a great film about Hollywood and its history, but it’s also an incredible experience when you to see it on the big screen.”
Tabesh also revealed that “most of the films I’ve mentioned so far, and most of the rest, were suggestions by other people, either archivists, or TCM fans, or TCM employees. For example, we’ll screen ‘A Woman’s Face’ because Joan Crawford’s grandson specifically requested it as a great example of his grandmother?s work that is very rarely seen on the big screen.”
Tabesh’s responsibilities also included taking “all of the ideas and suggestions and figuring out how to create a good mix of different eras and genres, ranging from the crowd-pleasing and essential classics, to the rare and intriguing discoveries, and to make sure at any given time, festival goers have several types of options for different tastes.” Since the TCM Film Festival in preparing for its 6th year, Tabesh and his savvy team should be proud of a job well done.
In 2010, Spotlight passes, the most expensive pass with exclusive events and special privileges, sold out on February 18. The popularity of the festival obviously escalated by 2013 as the Spotlight pass sold out on November 16, one day after all passes went on sale. In 2014, the TCM Film Festival announcement of dates occured on October 2, and this year’s announcement comes a little more than a month ahead of last year’s.
According to Feinberg’s article in The Hollywood Reporter, the theme, revealed by “Genevieve McGillicuddy, the fest’s managing director” is “Moving Pictures.” It encompasses “movies that bring us to tears, rouse us to action and inspire us.” The focus of the festival is often chosen in close consultation “with TCM’s head programmer, Charlie Tabesh” and, is often “broad enough to encompass a lot of films but specific enough to inform who we bring in, in terms of guests,” McGillicuddy said. “This year’s theme gets to the heart of why we spend the time that we do watching movies and why we share movies with other people.”
Feinberg added that themes at past incarnations of the festival have included “The History of Hollywood,” “Music in the Movies,” “Style in the Movies” and, last year, “History in the Movies.”
The TCM Film Festival 2016 takes place in Hollywood from April 28 to May 1 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the TCL Chinese Theatre and its multi-plex, and other venues. TCM host Robert Osborne will attend again this year after bowing out in 2015 due to health concerns. TCM co-host Ben Mankiewicz will return for his seventh festival.
Passes for the exclusive presale for Citibank Card members begins on November 17. Passes for the general public go on sale November 19.