Osborne goes Classic route for film festival


Robert Osborne, a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and the host of Turner Classic Movies, has picked eight films for this year's Robert Osborne Classic Film Festival, set for April 1-13 in Athens, Ga.

The fest is an annual nonprofit event of the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Nate Kohn, associate professor of telecommunications at Grady College, serves as the director.

This year's titles are an eclectic mix: "Young Frankenstein, "Notorious," "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "African Queen," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Way We Were," "The King and I" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"

"These films represent the breadth and variety of Hollywood, independent and international classic cinema from the 1930s to 2002," Osborne said. "I've tried to pick a film from each decade."

An impressive array of artists associated with the films will participate in the festival, including actress Arlene Dahl, who starred in "Center of the Earth"; composer Marvin Hamlisch, who won an Oscar for his "The Way We Were" score; editor Anne Coates, who won an editing Oscar for "Lawrence"; and Mike Fenton, casting director for "Young Frankenstein."

Bringing added perspective to the event will be production veteran Angela Allen, who worked extensively for John Huston as a continuity specialist and on films like "The Third Man."

The selections, including the 70mm print of "Lawrence," will be screened at the 2,000-seat Classic Center theater, which boats a new 60-foot motion picture screen as well as state-of-the-art projection and sound.

Most of the films will be pristine archival 35mm prints. Osborne credits festival projectionist James Bond with performing heroics in securing the best prints available.

"Many of the films we'll be showing are ones people have probably seen before, sometimes on TV," Osborne said. "This is a chance for people to get the experience of seeing them on a mammoth screen, in a communal experience. That was the way they were made to be seen, and there is nothing like it."

The Robert Osborne Film Festival was modeled on Roger Ebert's Ebertfest, formerly Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th edition in April.

Both events share Kohn as festival director.