TCM Classic Film Fest Reveals Dates, Theme for 2016 (Exclusive)

Robert Osborne will be returning as the fest's host after missing last year's installment due to poor health, THR also has learned.
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Grauman's Chinese Theatre, one of the venues used by the TCM Classic Film Festival

The seventh annual TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 28-May 1 in Hollywood, and the theme for this best-of-its-kind gathering of classic film legends and buffs will be "Moving Pictures," The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Robert Osborne, the film historian who has been the face of Turner Classic Movies since its inception, will return as the fest's official host (poor health kept him from attending and hosting last year), and Ben Mankiewicz, Osborne's heir apparent, will introduce many of the fest's marquee events.

Genevieve McGillicuddy, the fest's managing director, tells THR that "Moving Pictures" means "movies that bring us to tears, rouse us to action and inspire us." Themes of the fest, which are chosen in consultation with TCM's head programmer Charlie Tabesh, are intended to be "broad enough to encompass a lot of films but specific enough to inform who we bring in, in terms of guests," said McGillicuddy. "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."

Themes at past incarnations of the fest have included "The History of Hollywood," "Music in the Movies," "Style in the Movies" and, last year, "History in the Movies."

The fest also has a rich tradition of celebrating milestone anniversaries of classic movies, with their stars in attendance. At its next edition, that would mean releases from 1941 (perhaps Sergeant York, with Joan Leslie?), 1966 (maybe The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with Clint Eastwood; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with George Segal; Alfie, with Michael Caine; or The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, with Alan Arkin and Eva Marie Saint?), 1981 (why not Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford?) and 1991 (how about The Silence of the Lambs, with Jonathan Demme, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, or Bugsy, with Barry Levinson, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Ben Kingsley, Harvey Keitel, Elliott Gould and Ben Kingsley?).

"I'd be surprised if we didn't have films representing those key anniversaries," said McGillicuddy. "We work with our studio partners to see what they're planning on restoring, so I would be surprised if you didn't see those years recognized in some fashion."

Once again, the fest's home base will be the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and its principal venues the TCL Chinese Theatre Imax, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Egyptian Theatre. But, McGillicuddy says, "We are looking at potentially adding a new venue or two," perhaps of the "pop-up" variety employed at past fests.