Virtual TCM Classic Film Festival Begins May 6 With 'West Side Story'
by Mike Barnes
Cannonballing down through the sky with a virtual gleam in its eye, the 12th annual TCM Classic Film Festival will run May 6-9 on TCM and HBO Max, kicking off with a 60th anniversary screening of West Side Story, it was announced Wednesday.
"It is sure to be a memorable weekend, packed with everything you have come to love about the TCM Classic Film Festival, and we all get to experience it from the comfort of our home," TCM host Ben Mankiewicz says.
West Side Story stars Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn are scheduled for a reunion that will air on TCM and simultaneously be available on the HBO Max streamer at 5 p.m. PDT on opening night.
The festival, being held virtually for a second straight year because of the pandemic, will feature more than 80 films, including The Maltese Falcon (1941), They Won't Believe Me (1947), Bullitt (1968), Love Story (1970), Diner (1982), Innerspace (1987) and Antwone Fisher (2002).
There also will be a focus on movies made by Black filmmakers at UCLA that emerged from the "L.A. Rebellion" movement of the late 1960s.
Directors including Rob Reiner and Mira Nair will introduce their films and share recollections; stars like Ali MacGraw and Danny Glover will be honored; and tastemakers from different fields of expertise will present their favorite movies. There also will be discussions and interviews with guests and TCM hosts, panels, presentations and rare behind-the-scenes footage.
HBO Max subscribers will access content through the Classics Curated by TCM hub.
"We're thrilled to expand this year's virtual festival across two platforms — linear and streaming. Our approach gives fans even more movies, stars and unique presentations to choose from," TCM general manager Pola Changnon said in a statement. "The breadth of this festival will offer interest for every kind of classic movie fan — whether they're new to this world or card-carrying cinephiles!"
After last year's event was canceled in March 2020, TCM put together a "special home edition" for the following month.
Other talent and movies for this year's event will be announced in the coming weeks.