and now for a special presentation

 

From lectures by Oscar winners and Q&As with Hollywood legends to rare screenings of films that happen to be over 100 years old, I've had the opportunity to see some memorable special presentations in LA. Below are some highlights.

September 21, 2021

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Cinecon wrapped its second online edition earlier this month with a wonderful assortment of over 25 shorts, features, documentaries, and special presentations. Though I didn’t end up watching everything I previewed, I’m pleased to report that I caught my must-see selections and a wide variety of other under-seen and under-appreciated treasures.

September 10, 2021

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Gun Crazy (1950) was my introduction to film noir, by way of Eddie Muller. His discussion of the B-movie classic in his 1998 book Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir transfixed me, just like the film eventually would.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Muller, the Czar of Noir, about the newly revised and expanded edition of Dark City. We discussed his passion for discovering international noir, the lengths he’ll go (and has gone!) to save a movie, and much more.

August 25, 2021

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Cinecon is once again going virtual! Though I miss marathoning – or attempting to marathon – the fest in a theater, the decision makes sense given the current situation, both health-wise and location-wise, as Cinecon’s home, the Egyptian Theatre, is currently closed for remodeling. Streaming the event online also gives fans from around the globe the opportunity to tune in for a taste of the rarities Cinecon has to offer, which is fantastic.

July 29, 2021

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“TCM has allowed us to indulge in being hams.” – Ben Burtt 

TCMFF's special presentations count as some of my favorite fest memories – and that certainly includes the visual and sound effects-focused events Oscar winners Craig Barron and Ben Burtt present.

June 29, 2021

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Besides special guests and presentations, I always look forward to discovering new movies at TCMFF. Though the experience wasn't exactly the same this year, I still got to revel in films I'd never seen - and some I hadn't ever heard of before!

 

Here's a brief overview of some of my favorite new-to-me movies from 2021's fest.

May 27, 2021

The 12th annual TCM Classic Film Festival wrapped a few weeks ago. Though this marked the network’s second virtual event, it was the first one to utilize HBO Max for programming and daily Zoom sessions to emulate the intimacy of Club TCM.

 

That meant one thing: decisions.

May 8, 2021

Whenever I see Ben Burtt and Craig Barron’s names on a TCM Classic Film Festival schedule, the program turns into an immediate must-see. This year, that happens to be their presentation “Jet Jockeys in Love: The Making of Chain Lightning.”

 

Burtt and Barron’s work in the fields of sound and visual effects, respectively, is legendary.

May 6, 2021

TCM Classic Film Festival fans will recognize Bruce Goldstein from his famous trivia sessions in Club TCM and his illuminating intros for past fest selections including The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) and Blood Money (1933). When he’s not regaling attendees with his vast cinematic knowledge at TCMFF, Goldstein is the Repertory Programming Director of New York City's famed Film Forum and the founder of Rialto Pictures.

April 24, 2021

TCM’s Classic Film Festival 2021, the network’s second virtual event, is right around the corner. As the festivities kick off in about two weeks, TCM recently blessed us with a full fest schedule to contend with. While there will be no in-person theater hopping this year, for some there will be channel flipping.

March 12, 2021

As previously announced, the 12th annual TCMFF will again be a virtual celebration. What we didn’t have for a long time was more information - now we have a little!

 

Virtual TCMFF #2 will take place from May 6-9. As opposed to screening solely on TCM like last year, this year TCMFF adds a second “venue,” HBO Max.

December 9, 2020

Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity (2015) premieres on TCM this Friday night at 8pm EST. I recently had the chance to ask director Roger Memos a few questions about Marsha and the documentary, which chronicles her career, her fight against the Blacklist, and her vast activism and humanitarian work.

November 17, 2020

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The 39th annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival wrapped last month. This year’s virtual proceedings allowed spectators from around the globe to watch and participate in the prestigious Italian fest’s online events for the low price of €9.90, aka the deal of a lifetime. So naturally, I hopped on board!

October 2, 2020

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I suppose the one upside of 2020 is being able to virtually attend events I never would have been able to experience before. Major case in point: The Pordenone Silent Film Festival in northern Italy. For €9.90, approximately 1% the price of a plane ticket to Italy, I secured a ticket to watch 13 silent features and shorts programs.

September 16, 2020

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Following suit with all other major festivals the past six months, Cinecon 2020 was all virtual this year. While I missed watching classic movies for hours on end from the balcony of the Egyptian Theater, I am thankful the Cinecon team was still able to bring fans together in the spirit of rare and underappreciated cinema.

September 1, 2020

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Like most film festivals this year, Cinecon 2020 looks a little different. In vast contrast to a usual five-day packed cinema spree, this year’s condensed online edition takes place across three days, screening about four-five hours of content each day. (As much as I love classic films and festivals, I must say this is more my speed right now.)

August 10, 2020

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In early 2018, a post in a classic film Facebook group I’m part of announced that Barbara Stanwyck’s former home, Marwyck, would be open for tours right before TCMFF. I knew Stanwyck lived in the San Fernando Valley in the late 1930s, but I had no idea her house still stood – or was a registered landmark!

April 24, 2020

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Classic movie fans were crushed with the news on March 12 that the traditional TCMFF festival was cancelled. But being TCM, I had a feeling they wouldn’t just let those dates come and go without doing anything. So, as per usual, TCM went above and beyond to come up a Plan B: A Special Home Edition of the fest to take place on-air and virtually.

April 2, 2020

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As fans know by now, the 2020 TCM Classic Film Festival was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A hard but necessary choice for sure, but the fest’s cancellation meant much more than missing out on a long weekend of movies.

March 19, 2020

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I had grand plans for Noir City Hollywood 22. Though a few advance scheduling conflicts stood in the way, for the most part my calendar was crowded with film noir screenings for about a week straight.

Until it wasn’t.

February 24, 2020

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This year, Noir City Hollywood is going all out – and international! In the past, fans were usually treated to two movies per night across the 10-day extravaganza, sometimes with a triple or quadruple feature throw in for max noir effect. But this year’s calendar blows that out of the water.

December 18, 2019

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Cinecon bestowed their esteemed Legacy Award to three actresses at this year’s festival: Ann Robinson, Gigi Perreau and Barbara Rush. I had the grand opportunity to be present for all three awards and Q&As, two of which I’ve already covered, Robinson's and Perreau's. That leaves Rush.

November 19, 2019

If I could listen to one classic film star tell me stories for a day, it would be Ann Robinson, who was one of three recipients of the Cinecon Legacy Award at this year’s Cinecon Classic Film Festival. I’ve heard her speak a few times before, interviewed her on the TCMFF red carpet, and I would now like to be her best friend, please.

October 18, 2019

This past September, Gigi Perreau was honored with the 2019 Cinecon Legacy Award along with Ann Robinson and Barbara Rush. 

Cinecon programmed Perreau’s 1950 film For Heaven’s Sake to pay tribute to the actress, a quirky comedy I had never heard of before.

September 13, 2019

This year, I had the opportunity to attend all five days of Cinecon, which is always exhilarating... and very tiring.

 

Last week I shared my recap of the first two days, which you can read here. Now it's time to wrap this review up with the final three days of the fest, Saturday-Monday.

September 5, 2019

Cinecon Classic Film Festival #55 hit two milestones this year: They celebrated 30 consecutive years in LA (prior to that the locations varied) and their 20th anniversary at the American Cinematheque. I’m always amazed at how five days of nonstop cinema race by so fast. My personal schedule for the fest this year was extremely ambitious. How’d I do? Well...

August 19, 2019

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us, and in the classic movie world, that signals one thing: Cinecon! For the last two years, out of town weddings have prohibited my full attendance at the fest, but this year I am FREE! (Well, save for work on Friday.) Cinecon 55 will present 46 programs, with many of the films projected on 35mm. I’ve only heard of about 5 of those selections, which is roughly 10%.

August 1, 2019

The Cinecon Classic Film Festival returns to Hollywood August 29 through September 2 with close to 50 rare shorts and features, special celebrity guests, and an outstanding memorabilia show.

I had the chance to ask Cinecon President Stan Taffel a few questions about the festival as they gear up for another exciting year celebrating unusual and overlooked classic movies.

June 28, 2019

The Bad Seed is one of the earliest classic films I saw. So, as you can imagine, a huge thrill of TCMFF 2019 was talking to the star herself, Patty McCormack, on the red carpet. Heck, I even had the chance to tell her about the time my friend dressed as her character from The Bad Seed for Halloween! I unfortunately didn’t make the poolside screening, but I did swing by for McCormack’s conversation with Eddie Muller beforehand. Below are some highlights from what I caught.

May 10, 2019

For the 4th (!) year in a row, I had the privilege of covering the red carpet at the opening night of TCMFF. While it’s always an honor to speak with the festival’s special guests, the occasion this year was particularly meaningful because 2019 marks the 10th year of the festival and the 25th anniversary of TCM; though I haven’t been a fan of TCM all 25 years (I was a child when the network debuted, so I get a pass), I’m a proud TCMFF 10-time attendee.

April 23, 2019

I woke up Sunday not believing it was the final day of TCMFF. Seriously, how can 60 hours fly by so fast? This morning presented a big decision: Holiday (1938), one of my gateways to classic film, or Mad Love (1935), which I’ve never seen before. Mad Love it was! Luckily, I took another glance at the schedule before leaving my apartment and noticed the movie was playing at the Egyptian, which was a good call, because the theater was packed.

April 20, 2019

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Less than six hours of sleep on Friday night didn’t stop me from jumping out of bed early to hit the road for Saturday’s packed day of programming! I made it in plenty of time to catch When Worlds Collide, a 1951 sci-fi flick I thought I hadn’t seen before. (The jury’s still out—the spaceship looked very familiar, but this is a 1950s science fiction picture we’re talking about.) 

April 18, 2019

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I had a full schedule Friday and tried to hit the ground running, but that didn’t quite happen. Somehow, I thought it would be acceptable to roll up to a 9am pre-Code (1932’s Merrily We Go to Hell) at about 8:20 but... no. I knew it was going to present a difficulty when I woke up at 7:20, looked at Twitter, and found that people were in line before 7am.

April 16, 2019

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Though I spend weeks preparing for TCM's Classic Film Festival, it always seems to rush in like a cinematic tornado—sweeping in quickly and catching all us film fans up in 3.5 days of movie madness, just to drop us back in the real world on Monday, which is where I am right now. Click below for a recap of the first day of TCMFF #10.

April 10, 2019

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One of the two movies playing for TCMFF’s late-night crowd this year is 1961’s Santo contra el cerebro del mal (Santo vs. the Evil Brain). TCM has brought in two special guests for this screening, film archivists/restorationists Viviana Garcia Besne and Peter Conheim, both of whom worked to restore the movie. I had the opportunity to ask Besne some questions, not only about this film and the Santo series, but also about the archive she founded, Permanencia Voluntaria.

March 28, 2019

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We’re almost there—in just 14 days, TCMFF’s 10th anniversary will be upon us! The full festival schedule was unleashed last week, and as per usual, since then attendees have been feverishly plotting their plan(s) of attack. The network has some fantastic programming in store for this milestone event, and it’s always an exhilarating/nerve-wracking/melodramatic/sorrowful endeavor putting together a schedule. So with that, below are my picks for TCMFF 2019—plus an extra title or two for every time slot. My guess is that it's 59% likely I'll stick to these selections, as goes the fest! 

March 18, 2019

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Noir City Hollywood is finally of age! In honor of their 21st year, the fest continues a theme they’ve celebrated previously, showcasing A and B films released in the same year—this time focusing on the 1950s. The program features a hearty mix of very well-known pictures (that I haven’t yet watched) and a handful of new-to-me rarities, which I always love. That said, below is my preview of Noir City Hollywood 21!

March 11, 2019

Besides the incredible guests TCM assembles for each film festival, my favorite moments are the exceptional programs they bring to Hollywood. As we inch closer to TCMFF #10, below is a list of my top 10 favorite TCMFF special presentations from years past.

February 27, 2019

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And just like that, UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Festival of Preservation is over. Attendees were treated to a marathon of 23 blocks of programming across a three-day span, and while my body generally rebels against epic day-long film events like this, I was pleased to attend nine screenings. Click below to read my highlights from the fest.

February 18, 2019

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Over the past nine years, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with TCMFF from a number of different angles: I volunteered in 2010 and 2013, accessed the fest through the standby line from 2010-2014, worked as a Social Producer in 2015 and 2016, and attended as a member of the media in 2017 and 2018. As TCMFF #10 looms on the horizon, I thought I’d share more about these rich and varied festival experiences.

January 28, 2019

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Every other year, the UCLA Film and Television Archive presents the Festival of Preservation, and every other year, I eagerly wait for UCLA to unveil the lineup. 

 

In years past, the Festival of Preservation has spread over the month of March. That said, this year I was both surprised and relieved to read that the event would take place over a weekend in February… until I saw the schedule, and my relief morphed into slight apprehension. 

January 11, 2019

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In honor of TCM Classic Film Festival’s 10th anniversary this April, I thought I’d share my favorite experience from each of the nine events I’ve attended so far. As you’ll see, my TCMFF adventures have ranged based on the type of access I’ve had, from volunteer and standby line-attempter to Social Producer and Media passholder. I’ll be writing another article covering the different capacities from which I’ve enjoyed TCMFF, but for now, here are my most memorable fest moments from 2010-2018.

December 28, 2018

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For the past eight years, I worked for Stan Lee. Stan (beat) Lee, I'd repeat, when inevitably asked "Stanley who?" I rarely revealed who my boss was when meeting new folks; that fact was usually unveiled by a well-meaning friend. 

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As I’ve mentioned in previous articles about Stan that have been posted elsewhere, he and I shared a love of classic movies. I relished chatting with him on the subject, and it was a special connection to me because so few people engaged him on the topic. 

November 7, 2018

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Welcome to part 2 of my Noir City Hollywood 20 recap!

 

Two weeks ago I covered the movies I thought were fine and dandy. Now comes the ultra-fun part: This week I’m re-visiting the inexplicable/weird/wacky selections. And they didn’t disappoint.

October 26, 2018

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For Noir City Hollywood’s 20th anniversary, the team—Eddie Muller, Alan K. Rode, and Gwen Deglise—thought it appropriate to program all LA-set films as a nod to where Noir City started. Out of the 20 screenings, I was able to attend 11. As with festival #19, I’m splitting up my recap into the good and the bizarre. First up: the good—and only 6 months late!

September 26, 2018

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I’ve done some crazy things for classic movies, but taking an early morning flight back home hours after a wedding probably tops my list. And while a Paramount B-picture usually wouldn’t be worth the effort, the entire event I was racing to on the final day of Cinecon 54 certainly was. Seconds after I realized Marsha Hunt’s film debut, the rarely screened The Virginia Judge (1935), was programed Monday afternoon at Cinecon—at a time I could possibly swing—I started researching ways I could make the screening.

September 21, 2018

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Welcome to my Friday recap from Cinecon 54! Though Friday was the first full day of the festival, I only attended the evening screenings, as I had a nine hour workday to get through first. That meant I unfortunately missed out on the 1933 bonkers sounding sci-fi/comedy/??? pre-Code It’s Great to Be Alive and the discussion with Eva Marie Saint, BUT I was thrilled to catch Colleen Moore’s 1920 silent comedy So Long, Letty. So, it all balanced out.

September 17, 2018

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Cinecon 54 was a whirlwind for me! Despite a jam-packed weekend, I fit in six features and five shorts across three days of the festival. I was fortunate to catch several rare, must-see pictures, while also discovering a few new gems, which is what Cinecon is all about to me.   

 

First day’s first: Thursday!

August 16, 2018

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Labor Day weekend is around the corner, and you know what that means: CINECON!

Basically, Cinecon is like a newly released Netflix show—this event is meant to binge, from 9am till midnight, with built in meal breaks and a few minutes respite in between movies for four and a half days.

July 12, 2018

Welcome to part 2 of my series highlighting TCMFF 2018 guests who shared stories from the past that invoked many concerns society is dealing with today. Last month I covered Q&As with Claude Jarman Jr. (Intruder in the Dust) and Nancy Kwan (The World of Suzie Wong), who discussed topics of racism and diversity.

June 21, 2018

More so than previous festivals, the past – ugliness and all – came roaring back at TCMFF 2018, particularly during introductions and Q&As. As the festival marched on, I noticed a subject popping up in numerous discussions: the present and, specifically, how many of the issues we are currently dealing with have been battled in the past both on and off camera.

May 11, 2018

For the third time, I had the opportunity to cover the red carpet at TCMFF. This year’s opening night festivities including a screening of The Producers (1968), complete with an appearance by Mel Brooks, and the awarding of the inaugural Robert Osborne Award to Martin Scorsese for “his longtime dedication to preserving and protecting motion picture history.”

May 6, 2018

Get ready for this, because it may blow your mind: On the final day of TCMFF, I only watched one - yes, one - movie in full.

Luckily, I wasn’t married to any of the 9am selections, because 1. That meant I got to sleep in, which was very much appreciated, and 2. I was able to attend a special event at Larry Edmunds Bookstore, “A Morning with Marsha.”

May 4, 2018

Saturday started off with a nice mile long walk, which may sound incredibly lengthy to those who live in LA, but really, it's not. 

From one of my free parking spots on Sunset, I hoofed it to the Arclight's Cinerama Dome for a special presentation of Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich, the first - and last - picture made in the Cinemiracle process.

May 2, 2018

This year, I told myself to take it easy at TCMFF... well that went out the window on Friday morning.

After prying myself out of bed, I hustled over to the Chinese Multiplex for Intruder in the Dust (1949), introduced by Donald Bogle and Claude Jarman Jr, an incredibly skilled child actor who co-starred in the picture. 

April 30, 2018

How can four days fly by in the blink of an eye? The 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival wrapped yesterday (technically, it ended around 1am this morning at In-N-Out for me) and in a way, it feels like it was all a dream. An incredibly long, blissful reverie, at that. In my opinion, TCMFF is adopting cues from San Diego Comic Con: Though officially the program kicks off Thursday, press events begin the day before and many unofficial TCM fan groups organize meet-ups in the days leading up to opening night.

April 23, 2018

I’m 96% sure the majority of TCM Classic Film Festival attendees travel from out of town for the occasion. Factoring in airfare, accommodations, passes, transportation, and food, the four day mecca can be costly. While I admittedly don't have to worry about many of these expenses, I do live in LA year-round, which is not cheap. That said, my pal Danny's recent tips and tricks article inspired me to share some of my own pointers as a local TCMFF attendee. 

*an economical local.

April 11, 2018

The full schedule for the 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival was unleashed upon the world one week ago, and as usual, it was immediately embraced, scrutinized, and agonized over with fervor from fans across the globe. Below is my tentative game plan. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed/fretted/pulled my hair out compiling it.

April 2, 2018

2018 is a milestone year for Noir City Hollywood, with the festival celebrating its 20th edition in Los Angeles. To commemorate two decades in the City of Angels, Noir City 20’s theme is – surprise! – the city itself. Having grown up in northern New Jersey where my first urban interaction was the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, I've never come to think of Los Angeles as a city, but rather a series of interconnected suburbs, save for downtown.

March 24, 2018

I am very proud and honored to announce that I will be attending the 9th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival as credentialed media!

This is the second year in a row that I’ve secured a media pass for the festival, and I could not be more thrilled. 

February 26, 2018

“This story has been sitting in Van Nuys for 90 years,” Jason Wise, director of Wait for Your Laugh, declared of his subject, Rose Marie, at a Q&A at the Egyptian Theater on November 18, 2017. I for one am certainly glad that the almost century-long story was captured on film (actual film – both 35mm and 16mm) and even more so that Marie was able to witness its release and appreciate all the lovely praise the movie received before she passed away on December 28, 2017.

February 1, 2018

Welcome to part 3 of my recap from UCLA Film and Television Archive's series Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960In my first review, I explored two daring 1934 titles, La mujer del puerto (Mexico) and Nada más que una mujer (US), and last week, I covered two suspenseful Mexican productions, La otra (1946) and El vampiro (1957). To conclude my series recap, I'm going to shift focus to a trio of lighter entries, all produced in the US: ¡Asegure a su mujer! (1935), No dejes la puerta abierta (1933), and Castillos en el aire (1938).

January 24, 2018

Welcome to part 2 of my recap from UCLA Film and Television Archive's series Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960Last week, in addition to marveling at the fact that downtown Los Angeles was the center of a booming Spanish-language cinema culture from the 1930s-1950s, I explored two daring titles from the series, both from 1934: La mujer del puerto (Mexico) and Nada más que una mujer (US). This week I continue the dark streak with two suspenseful Mexican productions, La otra (1946) and El vampiro (1957).

January 16, 2018

From September 23-December 10, 2017, the UCLA Film and Television Archive presented the series Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960 as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. The event boasted an eclectic mix of entries varying in both genre and country of origin.

 

I only caught about one quarter of almost 40 titles that screened during the series. First up in my recap: two of the darker entries I saw, La mujer del puerto and Nada más que una mujer, both from 1934.

December 18, 2017

For a while, I've wanted to interview silent film accompanist/composer Cliff Retallick. Since I still haven't gotten around to actually inquiring about an interview, I was pleased when the Voyager Institute, "a lecture series that educates, invigorates, and exhilarates," announced that Retallick would participate in a silent film composition Q&A this past September.