Unfortunately, while the cost of a festival pass is rather affordable (the Palace level pass costs only $ 400) considering the staggering amount of programming and opportunities offered, the cost of Hollywood travel and board can be prohibitive for prospective travelers not already located in the Los Angeles area. Not everyone has the time and means to cast aside their cares and fly off to California to watch four days of movies.
During the past two COVID-restricted years, TCM offered at-home festival programming through their channel and portal on HBO Max. While it’s not the same as walking into the grand lobby of the TCL Chinese Theater before a screening of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) (still one of my all-time festival experiences) there’s still something to be said for meals not wrapped in tin foil and the comfort of your own couch.
The 2022 festival will be my sixth in-person festival, and I recommend that any classic film fan that has the ways and means make the journey at least once in their life. Not just because of the movies – but also because of the people. At home, we’re often the oddities. How often do you get to talk about the movies you love without receiving curious glances and unknowing nods? If you’re like me, chances are you prefer not to talk about movies – not because you don’t want to share your love, but because every conversation you have is pretty one-sided. People humor you, but they don’t really have any interest in what you’re saying. You attend your first festival for the movies, but you attend every subsequent festival because of the people you meet, the TCM family, a community of like-minded moviegoers that get extra excited about movies being shown on 35mm prints.
Edit: As of Monday morning April 18th, I tested positive for COVID-19 and had to cancel my trip to the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Instead of doing this in person, I’m going to make the best of an unfortunate set of circumstances. The silver lining – indeed if there is one – is that I can cobble together a film festival in my own home theater, eat when I want, drink when I want, and doze off without fear of snoring in a really really large crowd. My basement’s not exactly a six-screen multiplex and there’s nothing quite like the communal experience at the TCMFF, but I make better popcorn. See? Silver linings all around.
For those of you also idling at home, I’ve prepared an at-home guide for the 2022 TCM Film Festival, tracing the entire four-day schedule with programming available to rent on disc from DVD Netflix. I’d be surprised if your rental plan included a 19-at-home option, but you could easily track down copies of some of the others and piece together your own festival. Watch at your own pace. A week, a month. It’s your festival. And I hope you do. I hope this whets your appetite and you’ll be inspired to plan your trip for 2023. (And, speaking from experience, avoid the COVID.)