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TCM Classic Film Festival 2021 to Open with Virtual ‘West Side Story’ Reunion

Directors Rob Reiner and Mira Nair will introduce their films as part of a section known as "The Masters."

Rita Moreno

“West Side Story”

Courtesy of AMPAS

Last year saw the hasty transition from physical to virtual for the TCM Classic Film Festival, just two months into the wake of what we now know was a year-long global pandemic. This year, TCM took the year to plan a new virtual festival that will encompass not just their hallowed network but their new streaming hub on HBO Max.

This year’s TCM Classic Film Festival will take place on May 6-9, kickstarting things with a 60th anniversary screening of “West Side Story,” with virtual appearances by star Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn, and George Chakiris. The event will have two “venues” for fans to watch content. Those with cable will be able to tune into TCM for a lineup of classics, to be presented by both TCM hosts and unnamed special guests.

The bigger news is that there will also be content available through the TCM hub on HBO Max that will include films, exclusive discussions and interviews with TCM hosts and guests, panels, and behind-the-scenes footage. The content will be different at each venue and festival content will be available on HBO Max starting May 6. It will remain accessible to viewers till the end of the event.

“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,” said Pola Changnon, head of TCM. “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!”

Aside from the opening night feature there will be special tributes to various facets of the film world. Directors Rob Reiner and Mira Nair will introduce their films as part of a section known as “The Masters.” Tributes to Ali MacGraw and Danny Glover will take place. There will also be an emphasis on discoveries, essential features, and overlooked gems, all which will be announced closer to the event date.

Last year saw TCM hastily make the move from their in-person event to a TCM Classic Film Festival Home Edition, that event saw a few of the canceled films show up, as well as special look backs at previous events. It didn’t appease all fans, but it did open up the festival for those unable to attend before and reminded audiences of why they love the network so much. No doubt this year’s festival more than builds off of last year and, with the introduction of HBO Max as a hub, will offer much more.

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