Society & Culture

Robert Osborne announces special guests for 2007 film festival

Robert Osborne announces special guests for 2007 film festival

Athens, Ga. – Actors Marni Nixon, Colleen Camp and Fred Willard, director/producer Marilyn Agrelo, as well as industry veterans Roger Mayer, Norm Aladjem and Angela Allen will be special guests at Robert Osborne’s Classic Film Festival, March 22-25, at the Classic Center in Athens.

Osborne, the host of Turner Classic Movies and columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, is thrilled with the line up. “Our guests this year represent every aspect of the motion picture industry,” said Osborne. “We are honored to welcome them all to Athens.”

Nixon’s career includes opera, chamber and symphony, oratorio soloist, Broadway, off-Broadway, film and television. She is the singing voice of Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn in the motion pictures and on the soundtracks of The King and I, An Affair to Remember, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady. Her film roles include Aunt Alice in I Think I Do and Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music.

Willard began his acting career by spending a year at Chicago’s famed Second City. His film credits include Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, This Is Spinal Tap, Roxanne, The Wedding Planner, How High, American Pie 3, A Mighty Wind, and Anchorman. His performance in Waiting for Guffman earned him an American Comedy Award nomination and a Screen Actor’s Guild nomination for Funniest Supporting Actor.

Mayer was president and chief operating officer of Turner Entertainment Co. for nearly 20 years until his retirement in 2005. Before joining Turner, he was senior vice president – administration for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. and president of MGM Laboratories, Inc. Mayer is first vice chairman of the board of the Motion Picture and Television Fund and just finished serving eight years as chairman of the board. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Oscar and an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as executive producer of the PBS documentary Judy Garland: By Myself.

Since her feature film debut in Twentieth Century Fox’s blockbuster Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Camp has gone on to star and appear in more than 100 major motion pictures and television productions, including Funny Lady, Apocalypse Now and Wayne’s World. Camp wooed audiences with her chilling, yet humorous performance as Reese Witherspoon’s controlling mother, Barbara Fick, in Paramount Pictures’ Election and continues to work with some of the most acclaimed actors, directors and writers in the entertainment industry.

Aladjem, long time Hollywood entertainment attorney and agent, is currently head of the international and independent film packaging and financing unit of Paradigm. Established in 1993, Paradigm has quickly established itself as one of the most distinctive companies in the talent and literary business. With offices in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and Monterey, the agency represents clients across all entertainment categories.

Director/producer Agrelo grew up in New York in a family that was culturally different than those of her peers and that shaped an early awareness of the human themes she continues to explore through her work. Prior to Mad Hot Ballroom, Agrelo worked on fundraising films and dramatic shorts (recently Smash the Kitty) and has developed interactive museum installations. She continues her research and filming on a very personal project titled Us and Them,a documentary feature about her divided family and their contrasting truths and political beliefs.

Allen is one of Britain’s film industry treasures, having worked on hundreds of films for the past half century. As the youngest script supervisor working in England, she was chosen by Sam Spiegel to work for John Huston on The African Queen. Allen also doubled for Katherine Hepburn in the film. She then worked on 13 more of Huston’s films including Moby Dick, The Misfits, The Man Who Would Be King, and Night Of The Iguana, among many others. More recently she worked with John Frankenheimer and has been involved with Franco Zeffirelli on his films and stage work.

Other special guests include Charlie Tabesh, senior vice president of programming and new media for Turner Classic Movies; Ray Ruggeri, founder of Cinemabelia; Diane Saenger, entertainment editor of the East County Gazette, film critic for the La Jolla Light, The Del Mar Times, the Solana Beach Sun, Carmel Valley Leader, and senior writer for Script magazine; and David Oppenheim, president of The Friends of Johnny Mercer, Inc. where he acts as historian/archivist and supports continued efforts to preserve the memory of songwriter, lyricist and singer Mercer and to provide college scholarships for young musical talent.

Guests will appear on stage after screenings for a candid discussion with host Osborne and members of the audience. Guests present on Friday morning will appear in a panel discussion about classic films with Osborne. The panel discussion is free to the public and will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Classic Center Theater. Guests present on Sunday will appear at the closing brunch at 11:30 a.m. in the Classic Center Fire Hall. A limited number of passes for the closing brunch are available for $90.

The movie line-up for the festival includes Some Like it Hot, Laura, The Man Who Would be King, Waiting for Guffman, Election, Mad Hot Ballroom, An Affair to Remember, and The Sound of Music.

“Our guests this year span the golden age of Hollywood movie-making,” said Nate Kohn, festival director and associate professor of telecommunications in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. “We urge everyone to come out to the festival and meet these cinema greats.”

For the three-and-a half day festival, the 2,000-seat Classic Center theatre will be transformed into a world-class movie palace with the installation of a motion picture screen and state-of-the-art 35mm projection and sound systems.

“It’s an exciting adventure to see these films the way they were meant to be seen,” explained Osborne. “The big screen gives a different dimension and vitality to these extraordinary films.” Osborne said that he also plans to include original trailers and cartoons so that festival-goers can have the complete movie experience.

All films, with the exception of the Friday matinee showing of The Man Who Would be King, will require a paid ticket for admission. The matinee is free and open to the public, but requires tickets that can be picked up at the Classic Center box office.

Festival tickets can be purchased separately or as a package at the Classic Center box office, online at or by calling 800/918-6393. Ticket prices are $10 per individual film or $60 for a pass to all films and panel discussions. Students and UGA Alumni Association members can purchase individual film tickets for $8 or a pass to all films and the panel discussion for $45 with valid identification.

Robert Osborne’s Classic Film Festival is an annual non-profit event of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more information, visit

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers seven undergraduate majors: advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. In addition, the college offers two graduate degrees, and it is home to the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, visit