CMBA profiles one or two members every month. This edition features Kellee Pratt blogs at Outspoken and Freckled.
Kellee’s blog covers a wide range of film from the silent to today. A multitasker who teaches film classes, writes a monthly column, The Funny Papers, for The Classic Movie Hub, Co-hosts a series of annual blogathons and still finds time to attend the annual TCMFF. Read on…
What sparked your interest in classic film?
At a young age, I watched comedy classics on Saturday mornings at a local arts center/ theatre in Taos, New Mexico. They screened sure-to-please greats like Laurel & Hardy, Our Gang, and Mack Sennett shorts. My grandmother was also an early influencer who introduced me to jazz, mid-century modern style, and classic films such as A SHOT IN THE DARK, IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD and WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION.
What film genre(s) do you favor?
Comedies have always been my staple. I write about this genre for Classic Movie Hub in a monthly column called, The Funny Papers. For many of life’s challenges, classic comedies have served as my go-to escape. I am also a huge fan of Pre-Codes and Film Noir, but honestly, my tastes are pretty eclectic.
What makes a film "classic" in your opinion?
I realize this question sparks debate for some. Personally, my definition includes films prior to the transition of the end of the studio system in the 60s and the beginning of a grittier realism of the 70s. Beyond the 70s, there are many great films that have endured. For me, I label those films “new classics.” To each their own, but that’s how I roll.
The Kansas Silent Film Festival sounds like a lot of fun. Can you tell us a little about it?
It’s not only a lot of fun, it’s one of the best hidden secrets of the classic film fest world for over two decades. I’ve attended this fest for years. It’s consistently a delightful variety of silent films and shorts (and always with live musical accompaniment), guest speakers and biographers. For two days (a Friday night and a full day/night Saturday) in February, this fest is free but donations are VERY MUCH appreciated. Additionally, there is a ‘Cinema Dinner’ which includes a keynote speaker with your meal for a minimal cost. Last year’s speaker was famed biographer Cari Beauchamp, as the 2018 fest theme was focused on Women in Silent Film. Expect to see some ‘reel films’, including lesser-known gems, without the chaos, hustle and high costs of the bigger fests.
You have also attended the TCMFF. What do you like best about it?
There’s so much to see and screen at TCMFF. Hollywood hallowed ground, fun events, celebrity sightings/intros, and the screenings are all worth the trip. But my favorite reason to attend is to connect with my fellow classic film friends in-person. It’s become a huge reunion for folks that live all across the country and in other countries, too.
You have hosted or co-hosted a few blogathons. What do you like best about it?
I have hosted and co-hosted several over the years, starting back when the classic film blogathon landscape was not as plentiful. A couple were popular enough that we chose to continue these as returning annual events. Along with my friends and co-hosts Aurora of Once Upon A Screen and Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club, we host both the What A Character! Blogathon (this one will take place Dec 14, 15, and 16th) and the 31 Days Of Oscar Blogathon. What do I like best? Reading all the fascinating entries and being introduced to the new bloggers that sign up.
What do you find is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Blogging is such a pleasure because it brings me joy to write about subjects I’m passionate about. It’s great to write for others, but there is such freedom when we write for ourselves.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of film blogs these days. What makes your blog unique?
While there appears to be a great deal more of contemporary film blogs than classic film blogs, even the classic ones grow in number all the time. My frequency of writing is not as much as I’d prefer- partly due to current obligations in my life and partly because I’m not a fan of the quantity over quality style that I see a few bloggers embrace. I love sharing interesting trivia tidbits and background whenever I can, just like I do when I teach my classic film courses. I don’t like to post synopsis reviews that have no voice, although I see this approach commonly used. When I write, I prefer that some part of me is present. I often interject my personality and/or personal stories into my blog posts.