For a decade, Running Press has partnered with Turner Classic Movies to bring readers an expansive collection of titles about Hollywood film history and Hollywood films—whether it’s a cherished favorite or an overlooked on-screen gem. Running Press editorial director Cindy Sipala spoke with PW about the ongoing collaboration, the many ways Running Press is fostering a love for classic cinema with new and existing film buffs, and future endeavors to engage fan communities.

Congratulations on your 10-year partnership with Turner Classic Movies! As you look back, what has this partnership meant for Running Press and how has the TCM library enriched readers’ lives?

Thank you! Running Press was already doing books on classic films and stars, but the partnership with Turner Classic Movies established us as the publisher dedicated to serving high-quality titles to classic film fans. TCM isn’t just any network—it’s a lifestyle, it’s comfort TV (many fans keep it on in the background at home all day), it’s a resource of movie lore, it’s a community. TCM’s brand signifies authority. With this partnership, we set out to produce the most distinctive, quality library on film that any publisher is doing these days. We hope the books have entertained and enlightened readers and given them new ways of connecting with history, movies, and personalities they love.

It’s always fun to learn more about our favorite stars of classic cinema. Has Running Press also brought to mind lesser-known figures from Hollywood’s past?

I’m certainly a huge fan of “hidden histories”—more under-the-radar stories that haven’t been told as often—and shining a light on lesser-known but wonderful films. Books that come to mind are This Was Hollywood by Carla Valderrama, TCM Underground by Millie De Chirico and Quatoyiah Murry, Hollywood Black by Donald Bogle, and one manuscript I just finished reading—Dark City Dames. It’s a revised and expanded edition of a book by Eddie Muller originally published in 2001. Now we’re adding more star profiles, but the focus is a deep dive on six female stars of film noir who are not very well known today but whose stories are absolutely fascinating and come alive on the page. Sometimes these stories are even more interesting than the big ones, and I’m happy to offer something new to both longtime classic Hollywood fans and younger audiences.

From your perspective, how can books like Hollywood Pride broaden and enrich our understanding of history?

This book is such a jewel in the TCM series. It’s the brainchild of its editor, Randall Lotowycz, and is brilliantly written by Alonso Duralde. Did you know that one of Thomas Edison’s famous first efforts at syncing sound and film featured two men dancing together? Essentially, from the dawn of cinema, queer representation was present. You just have to know where to look for it. Hollywood Pride presents the full history of the artists and films who made Hollywood and shows how integral and influential the LGBTQ+ community was in establishing and evolving the art form over time. And I think for today’s LGBTQ+ audience, it helps them feel seen in a world of cinema history from which they previously seemed to be excluded.

How do you select your subjects for biographical deep dives (like Lena Horne)?

Those selections have generally come about through a combination of author and subject that was just right. Donald Bogle is the leading historian on Black entertainment history, and he wanted to write a biography of one of the most dazzling stars of the golden age, one who had not gotten her due and who was so often mistreated by the studio system in her day—not because she was any less talented than her contemporaries, but because she was Black. And in her case, we wanted to give her the glamour treatment that her studio back in the day could never commit to. But generally, when the right author and subject for a biography come together, we’re interested.

How is Running Press working to introduce new generations of viewers (and readers!) to classic cinema?

Engaging younger and new audiences with fresh and exciting packages is important to Running Press, just as it is for TCM. Last year, we published the first children’s title in our TCM program—Kid Noir: Kitty Feral and the Case of the Marshmallow Monkey by Eddie Muller and Jessica Schmidt. It was inspired by film noir, arguably the most popular genre of classic film today. I knew it was a winner when an advance copy I had instantly became a favorite of my three-year-old, Frankie, who quickly memorized the snappy noirish dialogue. Apart from that, lifestyle titles like Movie Night Menus, Eddie Muller’s Noir Bar, and Forbidden Cocktails, along with family-oriented books like Christmas in the Movies and the Halloween-y Fright Favorites, seem to click with a broader audience and younger consumers.

From trivia to puzzles to cocktails, titles in the TCM library are incredibly fun and inventive. Can you talk about the creative process involved as you embark on a new project?

We have periodic brainstorming sessions with TCM—for most of those ten years with John Malahy, Heather Margolis, and Aaron Spiegeland on the TCM end, and more recently Lindsey Griffin. Then, if there’s an idea we love and need a writer for, I review our existing author pool as well as research subject experts we haven’t engaged before and work up a proposal with them to be sure we’re onto something.

The TCM partnership is so successful. What can you share about other brand-centric publishing partnerships for Running Press?

Running Press is one of the leading publishers of licensed product; we have active partnerships with more than 40 licensors encompassing about 100 brands, including Disney, NBCUniversal, Hello Kitty and Friends, Dungeons & Dragons, and Mattel. Another highlight of my job is managing our publishing with Warner Bros. That partnership is going strong nearly 20 years in and has produced scores of mini kits, books, decks, and other product with brands like Harry Potter, Friends, DC, and many others. One of the core tenets of our business is producing titles for fan communities. We always have the enthusiast in mind in what we create.

Looking ahead to the next 10 years, what exciting collaborations do you envision for Running Press?

We’ll continue partnering with brands and other media content hubs to advance our mission of serving fan communities. And not just in the entertainment realm; there are other huge categories for Running Press such as body/mind/spirit and lifestyle that also have dedicated followings. Our team of editors is extremely attuned to what people are watching and engaging with, and we’ll all be keeping an eye out for both nostalgic and new partners. We want to reach those enthusiastic readers and connect them with names and brands they love in fun, informative, and innovative ways.