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Spitballing Telluride Lineup

Michael Patterson has been dutifully keeping track of the buzz and checking the temperature for what might show up at Telluride this year. He’s keeping a list of possibles, those that are mights, and the maybes. He is pondering whether or not Leviathan, the Russian epic that made a big splash in Cannes this year, will hit the fest or not.

His list of possibles right now include:

15) 99 Homes
A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real estate broker who’s the source of his frustration. Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, directed by Ramin Bahrani (At Any Price, Man Push Cart)

14) Life May Be (Documentary)
An epistolary feature film: a cinematic discourse between a British director, (Mark Cousins, the celebrated film maker and historian) and an Iranian actress and director (Mania Akbari, famed for her work with Abbas Kiarostami and in her own right as a director) which extends the concept of “essay film” with startling confrontations in the arenas of cultural issues, gender politics and differing artistic sensibilities. A unique journey into the minds of two exceptional filmmakers which becomes a love affair on film.
Directed by Mania Akbari, Mark Cousins (The Story of Film: An Odyssey).

13) The Homesman
A claim jumper and a pioneer woman team up to escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa.
Starring Hillary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, directed by Tommy Lee Jones

12) Two Days, One Night
The film follows Sandra, a young woman assisted by her husband, who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.
Starring Marion Cotillard, by the Dardennes.

11) Red Army (Documentary)
Following the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, RED ARMY tells the story of the nation’s famed Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its captain Slava Fetisov. Whether he was pitted against enemies in the political arena or on the ice, Fetisov’s story provides a rare glimpse behind the Iron Curtain of the 1970s and ’80s by mirroring the social and political forces at work in the world around him. While helping pave the way for his nation to cross over into the next century, this one man demonstrated how sports could not only be an avenue for creative expression in a world determined to suppress it, but also be something so inextricably intertwined with a nation’s cultural and political identity. Directed by Gabe Polsky

10) The Look of Silence (Documentary) A family that survives the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers. Directed by Josh Oppenheimer (Act of Killing)

9) Wild Tales (Argentina)
A story about love deception, the return of the past, a tragedy, or even the violence contained in an everyday detail, appear themselves to push them towards the abyss, into the undeniable pleasure of losing control. Directed by Damián Szifrón (big hit in Cannes)

8) Rosewater
A journalist is detained in Iran for more than 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison. Starring Gael García Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo. Directed by Jon Stewart. Yes, THAT Jon Stewart.

7) Leviathan (Russia)
A present day social drama spanning multiple characters about the human insecurity in a “new country” which gradually unwinds to a mythological scale concerning the human condition on earth entirely. Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

6) Queen of the Desert
A chronicle of Gertrude Bell’s life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.
James Franco, Robert Pattinson, Nicole Kidman
Directed by Werner Herzog

5) Wild
A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe.
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Gaby Hoffman. Directed by Jean-Marc Valle (Dallas Buyers Club)

4) The Imitation Game
English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Directed by Morten Tyldum

3) Birdman
A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.
Starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

2) Mr. Turner
An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life.
Starring the great Timothy Spall (Cannes winner for Best Actor). Written and Directed by Mike Leigh.

Our Review

1) Foxcatcher
Based on the true story of Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances.
Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo. Directed by Bennett Miller

Our Review

Other films simmering below these 15:

“She’s Funny That Way”
Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts”
Serge Bromberg’s Restored Film/Brinton Collection
“The Price of Fame”
“Winter Sleep”
“Mommy”
“Whiplash”
“Bird People”

Leaving our Telluride consideration this week:
“Clouds of Sils Maria”
“The Wonders”
“The Blue Room”
“Jauja”

Still in play for T-ride…

“Slow West”
“Suffragette”
“Kill the Messenger”
“A Most Violent Year”
“’71”

BIG films still hanging:

“Unbroken”
“Interstellar”
“Fury”
“Big Eyes”
“Exodus: Gods and Kings”

Of these five, “Unbroken” and “Big Eyes” now seem like the best shot at a Telluride play…and that shot isn’t that great.

The Best Picture winner has turned up at Telluride the past four years. The Hurt Locker was the last film not to get the T-Ride boost. There’s a good chance our winner is here somewhere. But there’s also the chance that it will be the one year where the winner is a later entry, coming in from somewhere else.

8 Comments on this Post

  1. Queen of the Desert won’t be there because it’s not going to be ready until 2015 per the producer.

  2. “Directed by Jon Stewart. Yes, THAT Jon Stewart.” That made me spontaneously laugh.

  3. Bryce Forestieri

    Queen of the Desert won’t be there because it’s not going to be ready until 2015 per the producer.

    Link?

  4. Genadijus

    Weinsteins will do everything that “Macbeth” opens Cannes 2015 next year.
    “Queen of Desert” will likely open Berlinale 2015 or appear in the competition of Cannes, along with “Carol” by T. Haynnes.

  5. Bryce Forestieri

    Yeah I mean no offense to Berlin but QUEEN OF THE DESERT should be Cannes, still though, I’d rather they just skip festivals and release it later this year — should be ready.

  6. Yes, Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert” is off the table. The latest version of this list has been updated to reflect that. Robert Kenner’s documentary “The Merchants of Doubt” has replaced “Queen” on the latest version. See it here:
    http://michaelstelluridefilm.blogspot.com/2014/08/ten-plus-betshitfixs-25-fall-fest-films.html

  7. Considering Focus has restricted their other oscar buzzers, Theory of Everything and Boxtrolls, to a single festival each so far (TOE world premiere at TIFF–no NYFF, Venice, Telluride; Boxtrolls world premiere at Venice so still has a shot at Telluride, but no NYFF or TIFF), I’m surprised that there isn’t a little bit more of a vote of confidence that Kill the Messenger could be the one that they sent to Telluride, especially considering the US release date is already In the middle of NYFF and an otherwise poor pick for that festival. Focus has made it very clear that they intend on campaigning the film this year, and early screening reactions indicate that they definitely should. Focus used to have a real presence at Telluride too and usually try to send at least one film over. Dunno. It could still very easily skip the festival route, but given Focus’ strategic planning with it’s other 2 films, I’d at least give KTM a little better odds than that. KTM premiere at Telluride would fit Focus’ behavior pattern to a T.

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