Telluride Film Festival

feature telluride last day

The Venice Film Festival is in a unique position to capture the first blush of a film that might ultimately do well during Oscar season.  This was true of Gravity and it was true of Birdman. The next stop after Venice is Telluride, which is its own kind of launch pad that doesn’t necessarily need Venice, but once a film is highly praised in Venice the feeling is often contagious. What is it about Venice and Telluride that lends itself to this kind of impact? Timing. It’s all about timing.

As the summer comes to an anti-climactic close, it becomes more and more clear every year that the kinds of films critics are best suited to write about, the ones that keep them employed, the ones the adults will pay to see, are usually only let out of the gate in the fall season. By that point, there are hundreds of fingers waiting to hit the keypad. There is too much coverage for not enough material so being relatively “first” on the scene is crucial. This is as true of Venice and Telluride as it is of the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review (no, I do not distinguish between them anymore).

Right around now, critics and bloggers are preparing for these two festivals and waiting to be enthralled. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. We have no idea what kind of a year this will be, because so many of the films that are most anticipated aren’t making the festival rounds at all. The pattern has followed the same steps in the last few years — high anticipation builds for the Big Oscar Movies that are shown in October, November and sometimes December, while the movies seen at Telluride hover in the background and are mostly taken for granted (The Artist, The King’s Speech, Argo, Birdman). Last year the Oscar predictors were placing high on their lists films like Unbroken, Into the Woods and two that would make it in — American Sniper and Selma. Little attention is paid to possibilities seen at Telluride because there are so many big movies still waiting to be seen.

And yet, as we keep repeating here at AwardsDaily, the win always comes down to the girl next door — the familiar and reliable underdog that never felt like the frontrunner. The psychology of the voting consensus is as maddening in the Oscar race as it is in political elections. The moment you become a threat, forces work actively to take you down. It’s good but it’s not THAT good. Really, that’s the film that’s supposed to win Best Picture? I can guarantee you that both Birdman and Argo would have suffered that same fate if they were the predicted winners heading into the voting season. A few people (Kris Tapley) disagree with me on this — they think the movie is the movie is the movie. I think it’s a matter of perception; where our expectations lie determines how we perceive a film.  Last year, what really was the “little movie that could” and the “scrappy underdog,” Boyhood, was morphed into the mean ol’ frontrunner because it won so many critics awards. It might not have won Best Picture anyway but its formidable status in the race made it a punching bag.

Of course, none of this makes any difference if you’re holding onto a film like Slumdog Millionaire. It came into Telluride with the lowest possible expectations — rumors of it being released “straight to video” persisted. Once it hit big it never took a tumble, not even when the “poverty porn” accusations blew up, not even when the scandal involving the poor stars of the films took hold. Nothing was going to take that movie down.

Here we are once again facing the Venice Film Fest and the Telluride Film Fest colliding during Labor Day weekend. Jeff Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere made a short list of movies he expects to see on the list:

Steve Jobs, Suffragette, Black Mass, Spotlight, Son of Saul, Beasts of No Nation, Carol, Amazing Grace, Marguerite, CharlieKaufman‘s Anomalisa (probably), He Named Me Malala (maybe), Room, Hitchcock/Truffaut.

And our good pal Michael Patterson also put in his latest predictions:

15) “Taxi”
14) “Marguerite”
13) “Hitchcock/Truffaut”
12) “Anomalisa”
11) “Amazing Grace”
10) “Room”
9)   “Spotlight”
8)   “45 Years”
7)   “He Named Me Malala”
6)   “Carol”
5)   “Steve Jobs”
4)   “Black Mass”
3)   “Suffragette”
2)   “Beasts of No Nation”
1)   “Son of Saul”

What’s playing Venice that might be that seat-rocking out-of-body experience that sends the critics into a tailspin? In competition there is Cary Fukanaga’s Beasts of No Nation. It could launch big and then hit Telluride shortly thereafter generating that one-two punch we’re looking for. Out of competition Everest and Black Mass. Ditto. Although Everest was screened recently by critics thus it can’t have that first flush of the season when viewers see something no one else has yet seen, which only adds to the intensified landing.

45 Years is currently being hyped by Anne Thompson and others who’ve seen it. Charlotte Rampling has some great early buzz.  Do you see any potential Best Picture winners on this list?

We don’t yet know the Telluride lineup and it might not even include Beasts of No Nation, though Everest and Black Mass both seem likely. It will be a curious thing to see if Netflix can break into the game of Oscar. The Academy is ruled mostly by the five families with the sole recent exception of The Hurt Locker. Best Picture is usually Best Bread and Butter Picture existing within the confines of the Hollywood structure. Either way, as we sit perched on the edge of the free fall we wait with eager anticipation.

AwardsDaily rolls into Telluride on the 3rd of September. Watch for diaries, photos, periscoping, twitter and more.

 

beasts-of-no-nation-poster

Michael Patterson has been predicting the Telluride lineup for a while now and has compiled what he thinks are the ten most likely titles to land. Why it matters: Telluride has screened the Best Picture winner for the past ten years. Not since The Departed has the eventual winner not screened — or premiered — either at Telluride or somewhere else before Telluride.

2014 – Birdman — Venice/Telluride
2013 – 12 Years a Slave — Telluride
2012 – Argo — Telluride
2011 – The Artist — Cannes/Telluride
2010 – The King’s Speech — Telluride
2009 – The Hurt Locker — (year prior)
2008 – Slumdog Millionaire — Telluride
2007 – No Country for Old Men — Cannes

Why this rule continues to apply has to do, I think, with the Academy’s decision to push their ceremony date back one month, which eventually shifted everything back, which now means the race is decided behind the scenes. It also could be the safe harbor Telluride represents. Unlike other film festivals, critics and bloggers must pay their own way in at $750 a pop. Thus, the attendance is limited to those who are either being sent there by bigger outlets or there because their passion for film compels them to be there. Also, the Telluride people who select the films could have similar tastes to industry voters.

Patterson has chosen ten films he thinks will go. Is the eventual Best Picture winner among them? Or will this be the year the streak is finally broken?

Here are the features he’s predicting
Steve Jobs
Carol
Suffragette
Room
Anomalisa
Beasts of No Nation
Black Mass
Son of Saul

These will represent the underdogs expected to beat the Big Oscar Movies coming out in October or later in the year and those include: Bridge of Spies, The Revenant, Spotlight, etc.  And the ones already seen in Cannes that could have a shot: Sicario, Youth and the already mentioned Carol.

Telluride begins at the end of this month, right on the heels of the Venice Film Festival.

sky

One of the best things about going to Telluride is meeting up with people I only get to see once a year, or thereabouts. Some of them will drift in and out of the upcoming events in Los Angeles but not most. They come from all over the country to attend the festival and I have to admit seeing them is always the thing I look forward to. It’s right up there with hot coffee at the morning screening up at the Chuck Jones.

I briefly chatted with film critic James Rocchi who had come to Telluride for the first time, along with his wife. He said he loved it so far but that he felt a little guilty about being “in the bubble” of it all and not being sure whether or not he liked that. He knows that the hype machine begins high up in the Colorado mountains and he is one of the few who chafes against the Oscar race because he wonders why so many people care about the opinions of a few thousand privileged old white dudes. He has a point. He’s always had a point. Most of us come to the Oscar race hoping it will mean more, that sooner or later the Oscar race is going to matter, really matter beyond the sparkle and shimmy of a celebrity parade. Do they matter? I don’t know. I dive in every year thinking that they matter in terms of politics and power in Hollywood and that winning one can make a person feel as though their time was not wasted.

This was a cool weekend in Telluride with a bright clear blue sky, the occasional gusts of chilly wind and always that piercing high altitude sunlight. You could do nothing else but walk around the town and have the best time. That they hide away screenings in Masonic temples and school auditoriums is all the more delightful. Even after coming to the fest for four years now I never know what to pack. I just never end up with the right clothes so that I never wear anything I brought, and curse myself for not bringing the right clothes. Comfortable shoes are a must. No one really dresses up because they all look like REI catalogue models. Hiking boots, jeans and fleece, the occasional puffy jacket, a scarf. Forget the groovy city ankle boots, the short dresses, and above all, the high heels.

Chris Willman has become one of my Telluride pals. We never see each other in Los Angeles, hardly ever, but for some reason we always end up hanging out here or there, waiting in line, etc. He introduced me to the Feed, something I knew nothing about. That is a meal that takes place on Friday after the first screening (this one was Wild). The Telluride fest rolls out a lavish meal for all badge holders. I had no idea. Chris dragged me into it for salmon and a beer. Imagine that. A free meal.

First Showing’s Alex Billington and Film Journal’s Tomris Laffly are part of my pack in the mountains. We tend to gravitate towards one another in line or at parties and always sit together when we can. Theirs are two of the opinions I always seek out because we all three have similar sensibilities. We don’t always agree, of course, but they are both as passionate about movies as I feel movies deserve. Telluride blogger Michael and (artist) Kristy Patterson are two I didn’t get enough time to hang out with before I headed out of town. Michael Patterson’s countdown to the Telluride Film Fest and subsequent opinion gathering are vital aspects to the season. And my old pal Jeff Wells was my roommate. He works himself late into the evening, wakes up at 6am and starts all over again. He’s tireless in his time investment. You could say we were exactly the opposite in that way. At one point I had to just check out and cook a slow meal at the condo for the teenagers and Jeff. It was just like playing house!

I will never catch up with Anne Thompson, Kris Tapley, Greg Ellwood, and other journalists who just do the work really well. As if interviewing Jon Stewart wasn’t enough, Thompson also worked in a book signing for her successful $11 Billion Year at Between the Covers. I value each of their opinions, too, especially where Oscar is concerned. But the Oscar guru is now and will always be Mr. Pete Hammond, who hangs out with Academy members. I spent a gondola ride down with Hammond and his brilliant storytelling wife Madelyn, along with Peggy Siegel and Sig Ganis. They didn’t talk movies but that’s the kind of world Pete dwells in. He knows them. He knows what they like. Actually, they did report that they loved Wild.

“If this thing goes down,” Pete said, “The whole Oscar race goes with it.” Pete and I grabbed a couple of drinks and talked hardcore Oscar at the Fox Searchlight party. We were both on the hunt for “the one.” So far, we don’t know what’s coming. After three greyhounds and two glasses of wine I stumbled out of the Sheridan as the last call lights were coming up. I walked with Pete down the road a bit to finish our conversation then I pulled my puffy jacket on and found my way back to our condo. It was a mistake to drink that much. I could not wake up and face the next day, my last, in Telluride with a raging hangover. A couple cups of coffee, some water, Advil – nothing was helping. It was time to pack it in. There was much left to do but I was facing a two-day drive back to Los Angeles with two teenagers and an abandoned puppy I was becoming more and more attached to as the weekend wore on. I am not sure I will be able to part with him, tbh.

We drove through the Four Corners and Monument Valley on our way to Kingman, Arizona, where our hotel waited for us. We let the puppy out for bathroom break – a dusty, forgotten Res dog sniffing the cracked mud dimpled with carefully assembled homes for dung beetles. One dog found and rescued but hundreds more wander the reservations in packs, gathered around the Burger King. Navajo Preservation Center presented by Burger King.

With Telluride a world away, I was thinking about real life versus the bubble I dwell in. What does any of it have to do with anything? Turns out, not much. It is reserved for remaining few who still believe films can change the world. Or maybe they just change us. There was a Birdman and a Foxcatcher, a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and women who were evacuated out of the West they hoped to help settle. These artists still care to make movies that might make a difference to someone, somewhere. I’m left with the last frame of Jon Stewart’s Rosewater — the image of youthful defiance in the face of oppression.. I just realized I went around the world and back, nestled in the higher altitudes, movies and the people who love them.

IMG_5612b

IMG_5614

IMG_5634

IMG_5557

IMG_5552

Fox Searchlight Party
Fox Searchlight Party
Jean Marc Vallee and Reese Witherspoon
Jean Marc Vallee and Reese Witherspoon
Laura Dern and Alejandro Inarritu
Laura Dern and Alejandro Inarritu
Alex and Tomris
Alex and Tomris

IMG_5549

Rosewater
Rosewater
Wild
Wild

IMG_5688b

Them teens
Them teens

IMG_5673

IMG_5667

IMG_5419

We had no way of knowing that our two day drive to Telluride would eventually take us to a gas station where, in the midst of Trader Joe’s snacks flying around the car, boy bands blaring on the stereo, the dim hum of girl talk which ranges from politics to cats to awkward sex jokes to whether or not we like the shape of our boobs, we would happen upon a dirty but affectionate puppy someone had left at a gas station in the middle of the American West, approaching the Four Corners.

Heavy immovable clouds hung on the horizon. Horses roamed freely. America is one of the prettiest places to drive through and life is too short to have it all pass by on an airplane. Still, such a long drive does take its eventual toll. Though something got us to the right place at the right time — a gas station in Navajo country where a little dog was left in hopes someone might pick him up. He was so small and vulnerable anything could have taken him, a car, a hard rain. He got lucky. We got luckier.

Usually abandoned dogs or lost dogs will run from you if you try to save them. Believe me, I’ve tried. This dog didn’t. He somehow knew on some primal level that his only hope of survival was charming any human into giving him food or taking him in. We did both. The benevolent act was enough to make the whole trip worthwhile, though the shadow that followed it was this: people leave dogs at gas stations.

The Telluride Film Festival starts today. Last night there was a gathering at the Sheridan Hotel. First Showing’s Alex Billington had kindly sent me the email chain invite to a party I wasn’t invited to. Chris Willman had also driven in and invited me to come and see Life Itself at the outdoor movie theater. That would have been something, as Telluride’s sky is nothing but deep blue and blankets of stars. But, as my teen traveling companions would say, TBH (to be honest), I was looking forward to getting into a warm bed with good wi-fi and the chance to reconnect to what was happening in the world.

Hollywood-Elsewhere’s Jeff Wells secured a whole house to rent for the fest and kindly offered me two rooms — one for me, and a whole downstairs with its own bathroom and television for the teenagers and their new pal, a scruffy puppy they named Cooper Navajo. We got lucky this time with so much space.

The puppy settled in for the night, after some burgers and a gentle cleaning. He seemed to be smiling, even though we know dogs might actually not do this. He had three overly attentive females doting on him. He slept and then he slept some more. One tiny life out on the unforgiving mesa spared.

It’s cold here in Telluride — bright, clear and cold. It’s puffy jacket weather. Coffee weather. This morning is the Patron’s Brunch where we will reconnect with many Telluride regulars — Ken Burns will probably be milling about. Ditto Alice Waters. There will be champagne, lots of good food, and a long wait for the bus to take us back down the hill. Afterwards, I will probably try to catch the first screening of Wild, the first of the Big Oscar Movies to show here. The Frances Ford Coppola Apocalypse Now tribute repeats tomorrow morning so I’ll do catch-up then. Film history is not something to miss.

Birdman has the feel of something special where the Oscar race is concerned and appears to be the strongest contender out of this festival. But it’s also possible this year will break the streak, that Best Picture won’t come from here at all but from a film released in a different way, Toronto, New York or one that bypasses the festival circuit entirely. It is only a pattern until that pattern is broken.

Day one, and we’re off.

IMG_5430

IMG_5431

IMG_54332

IMG_5436

IMG_5441

IMG_5419

birdman

41st edition plays host to 25 new feature films in its main program

Tribute programs honoring Volker Schlöndorff, Hilary Swank and the 35th Anniversary of Apocalypse Now

Telluride, CO (August 28, 2014) – Telluride Film Festival, presented by the National Film Preserve, today announced its official program selections for the 41st edition of Telluride Film Festival. TFF’s annual celebration of artistic excellence brings together cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers and artists to discover the best in world cinema in the beautiful mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. TFF will screen 85 feature films, short films and revivals representing twenty-eight countries, along with special artist Tributes, Conversations, Panels, Education Programs and Festivities.

Telluride Film Festival takes place Friday, August 29 – Monday, September 1, 2014.

41st Telluride Film Festival is proud to present the following 25 new feature films to play in its main program:

  • · THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT (d. Martin Scorsese, David Tedeschi, U.K.-U.S., 2014)
  • · ’71 (d. Yann Demange, U.K., 2014)
  • · 99 HOMES (d. Ramin Bahrani, U.S., 2014)
  • · BIRDMAN (d. Alejandro González Iñárritu, U.S., 2014)
  • · DANCING ARABS (d. Eran Riklis, Israel-Germany-France, 2014)
  • · THE DECENT ONE (d. Vanessa Lapa, Australia-Israel-Germany, 2014)
  • · DIPLOMACY (d. Volker Schlöndorff, France-Germany, 2014)
  • · FOXCATCHER (d. Bennett Miller, U.S., 2014)
  • · THE GATE (d. Régis Wargnier, France-Belgium-Cambodia, 2014)
  • · THE HOMESMAN (d. Tommy Lee Jones, U.S., 2014)
  • · THE IMITATION GAME (d. Morten Tyldum, U.K.-U.S., 2014)
  • · LEVIATHAN (d. Andrey Zvgagintsev, Russia, 2014)
  • · THE LOOK OF SILENCE (d. Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark-Indonesia-Norway-Finalnd-U.S., 2014)
  • · MADAME BOVARY (d. Sophie Barthes, U.K.-Belgium, 2014)
  • · MERCHANTS OF DOUBT (d. Robert Kenner, U.S., 2014)
  • · MOMMY (d. Xavier Dolan, Canada, 2014)
  • · MR. TURNER (d. Mike Leigh, U.K., 2014)
  • · THE PRICE OF FAME (d. Xavier Beauvois, France, 2014)
  • · RED ARMY (d. Gabe Polsky, U.S.-Russia, 2014)
  • · ROSEWATER (d. Jon Stewart, U.S., 2014)
  • · THE SALT OF THE EARTH (d. Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Brazil-Italy-France, 2014)
  • · TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER (d. Nick Broomfield, U.K.-U.S, 2014)
  • · TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (d. Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Belgium-Italy-France, 2014)
  • · WILD (d. Jean-Marc Valleé, U.S., 2014)
  • · WILD TALES (d. Damián Szifrón, Argentina-Spain, 2014)

Additional Sneak Previews may play outside the main program and will be announced on the Telluride Film Festival website over the course of the four-day weekend. Visit the TFF website for updates www.telluridefilmfestival.org.

The 2014 Silver Medallion Awards, given to recognize an artist’s significant contribution to the world of cinema, go to German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff who will present his latest work DIPLOMACY as part of the Tribute program, his 1992 collaboration with Billy Wilder, BILLY, HOW DID YOU DO IT? and his 1970 film BAAL starring Rainer Werner Fassbinder, both of which will play elsewhere in the program; Two-time Academy award-winning actress Hilary Swank (BOYS DON’T CRY, MILLION DOLLAR BABY) who stars in TFF selection, THE HOMESMAN; and in celebration of its 35th Anniversary, Francis Ford Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW – screened from a new DCP of the original theatrical cut – including guests Coppola, screenwriter John Milius, producer-casting director Fred Roos, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and editor-sound designer Walter Murch.

Guest Directors Guy Maddin and Kim Morgan, who serve as key collaborators in the Festival’s program, present the following six films:

  • · CALIFORNIA SPLIT (d. Robert Altman, U.S., 1974)
  • · IL GRIDO (d. Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy, 1957)
  • · M (d. Joseph Losey, U.S., 1951)
  • · A MAN’S CASTLE (d. Frank Borzage, U.S., 1933)
  • · THE ROAD TO GLORY (d. Howard Hawks, U.S., 1936)
  • · WICKED WOMAN (d. Russell Rouse, U.S., 1953)

Additional film revivals include CHILDREN OF NO IMPORTANCE (d. Gerhard Lamprecht, Germany, 1926) and TOO MUCH JOHNSON (d. Orson Welles, U.S., 1938) both presented by the Pordenone Silent Film Festival with live accompaniment by Donald Sosin; a collection of short films by Carroll Ballard forming the program, CARROLL BALLARD: SEEMS LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY; and WHERE EAGLES DARE (d. Brian G. Hutton, U.S., 1968) from a print courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Backlot, Telluride’s intimate screening room featuring behind-the-scenes movies and portraits of artists, musicians and filmmakers, will screen the following nine programs:

  • · BERTOLUCCI ON BERTOLUCCI (d. Walter Fasano, Luca Guadagnino, Italy, 2013)
  • · FORBIDDEN FILMS (d. Felix Moeller, Germany, 2014)
  • · HOW TO SMELL A ROSE (d. Les Blank, Gina Leibrecht, U.S.-France, 2014)
  • · I STOP TIME (d. Gunilla Bresky, Sweden-Russia, 2014)
  • · KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON (d. Alan Hicks, U.S., 2014)
  • · MAGICIAN (d. Chuck Workman, U.S., 2014)
  • · NIGHT WILL FALL (d. André Singer, U.K.-U.S.-Israel, 2014)
  • · SEYMOUR (d. Ethan Hawke, U.S., 2014)
  • · SOCIALISM (d. Peter von Bagh, Finland, 2014)

“When we finish putting together the program there is a moment of absolute joy,” said Telluride Film Festival executive director Julie Huntsinger. “We never know what the film world will bring us when we set out each year, but with incredible gratitude to the filmmakers and artists and satisfaction in knowing we have screened everything imaginable, we are once again thrilled to present the absolute best in new American and world cinema and treasured films from the past. We hope our audience will be as inspired as we are. “

Telluride Film Festival annually celebrates heroes of cinema who preserve, honor and present great movies. The 2014 Special Medallion award goes to Cineteca di Bologna and Gian Luca Farinelli for the significant role played in film restoration and preservation of film culture. JOYFUL LAUGHTER, Mario Monicelli’s masterpiece from 1960 is a recent example of Bologna’s restorative work and will screen as part of the program.

Telluride Film Festival’s SHOWcase for Shorts features fourteen short films chosen to precede select feature films; Filmmakers of Tomorrow includes three programs: Student Prints, Great Expectations, and Calling Cards from eighteen emerging filmmakers.

Telluride Film Festival’s Education Programs present students the opportunity to experience film as an art and expand participants’ worldview through film screenings and filmmaker discussions. The Student Symposium provides 54 graduate and undergraduate college students a weekend-long immersion in cinema. The City Lights Project, now in its 15th year, brings 21 high school students and seven teachers from four divergent schools the opportunity to participate in a concentrated program of screenings and discussions. FilmLAB offers a master-class program for UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television graduate filmmaking students. The Roger Ebert/TFF University Seminars give university professors and students the opportunity to travel to the Festival each year to participate in special programming and to attend screenings throughout the weekend.

Telluride Film Festival’s Talking Heads programs allow attendees to go behind the scenes with the Festival’s special guests. Six Conversations take place between Festival guests and the audience about cinema and culture, and three outdoor Noon Seminars feature a panel of Festival guests discussing a wide range of film topics. These programs are free and open to the public.

Various Festivities will take place throughout the Festival including Book Signings with Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Maziar Bahari (Then They Came for Me), Sayed Kashua (Dancing Arabs), Werner Herzog (A Guide for the Perplexed), and Ted Hope (Hope for Film); Quincy Jones presents: Justin Kauflin in Concert, music from KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON; and Behind the Scenes: Feast and Lava where makers of Disney’s FEAST and Pixar’s LAVA share their inspiration behind and creation of two memorable animation films.

Corporate support at Telluride Film Festival plays an essential role in the life of the Festival and underscores the Festival’s commitment to quality, adventure and distinction in the art of cinema. TFF is privileged to collaborate with some of the world’s most renowned consumer and entertainment brands, including Turner Classic Movies, EY, Audible.com, Film Finances, Inc., Meyer Sound, Bombardier Business Aircraft, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Universal Studios; and excited to welcome new partners Blu Homes, Peter G. Dodge Foundation, Vimeo, Speck– each of which are aligned with a unique feature of the festival. Equally, Telluride Film Festival is extremely proud of its committed relationships with UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Americas Film Conservancy, London Hotels: NYC & West Hollywood, Dolby, Teatulia, Telluride Alpine Lodging, New Sheridan Hotel, The Hollywood Reporter, Cinedigm, Boston Light and Sound, Land Rover North America, Canon, Dell, Novo Coffee and Time Warner Cable Business Class.

Huntsinger comments, “We simply could not present Telluride Film Festival without the generous support of our sponsors, who believe in what we do and back us meaningfully and repeatedly. “

The 41st Telluride Film Festival’s program will be posted in its entirety on Thursday, August 28, 2014. Visit www.telluridefilmfestival.org to download the Program Guide.

Film stills and Festival images available upon request. Email shannon@telluridefilmfestival.org for more information.

About Telluride Film Festival

The prestigious Telluride Film Festival ranks among the world’s best film festivals and is an annual gathering for film industry insiders, cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers and critics. TFF is considered a major launching ground for the fall season’s most talked-about films. Founded in 1974, Telluride Film Festival, presented in the beautiful mountain town of Telluride, Colorado, is a four-day international educational event celebrating the art of film. Telluride Film Festival’s long-standing commitment is to join filmmakers and film connoisseurs together to experience great cinema. The exciting schedule, kept secret until Opening Day, consists of over two dozen filmmakers presenting their newest works, special Guest Director programs, three major Tributes to guest artists, special events and remarkable treasures from the past. Telluride Film Festival is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational program. Festival headquarters are in Berkeley, CA.

Cannes 2014: Mr Turner

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.

J.-D.-Salinger-Wallpaper

J.-D.-Salinger-Wallpaper

Who hasn’t been captivated at one time or another by J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, one of the greatest American novels ever written. Probably we shouldn’t need to know much about the genius behind the book because, as the genius himself admits, the work should speak for itself. And indeed, Catcher in the Rye has spoken to many for decades, in ways good and bad. Is it Salinger’s fault that so many crazies identify with Holden Caufield’s shunning of the adult world? Or was he merely tapping into the modern American psyche post WWII? Do young, smart, white men feel isolated by what the world has become and do they find an ally in Holden?

The new doc, called simply Salinger, had its premiere at Telluride this morning. Director Shane Salerno had been working on the film for ten years. Keeping close wraps on the information contained in the film (based on the book by David Shields and Salreno http://www.amazon.com/Salinger-David-Shields/dp/1476744831) was of utmost importance but all of that rolled out today. So fresh was much of this news to the audience that Joyce Maynard (here for Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, upon which her novel is based), who attended the screening, had mascara smeared under her eyes from tears she shed. Later, after the screening and in the lobby, Maynard said that over the past twenty years not a day has gone by that she hasn’t thought of Salinger.

Continue reading…

IMG_8732

“For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.”
–Yeats

“Can I see the stars, Mommy?” A young boy of around five asked his mother on the gondola ride down from the Coen brothers tribute yesterday here in Telluride. “Maybe,” she said, in a patient voice. “If the sky is clear enough tonight.”

IMG_8771

“See that building with all of the windows down there? That’s my school down there,” he said. His mother kept pulling his feet back from where he was lightly kicking me. “It’s okay,” I said. “Well, yeah, but…” His mother wanted to teach him manners. He closed his eyes tightly as the gondola clanged to a stop, the sliding doors opened and we clambering out.

The night before I’d been one of the lucky ones to catch 12 Years a Slave’s premiere at the Galaxy with Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt in attendance. Pitt is one of the producers on the film as well as a supporting player. It’s the only film I’ve seen this week that received a standing ovation. Like Shame and Hunger, McQueen’s new film clutches at the the heart and mind, imprinting itself somewhere inside you permanently. Its harsh depiction of slavery, the talented cast, and McQueen’s gift for long takes made it a true standout. The buzz around Telluride was that it was the strongest film to hit the festival. 12 Years a Slave marks McQueen’s 3rd Telluride premiere and each of them have received the same kind of ecstatic buzz.

Continue reading…

Telluride 2012

Yeah so your Best Picture winner? Chances are it will show up at Telluride this year, if not at Cannes.  It might then meander up to Toronto but, what with the way films are violently attacked these days, seems like they show up earlier rather than later, perhaps in order to get the dirt over and done with before Oscar season starts.

Telluride Film Festival, presented by the National Film Preserve, announces its 40th Anniversary set to run August 29 – September 2, 2013. An additional day of festivities has been added to the usual four-day Festival, making room for a five-day bounty of special programming and festivities. The National Film Preserve is a not-for-profit arts and educational organization that annually presents the Telluride Film Festival.

Festival passes will be available for purchase beginning tomorrow, March 1, 2013. Festival passes may be purchased atwww.telluridefilmfestival.org/passes. Pass levels and descriptions may also be found on the Festival’s website. Pricing will not increase given the additional day in 2013.

Telluride Film Festival, along with the Town of Telluride, is also pleased to announce it is creating a new venue in time for its 40thAnniversary celebration. The Werner Herzog Theatre will be situated in Telluride’s Town Park Pavilion and become the Festival’s most technologically advanced theatre accommodating 650 pass holders. Telluride Film Festival is committed to present not only the best quality films but in the most state of the art manner. TFF is also committed to maximizing pass holder enjoyment, valuing its intimate, relaxed atmosphere and will not be expanding its 2013 pass holder base.

In keeping with Festival tradition, Telluride Film Festival does not announce its program in advance, though the 40th promises to be a grand reunion highlighting all the elements of the last forty years. During this special edition of the SHOW, the Festival is thrilled it will be able to showcase its technical excellence and provide its pass holders and sponsors the highest level of service while presenting the world’s greatest films and filmmakers.

 

This Thursday, I will be flying out to Telluride for the first legit stop on the slow train to Oscar in this 2012/2013 season. The fest will run from Friday through Monday and I’ll be back by Tuesday. I will be taking pictures of the place and writing up film reviews, possibly some interviews and tweeting from @awardsdaily a lot.

The rumblings about the titles was discussed on the latest Oscar Poker. Essentially, the Telluride lineup has not yet been fully announced — and that happens on Thursday as well.

Last year, The Descendants was really the big get, but The Artist playing on the outdoor theater screen was still the movie almost everyone was talking about. The talk started in Cannes and didn’t stop until the film won Best Picture. Our Best Picture for this year is still hidden. Will it pop up in Telluride or Toronto? Or will it reveal itself later in the year?

Sasha’s own hand-held giggle-cam videography.

The idea to drive into Albuquerque and make the nearly six hour drive to Telluride turned out to be a good one by my travel mate, Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com.  At first it seemed like the way to go was to wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am it and fly in just for the film fest.  But to know a place, to fall in love with a place, it is sometimes necessary, advisable even, to take a different route than everyone else might take.  The work is the work, but the place is the place. And when it comes to Telluride, Colorado, and all of the magnificent landscape that surrounds it, a broader view is the way to go.  I will admit fully, though, that as a “Telluride virgin” perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about.  I’ll take that chance.

New Mexico was covered with a swatch of moisture-soaked clouds threatening to rain and every now and then letting some raindrops go – in bursts sometimes.  Every once in a while there’d be an ominous flash of lightning splitting the flat horizon line, darkening as we headed toward Durango.  We would make it to our hotel by 11pm, a full hour earlier than expected, careful to avoid the many cop cars which were pulling people over right and left, looking an awful lot like immigrant purging but one brings one’s liberal agenda with them everywhere.

Continue reading…

Official Telluride press release:

George Clooney, Pierre Étaix and Tilda Swinton to receive Silver Medallion Awards

Over twenty-five new features plus revival programs and unique programming from Guest Director Caetano Veloso will be presented as part of the 2011 exhibition

Telluride, CO (September 1, 2011) – Telluride Film Festival (September 2-5, 2011), presented by the National Film Preserve, announces its program for the 38th Telluride Film Festival. Featuring diverse programming from around the globe, TFF once again sets the stage for some of the year’s most highly anticipated films.

TFF opens its 38th year with over twenty-five new feature films plus special artist tributes, Guest Director programs selected by Caetano Veloso, Backlot programs, classics and restorations, shorts, student films, seminars and conversations, each introduced or proceeded with a Q&A by its filmmaker, actors, writer or producer. Telluride Film Festival opens Friday, September 2 and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 5.

Continue reading…

September is here at last.  Two festivals are about to decide the fates of several films in the running for Oscar.  In Venice, judgment calls have already been made on The Ides of March, W.E. and Carnage.  Telluride starts tomorrow and there will even more of these first impression snap judgments coming out.  I’ve been covering the Oscar race for going on twelve years now and I can tell you that it just gets more and more bizarre every year.  We all really have to stop and take a breath, not be so eager to jump in and say: in or out.  In the end, we’re still talking about works of art, films that have taken years, some of them, to get made.  Writer, actors, directors, crew, composers, costumers – they’ve put a lot of time and effort into the films we’re all seeing.  Is it really fair to simply write them off because a few people responded unkindly?  Conversely, with perverse reverse psychology, the hype of premature admiration can sometimes destroy a film.  While it can often lift a contender into the Oscar race for nominations, by the time the actual voting comes around, the film feels deflated.  It’s a crazy, dirty game and it’s weirder than it’s ever been.

Continue reading…

Labor Day has passed, and with it so has another Telluride Film Festival.  While it may not have had a huge splash like Juno or Slumdog Millionaire, and the stars that attended were minimal, it was still a good time.  In the seven years I have attended, I have never had this perfect of weather while in the city.  Typically, winter decides to make its first appearance during the festival with a rainstorm that turns to snow.  Instead, sunny and clear, and I think a lot of festivalgoers took to the trails and enjoyed the sun as well as many said they took it easy this year.

Continue reading…

natalie-portman-black-swan_01

“I just want to be perfect,” is a line said by Natalie Portman early on in Black Swan. ¬†Her strive for perfection will lead to madness in what ends up being my favorite movie out of Telluride, and possibly my new favorite of the year.

Darren Aronofsky has had an interesting career. ¬†At a courthouse conversation, he talked about how he’ll probably never have a big studio picture because the bigwigs and him never really can agree on something. ¬†Despite his recent success with The Wrestler, he had a harder time getting funding for Black Swan because of the struggling economy, and what studio is going to fund a movie about a ballerina?

In my opinion, Aronofsky hasn’t used his true talent in The Fountain and The Wrestler. It’s tough to criticize The Fountain because of the troubles he went through to even get the movie made. ¬†And while I’m a big fan of The Wrestler, it doesn’t compare to the creativity and energy that Aronofsky displayed in his masterful Requiem For A Dream. I’m ecstatic to say that Aronofsky returns to using that talent in Black Swan, and in Telluride, it seems to be polarizing audiences. ¬†People either love it or hate it. ¬†I think that’s a good sign.

Continue reading…

This morning I attended Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist. It was an unproduced script by famous filmmaker Jacques Tati, and I’d like to think Tati would be happy with Chomet’s work. ¬†Chomet essentially makes an animated Tati film, complete with comedic setpieces, little to no dialog (most of it is inaudible mumbles), and great use of the entire screen.

The best moments in the movie are those that seem to clearly be Tati. ¬†Consider the scenes where the “Illusionist” is mistaken as a car mechanic, and takes watch of a rich man’s car. ¬†Or the scene where “The Illusionist” catches the young girl holding hands with a boyfriend, and hides in a movie theater, only for Mon Oncle to be playing on screen at the same time. ¬†Both scenes tell separate stories, and give you the same sense of enjoyment that you had while watching his other movies. ¬†That’s not to say that the movie has flaws.

Continue reading…

imgres-1
It’s always interesting to see what directors will do as their next project after they win Oscars. ¬†They are given freedom that they sometimes didn’t have before as production companies have more faith in them. ¬†In some cases, directors get to do dream projects.

Then take Danny Boyle. ¬†Like his movies or not, you can’t deny that he may be one of the more eclectic directors around. ¬†He’s done horror, science fiction, romantic comedy, won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, and now uses all his tricks in 127 Hours. ¬†While James Franco may occupy the screen for the entirety of the film, its all about Danny Boyle.

never let me go 2

[NOTE: Never Let Me Go is built around a premise that reveals itself gradually with unsettling banality. The circumstances are made clear early on, but if you’d rather discover the situation unprepared then you’ll want to skip reading about the details that any review will have trouble avoiding. This one included.]

Never Let Me Go is a dystopian film in England that is based on the famous book with the same name. A school of students are being groomed to healthy lives for their respective “real” selves in the outside world. However, this is not a science-fiction movie at all. Although part of it is based on coming to terms with reality, the movie’s strength and core is coming to terms with relationships and love. Unfortunately, the movie distances itself from the viewer too much to ever really shock viewers when its main emotional scenes arrive.

I have not read the book, but there are some tough themes to deal with, and I think it’s something that works better on paper then onscreen. Carey Mulligan effectively leads the way with Keira Knightley trying her best to keep up. Both are far superior to the new Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, who forces sadness throughout the movie, and is given a predicted scene that doesn’t work when seen visually. Although can one really say that it was Garfield’s fault for that scene? Carey Mulligan’s second tremendous lead performance shows that she’s one of the best young actresses around. She shows longing without forcing a tear or a scream, usually its just in a stare that includes confusion and jealousy while she watches the loveless couple go at it in the cottages.

Continue reading…

Diverse as always, the Telluride Film Festival presents its usual eclectic mix of standout films, foreign gems, and old classics.

Documentaries look to have a major focus this year in Telluride. Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones will be premiering A Letter to Elia, a full-length documentary about the late Elia Kazan. Errol Morris and Ken Burns will also be premiering their documentaries, Tabloid and The 10th Inning. Tabloid is about a former Miss Wyoming that abducts and imprisons a Mormon Missionary, and The 10th Inning is a follow up to Ken Burns’ famous Baseball miniseries. Werner Herzog will also be present for his documentary about the indigenous people of the village Bakhtia at the river Yenisei in the Siberian Taiga. To round it up, the Cannes favorite, Inside Job, will also be making its U.S. premiere.

Continue reading…

Sign In

Register

Reset Your Password

Email Newsletter