(Image from: filmbuff421 at https://flickr.com/photos/61632708@N07/5614319836)
My editor and I spent about 7 seconds spitballing a title for this column. If you love it, it was my idea and if it makes you cringe, obviously it was his brainchild. Feel free to submit your own dumb ideas for consideration.
Speaking of names, there will be lots of dropping (names) later this week when I arrive at 8500 dizzying feet above sea level to the 43rd annual Telluride Film Festival. I’ll be reporting all the movie news that matters from such high brow locales as the gondola, the town square and the bosom of an A-List actress.*
The Telluride Film Festival or the Telluride Film Festival as regulars like to call it, has a few parameters that make it, well, better than other film festivals. (I’m looking at you, Toronto Film Festival, you big Canadian baby.) (No offense, Canada, I may be seeking refuge in a couple months.)
Here’s the Telluride Film Festival 101 (aka Telluride for dummies aka Telluride for Shia Lebeouf):
Movies shown at this festival must be premiering in North America. In other words, films cannot have debuted at any other North American festival (that’s right, Sundance & Toronto), making it the most humbly exclusive festival on this continent.
The program is top secret until the first day of the festival and each day more secrets are revealed. Therefore, festival goers are not motivated by a specific movie, nor can attendees purchase tickets for a movie ahead of time. Instead, attendees trust the credibility of festival founders and producers to select a line up of films that center on a unifying theme and also please crowds.
On the topic of crowd pleasing, Telluride has premiered more Academy Award Best Picture winners than any other film festival. While I don’t love the politics of the Academy, this track record means high quality films clamor to premiere in this nosebleed town. It’s important to note that an equal number of student films and small independents find distribution and love among the mountains, as well.
Passes are finite, press is limited and actors and filmmakers must grant all attendees full access, which is why it’s not uncommon to eat beside George Clooney or share a gondola ride with Aaron Sorkin (obviously this is a very fast trip, jam-packed with quippy liberal dialogue). This approach creates a very close knit and democratic environment wherein even those who don’t purchase a pass can still interact with big movie stars and watch soon-to-be-award-winning movies at one of the many free opportunities and venues.
This will be our fifth year at the fest and I know it won’t disappoint. In anticipation of the opening day Friday September 2nd, check out these pics from years past and don’t judge how my face contorts when I’m around celebrities. Also, try not to focus on Jon Stewart’s nipples (BUT I KNOW IT’S DIFFICULT NOT TO).