Telluride is a small former mining town in southwest Colorado where Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank. Every Labor Day week-end it becomes crowded with film enthusiasts. With picturesque mountain scenery and an informal atmosphere, the Film Festival hosts major US and world premieres of major upcoming films.
Besides the local movie theater and a restored opera house, buildings like a high school and Mason’s Hall are reconfigured with top-flight projection equipment. Part of the library becomes a small screening room showing documentaries on filmmaking. There are now eight venues plus nightly outdoor screenings.
Telluride is known for very enjoyable conversations among film aficionados waiting in line for the next screening. A unique aspect is that passholders stand in the line with Festival guests, leading to some informal discussions with international filmmakers on the films they’ve brought to Telluride. (Patrons have a separate line for first access.) I was once in line in front of Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford.
Ever since Jeanne Moreau cancelled her appearance at an early Festival, the schedule is not announced in advance, adding a keen sense of anticipation. With a time-frame shorter than most film festivals, the schedule has a selective quality. It’s an intense experience where it’s impossible to see everything.
This year, Marion Cotillard (Oscar winner for “La Vie en Rose”), Danish Actor Mads Mikkelsen (the villain in “Casino Royale”) and producer/director/distributor Roger Corman received tributes.
In Telluride with new films were Ben Affleck, Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Dennis Quaid, Ray Liotta, Gael Garcia Bernal, Salman Rushdie, and Sarah Polley.
MORE TO COME in future posts.