The Telluride Film Festival takes place in Colorado every Labor Day weekend. That much is certain. What is not certain, however, are the films which will be playing there -- at least not until the screenings are about to begin. This is an oddity in the festival world which has no equal. Attendees truly have no idea what movies they'll be seeing until they've already arrived.
Clearly, anyone who makes a decision whether or not to go to an event based on the lineup is left out in the cold. This is one festival where the tickets must be purchased and travel plans made sight unseen. This always ensures a sold-out event as the films are typically World, North American, or US Premieres of films that are high-profile prospects for Oscar season. Attendees know this and rely on faith every year that their investment will pay off as travel plans are made well ahead of time.
The downside, for those of us attending the Toronto International Film Festival, is that Telluride always take place just prior to TIFF and often books films that are "scheduled" as World, International, or North American Premieres in Toronto. This essentially pulls the rug out from under TIFF and spoils their premiere status. On the other hand, Telluride is in reality a VIP-only event which means, as I'll explain below, that it "doesn't count" against TIFF's designations.
The rules are restrictive
. Unlike other festivals, individual tickets cannot be purchased in advance -- only just prior to the start of a screening. Only passes are sold ahead of time, and the cost can be prohibitive
. The area is also hard to reach so transportation and lodging is at a premium. So the nature of the festival and expense involved tends to restrict its attendance to industry insiders. This often does not allow Telluride to steal premiere status for these films and Toronto still gets to make that claim. It's a complicated formula but those are the de facto rules.
The 38th edition begins tomorrow and runs for four days, September 2-5. Here is the complete list of narrative features, documentaries, and shorts:
ALBERT NOBBS (d. Rodrigo Garcia, U.S., 2011)
THE ARTIST (d. Michel Hazanavicius, France, 2011)
BECOMING BERT STERN (d. Shannah Laumeister, U.S., 2011)
BITTER SEEDS (d. Micha X. Peled, U.S., 2011)
BONSÁI (d. Cristián Jiménez, Chile, 2011)
A DANGEROUS METHOD (d. David Cronenberg, U.K.-Switzerland-U.S.-Canada, 2011)
THE DESCENDANTS (d. Alexander Payne, U.S., 2011)
DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (d. Lisa Immordino-Vreeland, U.S., 2011)
FOOTNOTE (d. Joseph Cedar, Israel, 2011)
THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD (d. Joshua Marston, U.S.-Albania-Denmark-Italy, 2011)
GOODBYE FIRST LOVE (d. Mia Hansen-Løve, France, 2011)
LE HAVRE (d. Aki Kaurismäki, Finland, 2011)
HOLLYWOOD DON’T SURF (d. Greg Macgillivray, Sam George, U.S., 2011)
IN DARKNESS (d. Agnieszka Holland, Poland, 2011)
INTO THE ABYSS: A TALE OF DEATH, A TALE OF LIFE (d. Werner Herzog, U.S., 2011)
THE ISLAND PRESIDENT (d. Jon Shenk, U.S., 2011)
THE KID WITH A BIKE (d. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Belgium, 2011)
LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD (d. Martin Scorsese, U.S., 2011)
PASSERBY (d. Eryk Rocha, Brazil, 2011)
PERDIDA (d. Viviana García Besné, Mexico, 2011)
PINA (d. Wim Wenders, Germany, 2011)
A SEPARATION (d. Asghar Farhadi, Iran, 2011)
SHAME (d. Steve McQueen, U.K., 2011)
THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY (d. Mark Cousins, U.K., 2011)
TARGET (d. Alexander Zeldovich, Russia, 2011)
THE TURIN HORSE (d. Béla Tarr, Hungary, 2011)
THE WAY HOME (d. Dr. Biju, India, 2010)
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (d. Lynne Ramsey, U.K., 2011)
Director Caetano Veloso’s Guest Director Program
ANICETO (d. Leonardo Favio, Argentina, 2008)
THE APARTMENT (d. Billy Wilder, U.S., 1960)
BLACK GOD, WHITE DEVIL (d. Glauber Rocha, Brazil, 1964)
LE GRANDES MANOEUVRES (d. René Clair, France, 1955)
NORDESTE: CORDEL, REPENTE E CANÇÃO (d. Tânia Quaresma, Brazil, 1975)
VIVRE SA VIE (d. Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1962)
Additional Film Revivals
FROM MORNING TO MIDNIGHT (d. Karl-Heinz Martin, Germany, 1920) – Brand new original score performed live by the Alloy Orchestra.
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (d. Vasili Shukshin, Russia, 1972)
THE HOUSE ON TRUBNAYA SQUARE – (d. Boris Barnet, USSR, 1928) – A score by Dennis James, commissioned by the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley for its 25th Anniversary, will be performed by its composer and his Filmharmonia Ensemble.
SPOTLIGHT ON MARCEL PAGNOL – Two films will screen in celebration of the great French filmmaker: HARVEST (France, 1939) and MERLUSSE (France, 1938) introduced by Nicolas Pagnol and Alice Waters.
A TRIP TO THE MOON AND BEYOND – Serge Bromberg returns to Telluride with Georges Méliès’s famous 1902 “moon with a rocket in the eye” completely restored by Lobster Films and the Groupama Gan and Technicolor Foundation. Along with other surprises from attics and flea markets, Bromberg accompanies it all with live piano and stories.
AVENTURERA (d. Alberto Gout, Mexico, 1950)
DOCUMENTARY REVOLUTIONS: featuring two hour-long documentaries THE DOCUMENTARY FILM MOB (d. Chris Durlacher, U.K., 2011) and THE CAMERA THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (d. Mandy Chang, U.K., 2011)
I AM MY FILMS, PART 2… 30 YEARS LATER (d. Christian Weisenborn, Germany, 2011)
IN THE TRACKS OF GEORGE DELERUE (d.Pascale Cuenot, France, 2011)
MONDO LUX – DIE BILDERWELTEN DES WERNER SCHROETER (d. Elfi Mikesch, Germany, 2011)
NOTES FOR AN IMAGINARY BIOGRAPHY (d. Edgardo Cozarinsky, France, 2011)
SARRIS, SILENTS AND SOUNDS: a collection of short films including ANDREW SARRIS: CRITIC IN FOCUS (d. Casimir Nozkowski, U.S., 2011); SERGEI PROKOFIEV (d. Julia Titova, Russia, 2011); NIGHT HUNTER (d. Stacy Steers, U.S., 2011); and ODE TO THE DAWN OF MAN (d. Werner Herzog, U.S., 2011)
SODANKYLÄ FOREVER (d. Peter von Bagh, Finland, 2011)
TROPICÁLIA (d. Marcelo Machado, Brazil, 2011)