The Telluride Film Festival
was started in 1974 by Bill and Stella Pence, Tom Luddy and Jim Card in the town of Telluride, Colorado
. It is operated by the National Film Preserve, LTD
During the 33rd Festival, Bill and Stella Pence announced that they would be retiring as Director and Managing Director. Gary Meyer was announced as the new Co-Director, with Tom Luddy. Julie Huntsinger was later hired to act as Managing Director. The festival is now based in Berkeley, California after years of having been based in Hanover, New Hampshire and later Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is held on Labor Day weekend each year, although you will not find the word “annual” on any information, posters or announcements regarding the festival.
The program is a mix of forgotten gems and films making their North American, and in some cases World, premieres. Each year, tributes are paid to directors and actors who have fundamentally changed the world of film.
Some noteworthy film premieres include: Sling Blade, Roger & Me, Gummo, The Crying Game, Amélie, El Mariachi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Swingers, Nosferatu, City of God, Bowling for Columbine,* El Norte, Rushmore, My Dinner with André, To End All Wars, Lost in Translation, The Qatsi Trilogy, Shattered Glass, Touching the Void, House of Flying Daggers,* The Fog of War,* Finding Neverland, Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, Capote, Conversations with Other Women, Elephant,* Gunner Palace, Kinsey, Yes, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Civil War by perennial attendee Ken Burns.
(Asterisks indicate American, not worldwide, premieres.)
Tributes have been paid to artists such as Gloria Swanson, Jack Nicholson, Gérard Depardieu, Clint Eastwood, Fay Wray, Klaus Kinski, Laura Linney, Isabelle Huppert, and Jodie Foster. The list of directors who've accepted Telluride tributes includes: Francis Ford Coppola, Werner Herzog, Chuck Jones, Robert Altman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Pedro Almodóvar, Ken Burns and Neil Jordan.
Not to be confused with Mountainfilm in Telluride, another film festival held annually in Telluride over Memorial Day weekend.
There are no prizes or awards given, unlike other film festivals
. Instead, simply being included in the program is an honor that a mere 40 or so films get to earn each year. The primary focus is on independent film
. In addition to features, a number of shorts and student films are also selected from myriad submissions each year. The program is created by co-directors Gary Meyer
, Tom Luddy
and a third, carefully chosen "guest director" each year. Past guest directors include Errol Morris
, Peter Bogdanovich
, Bertrand Tavernier
, Salman Rushdie
, Don DeLillo
, Peter Sellars
, Stephen Sondheim
and Buck Henry
, among others.
While the selection process involved in putting the program together is highly competitive, there are no juried awards given at this festival. There are, however, special honors bestowed upon a few people each year. These include:
- The Telluride Film Festival Silver Medallion - Typically, 3 of these are given out at each festival to actors and directors. Accompanying the medallion is a special tribute program of clips and films that exhibit the honoree's distinguished career and achievements.
- Telluride Film Festival Guest Directors: A guest director is chosen each year and serves to bring new ideas and overlooked films to Telluride
- The Festival is dedicated to a fallen friend of the festival, in the unfortunate event of one's passing.
Working for the festival
A staff of over 500 volunteers
comes together each year to build venues, project films, serve popcorn, and host special events. Each year, the festival offers a small number of production apprentice positions that people over the age of 21 can apply for. A wage is paid and housing is provided to these lucky few.
Unsolicited works may be submitted for consideration from May 1
to July 15
each year. Movies of any length, in any format, and in all genres and disciplines are eligible for consideration. Professional and amateur filmmakers working in all aesthetic disciplines and genres are welcome. The TFF has one key restriction, however, on feature length films: any works 60 minutes or longer which have had any public exposure in North America prior to the Labor Day event are immediately precluded from consideration.
The 34th Festival 2007
- Guest Director: Edith Kramer
- Tributees: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michel Legrand and Shyam Benegal
- Special Medallion: Leonard Maltin
- Films: Pierre Rissient: Man of Cinema (U.S., 2007, 115m), Secret Sunshine (South Korea, 2007, 142m), The Return of Norman Lloyd (U.S., 2007, 67m), Rails and Ties (U.S., 2007,108m), Five Days in June (France, 1989, 108m), The Young Girls of Rochefort (France, 1967, 124m), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France, 2007, 112m), 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Romania, 2007, 113m), The Band's Visit (Israel, 2007, 80m), A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (U.S., 2007, 83m), Angkur (India, 1974, 131m), Bhumika (India, 1977, 142m), Zubeidaa (India, 2001, 153m), The Counterfeiters (Austria, 2007, 98m), Persepolis (France-U.S., 2007, 96m), When Did You Last See Your Father? (UK, 2007, 92m), The Big Parade (U.S., 1925, 143m), Terror's Advocate (France, 2007, 135m), Into the Wild (U.S., 2007, 140m), George Kuchar, Moviemaker, Jar City (Iceland, 2007, 91m), Jellyfish (Israel, 2007, 78m), Blind Mountain (China, 2007, 95m), Brick Lane (UK, 2007, 102m), Bound by Chastity Rules (South Korea, 1962, 99m), My Enemy's Enemy (UK, 2007, 87m), People on Sunday (Germany, 1929, 73m), Cargo 200 (Russia, 2007, 90m), Margot at the Wedding (U.S., 2007, 100m), Encounters at the End of the World (U.S., 2007, 98m), I'm Not There (U.S., 2007, 135m), Help! (UK, 1965, 90m), Wind Man (Russia-Kazakhstan, 2007, 90m), Dillinger Is Dead (Italy, 1969, 95m), Journey with Peter Sellars (UK, 2007, 90m), Rediscovering Vitaphone, The Way You Wanted Me (Finland, 1944, 102m), Millions Like Us (UK, 1943, 101m), Marie, a Hungarian Legend (Hungary, 1932, 68m)
- Sneak Previews: Juno (U.S., 2007, 92m), The Savages (U.S., 2007, 113m), Redacted (U.S., 2007, 86m), The Princess of Nebraska (U.S., 2007, 78m)
- Shorts: Fission (d. Kun-I Chang, U.S., 2007 5m), L'Amerique Lunaire (d. François Reichenbach, France, 1962, 8m), Madame Tutli-Putli (d. Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, Canada, 2007, 17m), The Pearce Sisters (d. Luis Cook, UK, 2007, 9m), Salim Baba (d. Tim Sternberg, India-U.S., 2007, 15m), Spider (d. Nash Edgerton, Australia, 2007, 9m), Yours Truly (d. Osbert Parker, UK, 2007, 7m), The Replacement Child (d. Justin Lerner, U.S., 2007, 25m), In the Name of the Son (d. Harun Mehmedinovic, U.S./Bosnia/India, 2007, 25m), Joburg (d. Thabo Wolfaardt, South Africa, 2007, 22m).
The 33rd Festival 2006
- Guest Director: Jean-Pierre Gorin
- Tributees: Walter Murch, Penélope Cruz and Rolf de Heer
- Films: Murch (U.S., 2006), Jindabyne (Australia, 2006), Charmed Lives (England, 1968), Venus (UK 2006), The Italian (Russia, 2006), Volver (Spain, 2006), Infamous (U.S., 2006), 20,000 Streets Under the Sky (UK, 2006), The Page Turner (France, 2006), Civic Life (Ireland, 2006), Ten Canoes (Australia, 2006), Day Night Day Night (U.S./Germany, 2006), 12:08 East of Bucharest (Romania, 2006), The Lives of Others (Germany, 2006), The Sentimental Bloke (Australia, 1919), Ghosts of Cité Soleil (Denmark/U.S., 2006), Fur (U.S., 2006), Dodsworth (U.S., 1936), The U.S. vs. John Lennon (U.S., 2006), The Last King of Scotland (UK, 2006), Playtime (France, 1967), Little Children (U.S., 2006), Passio (Netherlands/Italy/U.S., 2006), Deep Water (UK, 2006), Lonesome (U.S., 1928), Babel (Mexico, 2006), Severance (UK, 2006), The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (Japan, 1986), Indignes "Days of Glory" (France-Algeria, 2006), Signs (France, 2006), No Third Company (Romania, 2006), Don't Move (Italy, 2004), Directed by John Ford (U.S. 1971/2006), Maldone (France, 1928), Remorques (France, 2006), Lumière d'Été (France, 1943)
- Shorts: Dreams and Desires - Family Ties (d. Joanna Quinn, UK, 2006 10m), Carmichael & Shane (d. Alex Weinress and Rob Carlton, Australia, 2005, 5m), When We Are Big "Als Wij Groot Zijn" (d. Eveline Ketterings, Netherlands, 2006, 7m), Rabbit (d. Run Wrake, Scotland, 2005, 9m), Din of Celestial Birds (d. Elias Merhige, U.S., 2006, 14m), Changes (d. Lorcan Finnegan, Ireland, 2006, 3m), Film Noir (d. Osbert Parker, UK, 2005, 3m), The Tube With A Hat (d. Radu Jude, Romania, 2006, 23m), Marilene De La P7 (d. Christian Nemescu, Romania, 2006, 45m), Bawke (d. Hisham Zaman, Norway, 2005, 15m), The Eyes of Alicia (d. Ugo Sanz, Spain, 2005, 8m), Delivery (d. Till Nowak, Germany, 2005, 9m), I Want To Be A Pilot (d. Diego Quemada-Diez, U.S., 2006, 12m), Burst (d. Juliet Lamont, Australia, 2006, 7m), Run (d. Peter Mackie Burns, Scotland, 2005, 9m), Useless Dog (d. Ken Wardrop, Ireland, 2004, 5m), Dead Letters (d. Paolo Rotondo, New Zealand, 2006, 13m), Cross Your Eyes Keep Them Wide (d. Ben Wu, 2006, 23m), Wolves in the Woods (d. B. J. Schwartz, 2006, 7m), High Maintenance (d. Phillip Van, 2006, 8m), Graceland (d. Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2006, 18m), Your Dark Hair Ihsan (d. Tala Hadid, 2005, 13m), Substitute (d. Talya Lavie, Israel, 2005, 19m)
- At the 33rd Festival, co-founders and directors Bill and Stella Pence announced their retirement. Gary Meyer will take over Bill's Position and continue working with Tom Luddy.
Each year, a small painting is applied to the sidewalk outside the Sheridan Hotel
to commemorate the near fatality of festival director Tom Luddy
The festival operations/production department is unofficially known as Vespucci Pictures, whose slogan is "Save a buck, make a buck".
There is a festival super hero; bike riding Cookie Boy.
Unlike most other film festivals, the Telluride Film Festival does not announce its program line-up in advance. Filmgoers purchase festival passes on faith, and the schedule is released the day before the Festival begins.
The Telluride Film Festival is rated among top 10 international festivals, as well as among the top 5 of U.S. Festivals, alongside Sundance, Austin Film Fest, AFI Fest and Tribeca.