Telluride Film Festival

Telluride Film Festival

Jon Stewart made the packed audience laugh while he was in Telluride,
Colorado this past Labor Day weekend (29 August to 1 September, 2014)
while he was
introducing his new film, "Rosewater."

“I am just starting to adjust to the altitude, so I guess that means
it is time for me to leave to go home now. What is the best thing for
adjusting to
high altitude? Water. So, most of you are hydrating and drinking a lot
of water? And now I get to watch you squirm in your seats while you
watch "Rosewater," because you won’t be able to use the bathroom for the next two hours.”

The 41st Telluride Film Festival is hard to get to, but worth the
trip, and showcases the most anticipated U.S. premieres from first time
filmmakers like Jon
Stewart to veteran filmmakers including Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
and Bennett Miller. There were also several classic auteurs honored such
as Orson
Welles, his incomplete feature, made just three years before Citizen
Kane, which was never shown publicly, "The Magician," a 2014
documentary about Orson Welles himself, Robert Altman’s, "California Split," 1974, and Francis Ford Coppola,"Apocalypse Now,"
1979, A Close-up on Apocalypse Now and Hearts of Darkness, 1991. The festival has a low key, small, casual, and
approachable style, without any fancy red carpets.

At 8,750
feet, this gorgeous mountain town, with a history rich in mining, is set
in a valley surrounded
by mountain peaks. The sun shines in that Rocky Mountain High sort
of way which places a halo around the person you are talking to. The
screenings are held
at approximately 12 venues all within walking distance in town, and
if you ascend in the gondola 1,000 to 2,000 additional feet, to Mountain
Village (a ski
resort plaza with hotels, outdoors shops, and restaurants), there is
another 500 seat theater, named after Chuck Jones. The gondola is very
safe, is
powered by solar energy, and offers 360 degree panoramic mountain
views. It is breathtakingly gorgeous and offers the opportunity to meet
others who share
the same passion for film as yourself.

There are three airports that service the Telluride area; Telluride,
Montrose, and Durango, and if you are unable to fly directly into
Telluride (because
soon it will be for private flights only), Tellurides.com
offers transportation from Montrose or Durango. It may sound far to an
East
Coaster, but the hour and 20 minute ride from Montrose to Telluride
is part of the vacation as you drive by ranches, 14,000 foot peaks, red
rocks, and
rivers with trout jumping from them. In other words, getting there
is half the fun.

I saw 10 films in only four days, most of them brought me on an emotional catharsis.

Films included the following;

Foxcatcher
: the sports drama about two brothers, both Olympic gold medalists in wrestling, and an eccentric wealthy mentor.

Wild
: based on the novel by Cheryl Strayed, about a recently divorced
woman who reflects back on her past and her relationship with her mother
and ex-husband
as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Homesman
: Tommy Lee Jones as a claim jumper, who tries to help three troubled women make it across the prairie safely,

Birdman
: a washed up action film actor who tries to rekindle his career in the theater,

Red Army
: a hockey documentary about the Cold War,

71
: an IRA war drama set in Belfast, starring Jack O’Connell from “Starred Up,”

Rosewater
: based on the true story about a detained journalist (Maziar Bahari) in Iran.

Paradise Lost
: a Godfather-like film about Pablo Escobar starring Benicio del Toro, and Josh Hutcherson, and lastly,

Dancing Arabs
: a young boys viewpoint growing up Arabic in Israel.

All the films took me on an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least.

Many films received terrific buzz at the festival. There is already talk of Oscar contention for Foxcatcher, Birdman, and Imitation Game.

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