A slate of anticipated new films will again screen for a select group of industry insiders and movie aficionados this Labor Day weekend when the Telluride Film Festival kicks off its annual event in the small Colorado mountain town tomorrow (Friday). In a conversation with indieWIRE, festival co-founder and co-director Bill Pence noted that this year's festival is a particularly literary event.
Debuts set for Telluride 2005 include Stuart Gordon's "Edmond," a contemporary film noir written by David Mamet and starring William H. Macy; "Everything Is Illuminated," Liev Schreiber's directorial debut based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer; Scott McGehee & David Siegel's "Bee Season" with Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche (based on Myla Goldberg's novel); James Mangold's "Walk The Line" about Johnny Cash and June Carter, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon; Andy Garcia's "The Lost City," which explores the Cuban revolution; Neil Jordan's "Breakfast on Pluto" starring Cillian Murphy in an adaptation of Patrick McCabe's novel; Bennett Miller's "Capote" starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the acclaimed author in the period that he wrote "In Cold Blood"; and Hans Canosa's first feature "Conversations With Other Women" starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhardt.
In keeping with tradition, festival co-founders and co-directors Bill Pence and Tom Luddy kept this year's lineup secret, unveiling the list of about 20 new features and other programs publicly this afternoon, on the eve of the event. The fest will kick-off Friday with an open-air feed for all attendees, leading into a weekend of screenings that are capped by a Labor Day BBQ on Monday when the event concludes. 1,500 passes have again sold-out this year.
Telluride's Pence and Luddy seem to shy away from using the term "premiere", vowing that they stay out of the battle for such screenings. That said, a number of films will have their first North American festival showings this weekend, among them Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger (based on Larry McMurtry's book; Michael Haneke "Cache" (Hidden) an award-winner in Cannes; Eric Khoo's "Be With Me" also from Cannes; Hany Abu-Assad's look at a pair of Palestinian suicide bombers, "Paradise Now"; Lajos Koltai's Holocaust story "Fateless", adapted from Imre Kertesz's novel; Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "Three Times"; Kornel Mundruczo's "Johanna"; Mohammed Rasoulof's "Iron Island"; Kim Longinotto's "Sisters In Law" about a female public prosecutor and judge in "Cameroon"; and Radu Mihaileanu's "Live and Become."
Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney will be honored at this year's festival, as will actress Charlotte Rampling, in Colorado with a screening of Dominik Moll's latest, "Lemming," and Cannes' Palme d'Or winners for "The Child" this year, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne will also be given a tribute by the Telluride fest. Additionally, a special festival medallion will be awarded to DVD publisher Criterion Collection and its sister company, Janus Films.
Put in a tough spot and asked to name a few of the highlights of this coming weekend, Pence noted a few programs, singling out "Edmond" as the "purest Mamet ever put on film," and noted the power of "Paradise Now," adding that the appearance of Charlotte Rampling in Colorado this weekend will be a highlight. Pence explained that she has a quality that is congruous with the Telluride Film Festival. "She is a little bit off kilter, does her own thing in her own way, and is the perfect actor to celebrate.
Noting that the Dardenne brothers deserve to be better known in this country, Pence said simply referring to their Cannes award-winner by adding, "It doesn't get much better than that."
Thinking a bit longer, Pence then offered what he thinks may be the absolute best film of the festival, a short entitled, "Nine." He added, "Its really close to a mini masterpiece."
Author Don DeLillo ("White Noise") is on board as Guest Director at this year's event and will present three films from the 1970's, including Barbara Loden's "Wanda," "Michelangelo Antonioni's "The Passenger," and Victor Erice's "The Spirit Of The Beehive."
Classic films and filmmakers to be showcased this weekend include a salute to Merian C. Cooper with a screening of his silent film "Chang" and an original score performed by the Alloy Orchestra, the first showing of a restored "King Kong," and a world premiere of Kevin Brownlow & Patrick Stanbury's "I'm King Kong" about Cooper. Also on tap are the silent film "Cottage On Dartmoor" and Jean-Pierre Lelville's WWII drama "Army of Shadows." And among the special presentations are a retrospective of the works of Eugene Green, a presentation by animator John Canemaker including a showing of his new film "The Moon And The Son," and Laurie Anderson's "Hidden Inside Mountains," as well as Peter Bogdanovich's "Sacred Monsters."
Other programs will include a series of conversations, work by emerging directors in the Filmmakers of Tomorrow section, a collection from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library, Apple's Made on a Mac discussion series, as well as the Student Symposium and City Lights seminars for students, and finally a series of outdoor film screenings.
[Again this year, indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez is in Telluride covering the festival and will publish updates on his blog over the weekend and a fest report in Tuesday's edition of indieWIRE.]