By Eric Kohn | Indiewire August 28, 2014 at 9:59AM
The Telluride Film Festival, set to undergo its 41st edition in the cozy mountain town this Labor Weekend, has unveiled its lineup a day before events get underway. As usual, the program features a mixture of high profile Oscar hopefuls, festival favorites and potential discoveries, along with numerous classic film screenings and tributes.
The festival has faced extra scrutiny this year due to widely publicized pressure from the Toronto International Film Festival, which announced that films screening in Telluride would not receive a coveted opening weekend slot up north. That hasn't stopped Fox Searchlight from bringing "Wild," the Reese Witherspoon vehicle from "Dallas Buyers Club" director Jean-Marc Vallée, to Colorado this weekend. The Nick Hornby-scripted film, based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, will premiere at Telluride on Friday.
Searchlight, which had great success at Telluride last year when it brought "12 Years a Slave" there, will also premiere Alejadro Gonzalez Iñarritu's Michael Keaton-starring "Birdman" — which premiered to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival yesterday but won't play Toronto at all, opting instead for the closing night slot at the New York Film Festival.
Other significant fall releases premiering in Telluride include "The Imitation Game," in which Benedict Cumberbatch stars as British mathematician Alan Turing struggling to decode Nazi messages during WWII, and Ramin Bahrani's "99 Homes," a followup to "At Any Price" featuring Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield in a real estate drama based around the 2008 housing crisis. Also drawing from recent history, Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" — featuring Gael Garcia Bernal as an Iranian journalist detained by his government after appearing on Stewart's show — will screen at Telluride ahead of its Toronto slot.
Among the documentaries in the program, several familiar names stand out: Nick Broomfield, whose "The Grim Sleeper" investigates the 2010 arrest of a Los Angeles-based serial killer, will screen at Telluride. Ethan Hawke takes a stab at documentary filmmaking with "Seymour: An Introduction," his portrait of a little-known New York City piano teacher, which will show in the festival's Backlot. And Joshua Oppenheimer, who premiered his Oscar-nominated "The Act of Killing" at Telluride two years ago, brings his followup "The Look of Silence" to Telluride in the aftermath of its Venice premiere.
Other films screening at Telluride after playing other festivals include the usual crop from Telluride regular Sony Pictures Classics, which brings Cannes competitors "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner," "Leviathan" and "Wild Tales" to the festival along with hockey doc "Red Army." IFC Films will screen Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Marion Cotillard drama "Two Days, One Night," another hit from Cannes. Roadside Attractions has three upcoming releases in the Telluride lineup: The tense British thriller "'71," Canadian director Xavier Dolan's mother-son drama "Mommy," and Tommy Lee Jones' peculiar feminist western "The Homesman," which stars Hilary Swank.
The actress will also receive a special tribute at the festival, as will legendary German director Volker Schlondorff, whose latest feature "Diplomacy" screens at Telluride.
Outside of the new titles, Telluride will also feature a tribute to "Apocalypse Now" hosted by filmmaker James Gray and a screening of the behind-the-scenes doc "Hearts of Darkness." Guest directors Guy Maddin and Kim Morgan present a number of intriguing older titles, ranging from a restoration of Joseph Losey's under seen 1951 remake of Fritz Lang's "M" and Robert Altman's "California Split."
The full list of 2014 films in this year's program can be found below — though as usual, it's likely that Telluride will sneak in one or two additional fall titles not included on the current schedule.
Indiewire will be on the ground for the long weekend and reporting on the festival starting Friday.
"Tales of the Grim Sleeper," directed by Nick Broomfield
"Two Days, One Night," directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
"Foxcatcher," directed by Bennett Miller
"'71," directed by Yann Demange
"The Homesman," directed by Tommy Lee Jones
"The Decent One," directed by Vanessa Lapa
"Leviathan," directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
"Red Army," directed by Gabe Polsky
"Diplomacy," directed by Volker Schlondorff
"Wild," directed by Jean-Marc Valleé
"The Imitation Game," directed by Morten Tyldum
"99 Homes," directed by Ramin Bahrani
"Mr. Turner," directed by Mike Leigh
"The Look of Silence," directed by Joshua Oppenheimer
"Rosewater," directed by Jon Stewart
"Mommy," directed by Xavier Dolan
"Wild Tales," directed by Damián Szifrón
"Birdman," directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu
"The 50 Year Argument," directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi
"Dancing Arabs," directed by Eran Riklis
"The Salt of the Earth," directed by Wim Wnders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
"Merchants of Doubt," directed by Robert Kenner
"Madame Bovary," directed by Sophie Barthes
"The Gate," directed by Régis Wargnier
"The Price of Fame," directed by Xavier Beauvois
"Seymour, an Introduction," directed by Ethan Hawke