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Telluride Film Festival

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Telluride Film Festival

Heading into its 37th year in 2010, the Telluride Film Festival, held over Labor Day Weekend in a well-heeled Colorado mountain town, is in many ways the antithesis of what has become the model for American and international film festivals. With a small lineup of new and classic films that isn't announced until the day before the festival begins, the Telluride Film Festival relies on audience loyalty and trust in its programming. It's a bit like a summer camp for cinephiles, an intimate event that draws many loyal guests who return year after year. And they pay top dollar for passes to the event in a pricey resort town that can be hard to get to and offers few low cost accommodations. But, each year a few thousand people make the annual trek to get a first look at new fall films, in a casual setting with top notch projection, and to also catch restored or forgotten classic films. For those on a budget, the event offers outdoor screening and free showings of docs and special programs in a small local theater. Individual tickets can be purchased for those unable to pay for the cost of a badge. Passholders gain access to some special events that round out the experience, from a kick-off BBQ on the main street of town on the opening evening to a Labor Day picnic at the town park as the fest comes to a close. Other than that, the fest is more about movies than parties. And, in Telluride, waiting in line is part of the experience, leading to conversations about movies and offering a great way to get recommendations on what to see. Organizers leave much of the final day open for TBAs and schedule the showings near the end of the fest to give attendees a chance to see the most talked about programs. [Eugene Hernandez]

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