Telluride Film Festival: Educational Initiatives

[click “Play” to hear Kate Sibley speak of TFF’s educational outreach]

2006 alumni The Telluride Film Festival stands out among the more than 2,000 similar events around the globe for lots of reasons, not the least of which is location, location, location.

The Telluride Film Festival is known to frown upon brown-nosing stars or the media. Quality trumps quantity: the Festival directors vet their selection down to just 20 – 30 films, new and restored, feature length and short. (Only New York does the same diligence.)

There is the requirement to rebuild Film Fest venues every year (Ouch!), and the requirement for an artistic as well as screen presence, which means directors, producers, actors and others show up in support of their films. The latter distinction plays into another unique feature of the 36-year-old event: education. For the past 21 years, a select group of young people get to mix it up with industry heavies, scholars and artists alike, who have come to town and freely give their time to further students’ knowledge of the art of filmmaking, the Telluride Film’s Festival primary reason for being.

TFF’s first formal education program, the Student Symposium was initiated in 1989 to provide undergraduate and graduate college students with a weekend of immersion in film and film discussion. Fifty students are given an opportunity to experience the unique atmosphere of the TFF, screening films and programs that would likely not be available to them elsewhere, even in their studies

The Telluride Film Festival’s menu of educational initiatives also includes the City Lights Project, Filmmakers of Tomorrow, Sunday at the Palm, TFF Presents, TFF Cinematique and Malcolm Goldie Telluride  Scholarship Program.

Kate Sibley is Dean of Education Programs, an extraordinary woman, witty, generous, and self-effacing. Her enthusiasm for her job is unabashed. And Kate’s aide de camp, Erika Gordon, is just as smart and committed. Click the play button and listen to Kate’s podcast in which she explains why she wakes up every morning so happy to get to work.

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