A Few Ways the Telluride Film Festival Thanks Telluride

TFF #40 by Dean Tavoularis

A Few Ways the Telluride Film Festival Thanks Telluride

TFF #40 by Dean Tavoularis

TFF #40 by Dean Tavoularis

Many years ago, Telluride Film Festival director and co-founder Bill Pence proclaimed his on-going allegiance to the town.

“There would be no Telluride Film Festival without Telluride,” he said, “We try to thank the community in ways that count.”

Pence’s truth, routinely acknowledged by the three current directors – Tom Luddy, a co-founder, Julie Huntsinger and Gary Meyer –  is that their unique celebration of the art of film could not exist without its loyal local staff and the support of so many townspeople and businesses. It simply would not be the very special thing it is in a different setting. The combination of people and place remains unsurpassed. What’s more, the whole venture is a win-win: the Telluride region also benefits greatly from Film Fest.

Despite its relatively small crowd size, approximately 3,000 attendees, the Festival brings in more sales tax revenue to both towns, Telluride and Mountain Village, than any other single event – and it does so with minimal impact.  In addition, the Telluride Film Festival has developed a great worldwide reputation resulting in 100s of stories across the country and beyond each year. That sort of branding generally costs a fortune – if you could buy it.

Finally, the Festival itself pumps well over $1 million into the local economy in staff salaries, lodging, food and other expenses. It is an economic engine without parallel. Neither Film nor Telluride would be the same without the other. It is one great collaboration

Continuing to walk its talk, Film Fest backs or provides the following community activities (and more):

• Holds the master lease on the Nugget Theatre which, along with help from the Telluride Foundation and the Town of Telluride, allows the programming of nightly movies;

• Provides, maintains and continually upgrades projection equipment, seats and sound system at the Nugget;

• Programs and produces the “Telluride Film Festival Presents” monthly art film at the Nugget;

• Allows/facilitates use of Nugget Theatre by many local special events, i.e., Mountainfilm, Jazz, Tech Festival, Brews and Blues, etc;

• Uses local providers to cater all Film Festival food events;

• Makes Film Festival passes available to residents at a 15% discount;

• Produces the After-the-Film-Festival program which affords community members the opportunity to see six of the Festival program films at the Palm Theatre for reduced prices.

• Provides two or more scholarships to allow local students to participate in the TFF’s Student Symposium or City Lights programs;

• Provides an annual $1000 scholarship to a graduating Telluride High School senior;

• Screens two major Festival films for Telluride High School and Telluride Elementary School students, often presented by the filmmakers;

• Outfitted the Palm Theatre with state of the art 35mm projection and sound equipment that was donated to the School District and is available for yearlong use by the community.

• Donates complimentary Festival passes available to local non-profits for their fundraising activities;

• Programs and produces, in cooperation with the Telluride schools and the Telluride Foundation, a series of monthly free films called “Sunday at the Palm,” at The Palm Theatre throughout the school year;

• Cinematheque is a joint venture between the Wilkinson Public Library, which provides the venue and does the marketing, and the Telluride Film Festival, which provides the programming.

• Has provided thousands of videos and books on film to the “Malcolm Goldie Collection” at the Wilkinson Public Library;

• Works with Telluride TV to provide many hours of free programming of TFF events from over the years;

• Produces Sunday at The Palm, free screenings of top tier films throughout the school year;

For all that and more, the men in black wear white hats.


Editor’s note: Telluride Inside… and Out will be announcing the full Festival program when the embargo is lifted Wednesday (this year, a day early) at 8 a.m.


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