Telluride Film Festival 2013: No pass? Don’t pass

TFF #40 by Dean Tavoularis

Telluride Film Festival 2013: No pass? Don’t pass

TFF #40 by Dean Tavoularis

TFF #40 by Dean Tavoularis

“No matter what kind of year I have had, if I come to Telluride, it’s been a good year,” Werner Herzog, honored by Film Fest’s newest venue

Lights! Camera! Action!

The 40th annual Telluride Film Festival officially begins with the start of Labor Day weekend, Thursday, 8/29 – Monday, 9/2, when the legacy of Georges Melies will be parading all over town.

For those unfamiliar about the history of the medium (and for you trivia buffs), at the dawn of the 20th century Melies became the first filmmaker to realize the potential of Thomas Edison’s new technology, the motion picture camera, for telling stories, not just for record-keeping, the Lumiere brothers’ application.

Without a pass? Don’t pass: this year as every year there’s something for everyone at Film Fest.

A Night at the Movies: 1913
The Telluride Film Festival presents “A Night at the Movies: 1913” at the historic Sheridan Opera House on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 to celebrate the building’s 100th birthday in conjunction with the Festival’s 40th anniversary. The Sheridan Opera House is the Festival’s original home.
Experience what it was like to spend an evening at the movies 100 years ago when audiences enjoyed 90 minutes of short films covering a range of genres. On this evening, Film Fest offers a suspense thriller, action-packed slapstick, a romantic comedy, news of the day, and other surprises, all originally released in 1913.
The featured drama, directed by D.W. Griffith, stars Lillian Gish who appeared on the Sheridan Opera House stage. Bonus: a western made in Colorado.
All films will have live piano accompaniment by the renowned and frequent TFF guest Rodney Sauer.
Tickets are $25 general admission and all proceeds benefit the Sheridan Opera House’s capital campaign to renovate its entryway. Construction is expected to begin in late September 2013. The Sheridan Arts Foundation is in the midst of a $102,000 fundraising campaign, and the non-profit organization has raised roughly $86,000 to date.
Supporters of the Sheridan Opera House can also sponsor a seat in Telluride’s Crown Jewel for the next 10 years and have their name, business name or a loved one’s name engraved on a plaque on their favorite seat. Excess funds raised during the campaign will also replace the Sheridan Opera House’s antiquated movie screen and theater seats.
Tickets for “A Night at the Movies: 1913” can be purchased online here.
Free concert Wednesday, Town Park:
The  Punch Brothers featuring MacArthur Fellow and mandolinist/ singer-songwriter Chris Thile, performs on the Town Park Stage, Wednesday, August 25, 5 – 6:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. The event is held in conjunction with another Festival surprise to be  announced with the festival lineup (noon on Wednesday), all part of the anniversary celebration.  Four other virtuosic musicians, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, and fiddler Gabe Witcher, perform with Thile. Their pyrotechnics should light up the evening like fireworks.

Abel Gance Open Air Cinema:

In the roll up the main event, enjoy the free films, sponsored by Ralph and Ricky Lauren, in the the Abel Gance Open Air Cinema in Elks Park,  just across the street from the Courthouse. The program begins at sunset, about 8:30 p.m. A word to the wise: Bring blankets, tarps and chairs and dress warm. In honor of the 40th, Film Fest has added an extra day of  the cinematic banquet.

All we know as of now about the Tuesday screening is what our media contact, Shannon Mitchell told us: “We are just saying the Tuesday screening is a special surprise.” Best to just stayed tuned.

The film showing Wednesday, August 28, is announced: “The Big Lebowski.”

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the plot of this Raymond Chandler-esque comedy crime caper from the Coen Brothers (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen) pivots around a case of mistaken identity complicated by extortion, double-crosses, deception, embezzlement, sex, pot, and gallons of White Russians (made with fresh cream, please). In 1991, unemployed ’60s refugee Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) grooves into his laid-back Los Angeles lifestyle.

One of the laziest men in LA, he enjoys hanging with his bowling buddies, pompous security-store owner Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and mild-mannered ex-surfer Donny (Steve Buscemi). However, the Dude’s life takes an alternate route the afternoon two goons break into his threadbare Venice, California, bungalow, rough him up, and urinate on his living room rug. Why? Because Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara) is owed money by the wife of a certain Jeff Lebowski. However, the goons grabbed the wrong Jeff Lebowski.

With the right info, they would have invaded the home of philanthropic Pasadena millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston). The Dude looks up his wealthy namesake, manages to get a replacement for his rug, and meets the millionaire’s sexy young wife Bunny (Tara Reid). Later, Jeffrey (“The Big”) Lebowski calls in the Dude to deliver a $1 million ransom for the return of his kidnapped wife. Fine – except that Walter intrudes and botches the ransom drop. As events unravel, the Dude gets caught up in the schemes of Lebowski’s daughter, erotic artist Maude (Julianne Moore), encounters both cops and bad guys, and drifts through an elaborate bowling fantasy sequence titled Gutterballs.

The soundtrack includes Bob Dylan, Yma Sumac, Moondog, Captain Beefheart, and the Sons of the Pioneers.

“Thanks to Roger Deakins’ gleaming camerawork, T-Bone Burnett’s eclectic soundtrack selection and the Coens’ typically pithy dialogue, it looks and sounds wonderful. Moreover, far from being shallow pastiche, it’s actually about something: what it means to be a man, to be a friend, and to be a ‘hero’ for a particular time and place,” Time Out.

We can hear the exchanges over the fence: Why is the Telluride Film Festival featuring “The Great Lebowski”?  There’s always a subtext. Is the Festival tributing the Coen brothers? John Goodman? Julianne Moore? Steve Buscemi? John Turturro.? Phillip Seymour Hoffman? David Huddleston?Ben Gazzara? Roger Deakins?

Guessing is part of the game we all play around Film Fest. Truth is we won’t know for sure until noon on Wednesday, when the directors finally let the cat out of the bag.

Other Telluride Film Festival freebies include:

• Noon Seminars in Elks Park

• “Conversations” in the County Courthouse (although passholders are admitted first)

• Filmmakers of Tomorrow programs

•  Films at the Backlot, located in the Wilkinson Public Library (admission on a first-come, first-served basis)

Late Show Passes:

The Late Show Pass, (just $60) provides entry into the final shows Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights at Chuck Jones Cinema, Mountain Village, and the Palm. They can be purchased at the Festival box office across from Brigadoon or at either of the venues. Late show ticket holders are admitted with regular passholders.

All eight indoor theaters put individual tickets on sale 10 minutes before showtime if there are seats available after passholders have been seated. Best to try the larger venues: The Palm, the Chuck Jones, the Galaxy and the new Werner Herzog in Town Park. The price is $25 per ticket, cash only.

In conclusion:

Visit Brigadoon during the Telluride Film Festival for a detailed handout of shows and tips or go to the Telluride Film Festival’s official website.

Editor’s note: Wednesday at 8 a.m., when the embargo is lifted, Telluride Inside… and Out releases its Festival overview, including Features, Documentaries, Shorts, Tributees, etc.

While most festivals offer sightings of filmmakers as well as films, the population of Telluride — festival and town — is small enough that the ratio of auteurs to filmgoers may be higher than anywhere in the world, The New York Press


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