Telluride Film Fest: No Pass? Don’t Pass, 2015

Telluride Film Fest: No Pass? Don’t Pass, 2015

“No matter what kind of year I have had, if I come to Telluride, it’s been a good year,” Werner Herzog.




Lights! Camera! Action!

The 42nd annual Telluride Film Festival officially begins with the start of Labor Day weekend, Friday, 9/4 – Monday, 9/7, when the legacy of Georges Melies will be parading all over town.

For those unfamiliar about the history of the medium (and for all 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 as always at Film Fest.

Abel Gance Open Air Cinema:

In the roll up to the main event, enjoy the free films, sponsored by Ralph and Ricky Lauren, in the the Abel Open Air Cinema in Elks Park,  just across the street from the court house. The program begins at sunset, about 8:30 p.m. A word to the wise: Bring blankets, tarps and chairs and dress warm.

The film showing Wednesday, September 2 is Danny Boyle’s classic 2002 vampire flick, “28 Days Later.” (Rated R for strong violence and gore, language and nudity.



Rotten Tomatoes summarizes the plot as follows:

“After breaking into a primate research facility, a group of animal rights activists discovers caged chimps chained up before banks of screens displaying horrifying, violent images. Ignoring the warnings of the terrified researcher who maintains that the chimps are infected, they begin to free the animals and are immediately subjected to a bloody attack from the enraged creatures. Twenty-eight days later, cycle courier Jim awakes from a coma in the deserted intensive care unit of a London hospital. He wanders out into a church where he finds dead bodies piled in heaps on the chapel floor. A sudden explosion from a makeshift bomb heralds the arrival of fellow “survivors” Selina and Mark. They take Jim to safety and explain to him that this infection is transmitted by blood and overwhelms the infected victim with a murderous rage within seconds. Britain has been overrun, and they have no way of knowing if it has spread worldwide. Their only hope of survival may lie in the hands of a Manchester group of soldiers, as they claim to have the “answer” to infection and invite any survivors to join them at their blockade. Faced with no practical alternative, the group sets out northwards, unaware that the worst is yet to come.”

Here’s a review from the Chicago Reader:

“In terms of plot, this postapocalyptic horror tale about an epidemic that decimates most of England is pretty familiar stuff, the most obvious referents being Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, its various movie spin-offs, and George Romero’s zombie pictures. But Danny Boyle’s purposeful direction and Mark Tildesley’s imaginative and resourceful production design keep this fresh and edgy; the images of a wasted London and the details of a paramilitary organization in the countryside are both creepy and persuasive. Alex Garland wrote the script, and the effective cast includes Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, and Brendan Gleeson.”

For a preview, watch this trailer:

The Thursday film is David Fincher’s multi-Oscar-winning film, “The Social Network.”


Sony’s website describe “The Social Network” as follows:

David Fincher’s The Social Network is the stunning tale of a new breed of cultural insurgent: a punk genius who sparked a revolution and changed the face of human interaction for a generation, and perhaps forever. Shot through with emotional brutality and unexpected humor, this superbly crafted film chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website’s unfathomable success. With a complex, incisive screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and a brilliant cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, The Social Network bears witness to the birth of an idea that rewove the fabric of society even as it unraveled the friendship of its creators.

Telluride regular Scott Foundus’s review of the movie in film comment is an unqualified rave:

It was E.M. Forster, of course, who scripted that immortal, oft-abbreviated imperative: “Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” But had Forster lived to see the advent of something like the Internet, would he have been so quick to admonish the life bestial or monastic? As I write this, I am not nor have I ever been a member of those ubiquitous online communities known as Facebook and Twitter, which have separately and together transformed millions of us into the stars of our own reality shows, complete with “friends” and “followers” tuned into our every banal thought or change of mood, and where human popularity is tabulated in numbers as readily as the weekly box-office returns. In my Luddite way, I harbor a healthy suspicion for any technology whose adopters seem more its slaves than its masters. Above all, I cling foolhardily to the belief that the more time-honored methods of human interaction maintain a slight edge over the electronic ones. Indeed, though we may now live in public, we seem to see rather less of one another.

On the other hand, half a billion people can’t be wrong—or, rather, they can, but good luck convincing them of it. A scant seven years into its existence, Facebook is already an inevitability, a cultural axiom. Among other things, it is said to have played a role in rallying America’s youth for the 2008 election (even if some of those youths were actually the fictitious avatars of middle-aged men and women seeking a little masked-ball escapism, or something more sinister). Nor is its reach limited to these shores: recently, Facebook was banned in Pakistan for supposed trespasses against Islam, which is no small achievement for a website that traces its origins back to an Ivy League social misfit’s drunken act of revenge against a girl who spurned him. Like so many historic achievements in arts, letters, and commerce, Facebook was born of a romantic rejection.

This is very rich material for a movie on such timeless subjects as power and privilege, and such intrinsically 21st-century ones as the migration of society itself from the real to the virtual sphere—and David Fincher’s The Social Network is big and brash and brilliant enough to encompass them all…

Continue reading here.

For a preview, watch this trailer:

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)

NEW THIS YEAR: TFF Documentary SHOWroom is free to the public and hosted by Vimeo at the Academy Gallery at the Sheridan Opera House. Select Backlot films and other films to be disclosed when the embargo is lifted will be available for viewing featuring on-demand access.

Late Show Passes:

The Late Show Pass, (just $75) 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 $30 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.

At Brigadoon, there will be book signings and the festival poster artist will be signing as well. More details in the program when announced.

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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