Telluride Film Festival: The Giveback

Telluride Film Festival: The Giveback

How  does the Telluride Film Festival give back to its host community, Telluride? Let us count the many and varied ways, including putting its heavy thumb on the scale to advance the education of young people. (Scroll down for details.)

For starters, the Telluride Film Fest creates numerous opportunities for non-passholders to attend the SHOW for free (though generally on a first-come, first-served basis). The short list includes six nights of free films at the Abel Gance Open Air Cinema in Elks Park, 12 different programs at the Backlot (Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library, again), seminars, and conversations. Click here for details.

The TFF also backs or provides the following community activities, in brief:

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

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

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

• Provides an annual $5000 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 year-long 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 “Tuesday at the Palm,” at The Palm Theatre throughout the school year;

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

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

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

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

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

Telluride Film Fest, the giveback in detail:

For three decades, the Telluride Film Festival has provided young people with extraordinary education programs, helping to shape the next generation of film lovers and filmmakers.

Festival education programs include:

• Expand participants’ worldviews through film screenings and discussions with filmmakers;
• Develop thoughtful and discriminating media critics;
• Inspire thoughtful and active cultural participants and leaders for the future;
• Bring together students with widely divergent backgrounds and lifestyles, creating the opportunity for lifelong friendships.

Student Symposium:

Initiated in 1989, the Telluride Film Festival’s Student Symposium provides college students, both undergraduate and graduate, with a weekend of immersion in film. Fifty students are given a unique opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the Festival, screening films and programs that would likely not be available to them elsewhere, even in their studies.

Starting at 7:00am each morning to past midnight, students talk, live, breathe and view films.

They begin their days with a breakfast discussion with TFF’s extraordinary faculty, and they continue nonstop throughout the day – from film to conversation to more film. Afternoon sessions feature filmmakers associated with the films students have just viewed. Directors, actors, composers, editors and producers join students in discussions that go far beyond the usual Q&A’s.

Students come away from these discussions with a new understanding and appreciation of what it takes to create a memorable work of art. Guests often declare their sessions with the students are a highlight of their time at the Festival.

College and university instructors throughout the country value the Telluride Film Festival as a unique learning opportunity and encourage their best students to apply. Students are emphatically not required to be film majors.

City Lights:

In 2000, the City Lights Project was initiated to provide the same intense immersion in the Festival as the Symposium, but for high school students and their teachers from a diversity of schools.

A rigorous film-viewing schedule, intimate symposiums with Festival guests, and an appropriately challenging curriculum strengthens and expands students’ intellectual and interpersonal skills, broadens world views, and assists students’ growth into more thoughtful and active cultural participants and leaders for the future.

With a dedication to the preservation of the arts, City Lights utilizes the power of storytelling and the magic of cinema to touch a population of students who have been identified as at-risk due to prior difficulties with school, family challenges, or economic stressors. Students leave the program as changed people, with an expanded sense of self and the world and a greater understanding of their own potential. They export this newfound inspiration back to their families, schools and communities, where the impact is felt for years to come.

In addition to a stimulating five days in Telluride, viewing films and engaging in spirited discussions, City Lights students spend an equally intensive period during the summer preparing for the Festival by studying films and curriculum provided by the Festival.

Supported in part by a grant from the Town of Telluride Commission for Community Assistance, Arts and Special Events.

Education programs with university partners: FILMLAB

Now in it’s eighth year, TFF’s successful custom-designed program with UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT) gives 10 outstanding graduate film students the opportunity to participate in this exceptional itinerary.

Focused on the art and industry of filmmaking, UCLA TFT grad students, called “FilmLAB Fellows,” learn from world-class filmmakers in a workshop/lab setting.

FilmLAB Fellows enjoy exclusive sessions with renowned filmmakers, writers and producers, and enjoy a special filmmaker experience of the festival.

This program was made possible by founding sponsor Frank Marshall and continues with the help of private philanthropy.

Film Scholarship program:

Launched in 2015 in partnership with the U. of Wisconsin at Madison, this program focuses on the fine art of film writing. Working with Festival Guests and industry professionals, students hone critical thinking skills and refine their critique, analysis and composition around the subject of cinema ~ thereby cultivating future generations of skilled writers.

Support provided in honor of Patricia Mellencamp, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History, Film and Media Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

TFF/Roger Ebert Seminars:

The TFF Education Department works with university professors who bring their own groups of students to the Festival to provide an extra dimension to their Festival experience. Program participants meet with TFF filmmaker guests on Friday before the Festival screenings kick off to prepare them for a weekend of film immersion and diverse programming.

Supported in part by a grant from the Roger & Chaz Ebert Foundation.

TFF Scholarship: Malcolm Goldie Telluride Film Festival Scholarship:

Each year, the Festival grants a $5,000 scholarship named after one of the Festival’s most beloved characters, Malcolm “Marcello” Goldie. The scholarship is awarded to a local high school student who “marches to a different drummer,” but marches with energy, purpose and dedication, and who plans to pursue artistic goals through higher education.

TFF year-round programming, a recap:

Tuesdays at the Palm is a collaboration of the Telluride Film Festival and the Telluride R-1 School District. The educational film series, free and open to the public and offers students and locals the opportunity to see great films once a month at the Michael D. Palm Theatre. The Festival sees this as an opportunity to give back to the community of Telluride that so generously lends its resources once a year to the Telluride Film Festival.

Sponsored by Netflix, proud to support the Festival in giving back to the town of Telluride.

Telluride Film Festival Presents is another popular program designed to give back to the Telluride community. Once a month, the Nugget Theatre hosts a “one night only” screening of a current, Festival-quality film, introduced by a local Festival staff member.

Telluride Film Festival Cinematheque is an exciting collaboration between the Telluride Film Festival and the Wilkinson Public Library. This “film club” caters to Telluride cinephiles with two series per year that explore specific cinematic themes through Festival quality films. Each free show includes food and lively discussion

The long list of Telluride Film Festival givebacks add up to the simple fact the men (and women) in black all wear white hats.

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