To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Telluride Film Festival will extend its usual four-day run to five days, it was announced today. The 2013 edition will run August 29 to September 2 in Telluride, Colorado and this year inaugurates a new venue, the 650-person capacity Werner Herzog Theatre, located in Telluride’s Town Park Pavilion. Each year’s line-up is kept secret until opening day, but last year’s fest screened nearly 100 feature films, short films and revivals including Michael Haneke’s Amour, Ken Burns’ Central Park Five, and an unofficial sneak preview of eventual Best Picture winner Argo.
Toronto, Venice, Telluride Fest Wrap-Up: ‘Silver Linings’, ‘Argo’, ‘The Master’ Are Clearly Early Best Picture Contenders
With today’s wrap of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the Fall festival trifecta of Venice, Telluride and Toronto officially kicked off the six-month movie awards season. What does it say, if anything, about where the race for Oscar is at this …
Sundance, Cannes and Berlin are just some of the world’s top festivals where major movie sales are completed. But Telluride is mostly a launchpad for Fall awards contenders. Yet, unexpectedly, this 39th edition is drawing a large number of distributors interested in picking up some great deals. Among the titles for sale here are Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha starring a delightful Greta Gergwig; Canada’s and Sri Lanka’s Midnight’s Children; thriller The Iceman starring Michael Shannon; director Sally Potter’s Ginger And Rosa; the documentary Love, Marilyn based on newly discovered diaries of Marilyn Monroe; and Saudi Arabia’s Wadjda. Of course, 2009′s The Last Station devised an unusual strategy by exclusively premiering in Telluride and also nabbing a Sony Pictures Classics deal plus two major acting Oscar nominations. And in 2010, Fox Searchlight execs saw a secret showing of The Tree Of Life here and quickly nailed rights for the film, which would eventually be nominated for Best Picture of 2011.
With 5 new movies screening just on Saturday alone with many of their stars and filmmakers in tow, co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics are dominating much of the conversation and eyeballs at the 39th Telluride Film Festival. Playing today were SPC’s Cannes sensations Rust & Bone accompanied by star Marion Cotillard, and Palme d’Or winner Amour, whose filmmakers aren’t here. Plus 2013 planned releases No (winner of the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes) and its star Gael Garcia Bernal, and the father/son drama At Any Price whose Dennis Quaid and writer/director Ramin Bahrani are here without Zac Efron. Plus, the remarkable Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers. Barker and Bernard have been coming to Telluride for decades and strongly believe in the value of the festival. “I think anywhere from three to five movies is a good number” to bring here, he told me. And when they aren’t showing their own product, they have been seen at screenings checking out acquisition titles. They also held SPC’s annual filmmakers dinner Saturday night at La Marmotte restaurant.
But other top indie divisions of the majors are virtually sitting out this year’s fest. Telluride regular Fox Searchlight doesn’t have a single film on display here this year, though not for lack of trying. Searchlight has launched movies like Slumdog Millionaire, Juno and last year’s The Descendants among many others at Telluride – and this time wanted to bring their big awards hopeful, The Sessions starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. But Telluride generally frowns on movies that first debuted at Sundance. So the only Searchlight presence are reps checking out films for sale.
The Weinstein Company normally shows off their top titles, but only brought the undated musical The Sapphires (first seen at Cannes in May). It’s playing well at screenings here. No The Master. No Silver Linings Playbook. Both those movies will be in Toronto. However Weinstein in years past launched Best Picture winners The King’s Speech and The Artist at Telluride.
True, Universal’s arthouse division Focus Features this year is front and center with Hyde Park On Hudson. Its star Bill Murray hit town today and co-star Laura Linney lives here and is attending the fest. But Focus is saving another awards title, Anna Karenina, for a Toronto debut. Paramount, which has been here in the past, skipped Telluride and will miss Toronto in favor of debuting their awards players Flight and Not Fade Away at the New York Film Festival.
Awards buzz has grown around Bill Murray ever since it was announced he would be playing FDR in Focus Features‘ Hyde Park On Hudson. His is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of serious portrayals of U.S. Presidents. But he pulls it off without a hitch, and early reaction at its first-ever public screening Friday night at the 39th Telluride Film Festival was very good. Maybe we’ll have a Presidential shoot-out at the Oscars between Murray’s FDR and Daniel Day Lewis’ Abe Lincoln?
I have always thought Murray got robbed of a much deserved Best Actor Oscar in 2003 for Lost In Translation when Sean Penn swooped in and stole it for Mystic River. The problem this year is that the category is overloaded with so many genuine contenders that Academy voters easily could find 10 deserving performances to fill only the 5 slots. Murray’s is a subtle but engaging portrait. And Oscar voters are suckers for performances which not only show an actor can play against type but also take on well-known historical figures. Murray’s FDR fits the bill as definite Oscar bait. Hyde Park On Hudson also has another plus that gives it plenty of Academy potential. It is the second film in three years to deal in some way with England’s King George VI. This plot, set in 1939, involves an invitation for the new King to visit President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So the stuttering monarch, this time played by Samuel West, is back in Telluride where the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech debuted on its first stop to Best Picture glory in 2010.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Hyde Park On Hudson’
The 39th Annual Telluride Film Festival officially gets underway tonight. But the fest provided a “sneak preview” of its highest profile movie: director/star Ben Affleck‘s pulse-pounding true life thriller, Argo, which made its world debut this afternoon for patron and sponsor passholders and selected press. Although not announced as an official part of the Telluride lineup, it was strongly tipped to come here and Affleck introduced today’s screening: “You are the first paying people to see the film. I know you didn’t literally pay, but in my heart you did. This is actually one of the few film festivals that really is about seeing movies instead of just walking around and talking about them.” Judging from the reaction during the end credits as well as talk on the streets afterward, Warner Bros and Affleck not only have a hit but a slam-dunk major Oscar contender in several categories. At last February’s Oscars Governors Ball, this film was still in post. But a top Warners exec predicted to me that it could be the studio’s best shot at top Oscar attention in 2012. Looks like that bold prediction was right.
Jump-starting the long 6-month awards season, which officially begins with the Venice/Telluride/Toronto film festivals, this supremely well-crafted studio film is the kind that Academy members (and there were several on hand for this screening) eat up. “It’s got my vote as one of the 10,” a voter told me after the screening. It also shows the movie industry in a favorable light, which should further impress Oscar voters. So, unless I am crazy, expect nominations for picture (producers are Affleck, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov), director for Affleck, screenplay For Chris Terrio, and supporting actor for Alan Arkin and possibly Bryan Cranston. Affleck also could figure in the crowded actor contest. Other possibilities are editing, score (Alexandre Desplat), and Rodrigo Prieto’s stirring cinematography.
Related: Hot Trailer: Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’
Telluride has a recent tradition of debuting at least one solid Best Picture contender. Recent winners Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, and The Artist all started their awards season right here in the Rockies. And Argo has already laid claim to one of those spots if reaction holds. Next stop is Toronto a week from today
Here’s the Toronto International Film Festival trailer for The Weinstein Company’s Cannes pickup The Sapphires. The movie about an Aboriginal girl group stars Chris O’Dowd as an unlikely talent scout, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell. Screenplay is by playwright Tony Briggs, whose mother and family …
Here’s the trailer for The Iceman, which is screening at Venice, Telluride and Toronto. Directed by Ariel Vromen, the movie about mob hit man Richard Kuklinski features Michael Shannon as the title character, plus Winona Ryder, James Franco, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans, David Scwimmer, Robert Davi and Danny Abeckaser:
After opening the 2011 Cannes Film Festival winning raves (and an eventual Oscar for Original Screenplay) for Midnight In Paris, Woody Allen and Sony Pictures Classics dialed it down a bit for the North American …
The 39th Telluride Film Festival has named as its guest director Geoff Dyer. The fest runs Labor Day weekend. Dyer will help fest directors Julie Huntsinger, Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer create the fest lineup. Dyer has written four novels, the most recent of which is Jeff in Venice. The …
The 38th annual Telluride Film Festival unveiled its main program today with 25 films that include such awards-season hopefuls as The Weinstein Co’s The Artist, the Glenn Close-starrer Albert Nobbs, Alexander Payne’s The Descendants and Lynne Ramsey’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. The latter two films are notable since the festival is bestowing its Silver Medallion Awards, given to recognize an artist’s contribution to the world of cinema, to Descendants star George Clooney and Kevin star Tilda Swinton, who both are getting Oscar buzz for their roles. French actor-filmmaker Pierre Etaix also is a medallion recipient this year. Additional sneak preview screenings will be announced throughout the four-day festival that begins Friday and includes films shown in sidebar programs, classics and restorations, shorts, student films, seminars and Q&As. Here’s the main lineup just announced: