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Telluride Diary part one: The decision

By August 29, 2012October 11th, 20233 Comments

The first draft of history…

ABC Motel, Gunnison, CO

The ABC Motel in Gunnison, Colorado. Venue for Night Two of this odys­sey. Who could resist?

For a few years I’ve been har­bour­ing ideas for a num­ber of excit­ing pro­jects. These are the sort of pie-in-the-sky ideas that wer­en’t pos­sible dur­ing the dark days of 2009 and 2010 when work was thin on the ground and money was thin­ner, but they kept me going and I was hope­ful that one day I might be able to put one or two of them into action.

This year the work situ­ation turned has turned around so com­pletely that the excuses I’d been mak­ing for not march­ing on with these ideas simply could­n’t hold up. I finally had the money to put where my mouth was. I’ve had an idea for a while to write a travel book about world film fest­ivals, a guide to their dif­fer­ing char­ac­ters and mis­sions and what they are like to attend. This was really an excuse – and a struc­ture – to do some trav­el­ling as my prot­est­ant work eth­ic does­n’t allow me to simply travel for fun. There always has to be an end in mind. Wellington would obvi­ously be a chapter – I know it so well – but what should be chapter two?

A chance meet­ing with Prof Richie Meyer while he was in Wellington earli­er this year intro­duced me to the Telluride Film Festival – he raved about it, quite frankly – and a quick look at the dates demon­strated that it was pos­sible. The clinch­er was when he told me that the pro­gramme for Telluride is nev­er announced in advance – you have to go on faith. And you have to demon­strate a lot of faith, too, as Telluride is extremely dif­fi­cult to get to, expens­ive to stay at and expens­ive to attend.

But the prox­im­ity to Hollywood (two hours by jet) – and the close­ness to the Toronto Festival – means that films often get launched there and the attend­ance of film­makers and stars is pretty much man­dat­ory. So, it’s a great oppor­tun­ity to get mater­i­al for Cinematica as well as research the book. Impossible to res­ist. And when I real­ised I could tag on six days in NYC plus a trip back to Blighty to see old school friends and fam­ily for the first time since 1999, res­ist­ance was futile.

Since the decision was made in early May, it has been a flurry of sav­ing, work­ing three jobs, schedul­ing, buy­ing tick­ets, arran­ging accom­mod­a­tion, fol­low­ing up leads – mad­ness! But here I am, in Gunnison, Colorado, one day away from Telluride, three days away from the open­ing of the fest­iv­al. I have media accred­it­a­tion, a fest­iv­al pass, two record­ing devices and some bright red shoes that are appar­ently quite the con­ver­sa­tion starter. Bring it on.

These diar­ies are just stream of con­scious­ness jot­tings and aides-mémoires, so I apo­lo­gise in advance for the crap­ness of the prose. I will also be con­tinu­ing to pod­cast for Cinematica on the road as well as tweet­ing even more ran­dom thoughts and pictures.

Thanks at this early stage go to Lawrence Green (who provided much-needed encour­age­ment at a time when I was waver­ing), pro­fes­sion­al film fest­iv­al work­er Sibilla Paparatti (for con­nec­tions), Miriam Ross (for encour­age­ment), Ant Timpson and V 48 Hours (for indir­ect fund­ing) and RNZ and the Capital Times for help­ing me secure the media accreditation.


  • Kelly says:

    So pleased you’re there! Have an amaz­ing time and pos­sibly see you when you get over to the UK.

  • Sam McCosh says:

    I did­n’t know you were think­ing of writ­ing a book! What a fab­ulous idea. I’m enjoy­ing fol­low­ing your jour­ney on Twitter – keep the tweets and diary entries com­ing. Have a great time Dan.