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Telluride Diary part seven: The show (part four)

By Cinema and Travel

It’s now Saturday morning in NYC and Telluride already seems like old news. Venice has just announced its prizewinners (The Master obv. — or not so obv.) and Toronto is in full flow. Still, I have one more day of my Telluride Film Festival experience to record and I’d better get it down before I forget.

The Monday of Telluride is a catch-up day. Most of the celebrities and honourees have departed and a lot of the programme is announced the night before, extra screenings of popular titles (or at least the films that most people were turned away from. This is an excellent plan and I was able to fill in quite a few of my gaps (though not all).


Telluride Volunteer Fire Station.

The first screening was the Q&A session for Sarah Polley’s new documentary Stories We Tell, a film that had generated quite a bit of buzz over the weekend. Polley — with gorgeous six-month-old daughter in harness — briefly introduced a film that at first intrigues, then surprises and finally delights. She has done a marvellous job of making what might have been an indulgent piece about her own personal dramas into something universal. I sincerely hope this gets a decent New Zealand release so I can review it at more length but I’m also going to hold back the details of the story so readers without access to Google might come to it as unsullied by spoilers as possible.

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Telluride Diary part six: The show (part three)

By Cinema and Travel

Firstly, I should add a vital — totally Telluride — detail to yesterday’s post. By choosing to watch Rust & Bone and the Marion Cotillard Tribute I missed the first indoor screening of Hyde Park on Hudson and therefore a rare live appearance by Bill Murray at the Q&A. Regret is an emotion reserved for those who only look backwards but — damn!


Legend Leonard Maltin waiting to gain entry to At Any Cost.

Back to the show. Sunday was always likely to be a very full day and — with my new found confidence in the “system” I was determined to take full advantage. I once begged the New Zealand Film Festival to let me watch a screener of Ramin Bahrani’s Man Push Cart, even though they had chosen not to programme it because I loved the idea so much and because Roger Ebert has been championing the talented young director for years. In fact, they have only screened one of his three films to date: Goodbye Solo in 2009.

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Telluride Diary part five: The show (part two)

By Cinema and Travel

Saturday dawned early and I was grateful that the first screening of the morning was at the Chuck Jones’ in Mountain Village, barely a fifteen minute shuttle from my accommodation. Time to grab a coffee and then wait in line for an 8.30am repeat of the Roger Corman Tribute from the night before. This time the host and interrogator would be Leonard Maltin (familiar to all New Zealanders of a certain age, I think) instead of Todd McCarthy.


A fairly representative picture of Mountain Village architecture.

Before Mr Corman was invited on stage, we got to see an excellent documentary on his life and work, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel. After that, Corman entered the stage to a standing ovation and we were treated to insights and stories from an exceedingly well-educated and thoughtful entrepreneur and artist for almost an hour. The surprise for me was hearing about Corman’s liberal politics and how he might have steered his filmmaking in that direction if it hadn’t been for the commercial failure of The Intruder (1962, starring William Shatner as a white supremacist).

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Telluride Diary part four: The show (part one)

By Cinema and Travel

After two days of “phony war” with evening teaser screenings in the Ralph Lauren-funded Elks Park Abel Gance Cinema, Telluride got under way formally yesterday with a full slate of screenings at all nine venues.

The “unofficial” programme — a 90 page newsprint guide featuring a mostly-there draft of the schedule — was made available on Thursday and a press release had announced the names of the three honourees and the main features, but there were still a large number of slots marked “TBA” including almost all of Monday. Even then, we were told not to put too much faith in the unofficial guide and to wait for the glossy DLE programme which would be available at Noon on Friday — the first day of the festival!

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Telluride Diary part three: The journey (part two)

By Cinema and Travel

As I write the Telluride Film Festival programme has been released so I had better finish my notes about the journey before I get left behind.

When we left our hero he was sitting in a Motel6 in Denver about to depart for the seven and a half hour drive to Telluride. But first, errands to be run.

I always planned to get a US sim card for my phone so I could continue tweeting etc from the road (and also use the phone for navigation) and got conflicting advice from various people and websites about the beltway to do it. There’s an entire post to be written on how I eventually (sort of) managed it, suffice to say for now it took visits to four different retailers and much driving to finally sort it out. And it doesn’t work in the Telluride town so there’s a constant search for wifi while I’m here.

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Telluride Diary part two: The journey (part one)

By Cinema and Travel

I should warn you now, this may be boring but if I don’t get this down now I’ll probably lose it forever.

One of Telluride’s charms is its relative isolation. You have to really want to come here. When I first saw pictures of the place I thought it was roughly the size of Picton but population-wise it’s actually smaller. And yet, one weekend every year it fills up with film buffs, industry types, publicists and movie stars. The town has one full-time cinema but manages to scrape up eight screening venues that start as early as 8am over four extremely busy days every Labor Weekend. 

I left Wellington aeons ago (actually 2pm last Sunday) with your common-or-garden flight to Auckland. Then — after writing my CT column in the food court — the twelve hour flight to Los Angeles.

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