TELLURIDE FILM FEST
Blogging Live from Telluride: Part 2 - Celebrity Addictions
by Alex Billington
September 7, 2009
I just finished my third day at the Telluride Film Festival. There is one more day left (Monday), then I'm catching a plane up to Toronto, but there are still a few more good films to see. Today I caught three great films, each one vastly more different than the other. First up was a documentary called Waking Sleeping Beauty, which I already reviewed. Then I caught The Road, which was screened as part of a tribute to Viggo Mortensen. Lastly, I saw a little horror film called Paranormal Activity that Paramount has been quietly unleashing. However, I had an interesting thought as I watched the Mortensen presentation earlier today.
A sad realization I've had recently is that most people are here purely for the celebrities. One attendee we talked to during a gondola ride over told us that she saw The Last Station (and liked it) just because she "loves Helen Mirren." And the Viggo tribute I was at to see The Road was also completely packed, most likely because Viggo was there and everyone attending probably cared more about seeing him than the movie. Same with Nic Cage appearing at a screening of Bad Lieutenant earlier this morning (photo above). I didn't attend, but that's just the feeling I'm getting from a lot of people here, and it's a bit depressing.
In thinking about this further, I realized that I don't really think about actors and films the same way as most people. Sure I have immense appreciation for many actors and actresses, that goes without saying, but I don't go see films just because they're in it, especially if the story or style doesn't interest me. I admit I have extreme love for a few people, like Natalie Portman, but I never saw The Other Boleyn Girl, just because it didn't interest me. But I have a feeling a lot of people here in Telluride are making decisions like that and it's unfortunate that even at a small, secluded festival like this one, celebritism still reigns supreme.
I just see it so often everywhere else around the country, that I was hoping to be surrounded by people here in Telluride who cared more about stories and filmmakers than if their favorite celebrity was attending. While this festival does draw a lot of great people and they do come to see the great films that were picked, I just get the feeling that they more often care if a certain celebrity is attending, so that they can be in the same room and get a glimpse of them. Thankfully I've met so many people who aren't like this, that I'm glad to find it doesn't affect me often, but it's been on my mind all day today and I just needed to gripe about it.
Before I wrap this up, I need to talk briefly about a film called Paranormal Activity, which I saw late at night at an outdoor movie theater at a small park in the middle of town. This film is ridiculous creepy, it scared the crap out of me and everyone else. I'd call it a new Blair Witch Project for this generation. It was shot for $11,000 and is being released by Paramount (this year maybe?) and is ridiculously scary, I can tell you this from experience. I'm telling you now - remember this film. You'll definitely want to see it once they start releasing it sometime soon (I hope). I can't wait it for it to hit the mainstream, it's going to be insane!
Note: From now until October 1st I will be keeping a running tally on all the films I've seen across all three of the film festivals. You can find this list below updated in every new blog post, with links to any reviews.
Telluride Film Festival:
1. Red Riding: 1974 (dir. Julian Jarrold)
2. Farewell (dir. Christian Carion)
3. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold)
4. Un Prophete (dir. Jacques Audiard)
5. Up in the Air (dir. Jason Reitman)
6. Waking Sleeping Beauty (dir. Don Hahn)
7. The Road (dir. John Hillcoat)
8. Paranormal Activity (dir. Oren Peli)