Nestled in the Mountains: Back for More at the Telluride Film Festival
by Alex Billington
August 31, 2012
Last night, I caught the first sunset of my 2012 trip to Telluride, and it was stunning. This is my fifth year in a row attending the Telluride Film Festival and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains is more than enough to keep me coming back. But I'm here to see films, right? Of course. To watch movies. To meet filmmakers. To discover wonderful cinema. To bask in the beauty of this mountain town. To catch up with colleagues. To discuss films. Telluride may only last four days (during this Labor Day Weekend) and its line-up may not appeal to everyone, but it is cinematic heaven if you can make it up into the mountains for this fall festival.
I grew up in Colorado Springs, CO and have spent a lot of my life in the beautiful state of Colorado. Four years ago I moved to Los Angeles, and while I don't plan to move back to CO anytime soon, I do occasionally miss much about it (honestly, the snow more than anything!). But that lifelong relationship with Colorado is part of the reason I keep returning to Telluride. I love coming back here, getting a breath of this oh-so fresh air stepping off the plane, the drive through the San Juan Mountains (we fly into Durango) to get up to Telluride, and also the quiet, calm, serene peacefulness found everywhere. This is truly a beautiful place.
But that's just the setting, that's just the location where this festival takes place. And ever since I've been attending, they've made quite an impression on the movie world. Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, which later went on to win Best Picture, premiered here my first year in 2008 (my original review). The next year, they premiered Jason Reitman's Up in the Air and John Hillcoat's The Road, two of my favorite films from 2009. In 2010 they debuted Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan and Danny Boyle's 127 Hours. They've had tributes for cinematic talent like David Fincher, Viggo Mortensen, Colin Firth, Tilda Swinton (and many others), and we even interviewed Jason Reitman while actually on the ski resort's gondola.
With all that's happened in the past five years I have been attending, including getting an opportunity to meet and chat with George Clooney last year since he was in town for The Descendants, it would take a lot to stop me from coming back. Telluride not only provides all of these opportunities and a chance to see some incredible films, but it has all that (and plenty more) nestled within the quaint Colorado mountains. Our hotel is literally a gondola ride over an entire mountain to get into the town, it's our transportation every morning/night. How many other film festivals in the whole world offer that kind of daily experience?
Finally, jumping into the 2012 line-up (see in full here), there's some potentially great films, some excellent Cannes holdovers (Pablo Larraín's No, Jacques Audiard's Rust & Bone), some new premieres, and a few others I'm not sure I have an interest in at all (unfortunately). That said, I am looking forward to seeing: Ramin Bahrani's At Any Price, Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, Ariel Vromen's The Iceman, Roger Michell's Hyde Park on Hudson, Ziad Doueiri's The Attack, and Sally Potter's Ginger & Rosa. Plus, I hear that Ben Affleck's Argo might make an appearance as one of the surprise screenings, which Telluride is known for quietly scheduling every year. I'm excited to see how it all unfolds over these next four days.
You can follow my Telluride Film Festival 2012 coverage/reviews here on FS.net in this category, as well as on twitter as @firstshowing, where I'll be posting my instant reactions and updates. Let's kick this off!