Blogging Live from Telluride: Part 1 - Mountains & Movies

September 6, 2009

Telluride Film Festival

After stepping out of Up in the Air and writing my review, I realized that I hadn't otherwise written about the Telluride Film Festival yet, which is shame because it's such a wonderful festival. It lasts for only 4 long days, but it takes place in a small, quaint mountain town, and I just love being here, especially as an oddly relaxing (or quieter) way to kick off my epic festival tour. As of writing this, I've seen only 5 films so far (more details on those below), but I just wanted to make sure I start a running tally / list of all the films I've seen on this trip. Although at least two of them are films that I'd already seen in Cannes previously.

Because I attended the Cannes Film Festival back in May (see my coverage here), I already got to see most of the films that the Telluride decided to program this year. That's not entirely a bad thing, as I'm able to see a few of my favorites for a second time (e.g. Fish Tank, A Prophet), and bring a few of my friends to see those faves (for their first time). There are also always a few surprises and really exciting moments at this festival, like being at the world premiere of Up in the Air sitting next to producer Frank Marshall, former AMPAS president Sid Ganis, critic Leonard Maltin, and many others. It's truly an experience unlike anything else.

I've also been surrounded by so many colleagues and friends here. I've spent the last two days standing in lines talking with Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm, Eric Vespe from AICN, Kris Tapley from In Contention, and others that I've just met here. This is a festival about that intimate connection, the people you get to meet, who are usually people that just love films. In fact, Anne Thompson took a fun photo of a group of us earlier with Up in the Air director Jason Reitman, and that'll probably show up on her indieWIRE blog soon, too. And I've met just so many other people. It may be rainy here, but I still love being in Telluride, Colorado.

As for the films I've seen so far, I obviously enjoyed Jason Reitman's Up in the Air quite a bit, as well as A Prophet and Fish Tank (which I'd seen both of in Cannes before). I was bored by the first film in the Red Riding trilogy titled 1974 - it was considerably dull with unbearable British dialogue. However, I did catch a good French film called Farewell, a political espionage ensemble thriller involving the USSR, France, and USA during the late 70's, early 80's. The performances from all of the foreign actors in it were great, but Fred Ward and Willem Dafoe didn't add much. It's a solid thriller and worth seeing if you're into politics.

Stay tuned for a few more blog updates from Telluride over the next few days. The fest ends on Monday and I fly up to Toronto on Tuesday, so we've got a few more days here. I'm hoping to setup some interviews with various filmmakers in the next few days, so keep on the look out for those as well! And lastly, check out this quick gondola video review shot by SlashFilm for Up in the Air (that I'm also in). It's a very fun watch!

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)

Find more posts: Indies, Telluride 09



No Paranormal Activity?? Surely if there was one film to see at Telluride it was that film...

Dave on Sep 6, 2009


^ Dave, still planning on seeing it Sunday night, at 10:30PM at the outdoor theater. Missed it tonight. Plus it's also showing at another fest soon. Lots of chances to see it!

Alex Billington on Sep 6, 2009


wow, the outdoor theatre is definitely going to be an interesting environment to see it! will be interested in knowing what you think. as well as which ending you guys see..

Dave on Sep 6, 2009


I was fortunate enough to go to Telluride last year as part of a Film Contest sponsored by Dell. I was able to see the wonderful 'The Good, the Bad, and the Weird' and the premiere of 'Slumdog'... I wish you well this year. I'll be sure to read your coverage of the festival.

Jeff on Sep 6, 2009


Wait, I havnt checked the whole lineup but are thy only showing the first in the trilogy of 'Red Riding'? Such a shame if not, aparantly they're all great. To the British anyways.

Marcus on Sep 6, 2009


yeah i loved Red Riding too. Although I sympathise about the British dialogue, it's like The Wire -definitely needs subtitles!

Dave on Sep 6, 2009


god movie nerds are ugly people... surprisingly Alex you seem the most cool and normal. I always thought you would be just like those other goobers in the car with you. SO! props for not being those sad bastards. and the old bearded guy behind you at like 8:30 or something like that is hilarious. just smiling for the camera the entire time.

DoomCanoe on Sep 6, 2009


^ That was a little uncalled for man? They're good friends of mine, and they love movies, what can I say? Who cares, we're just here to watch films!

Alex Billington on Sep 6, 2009

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