Telluride Film Festival 2021

And so it begins…

So you’re here for the Film Festival and have gotten your feet wet. You know your “Q”s from your “W2”s. What more do you need to know to enjoy the Show to the fullest?

First, get rid of any notion that you’ll see everything you want to see. Yes, even with the added day and added outdoor screenings in Town Park, there’s no way you’ll see it all at the 48th Telluride Film Festival. Never fear, once you relinquish that goal, you can settle into the knowledge that what you DO get to see will be excellent. This year’s program is packed with films, many that have been waiting a full year to screen here, and they will surprise, delight and move you.

Second, make the time to enjoy this beautiful place. Take a stroll along the river, ride the gondola just for the view, appreciate the stars that seem so close you could grab them from the sky. Make sure to visit the shops and galleries and get away from the queues to enjoy a meal, discuss films and make new friends. Third, it’s my hope that every film fan will see not just a Hollywood film with guests in attendance but all the special things that make this film festival unique. Don’t miss the chance to hear a noon talk in the park, bundle up and watch a film outdoors, and take a chance on a movie you know little about or a student film.

As a film lover and writer, this is my favorite film festival for those films that will likely receive an Oscar nomination. I also believe that recommending films is like recommending wine–you have to know someone’s palate, mood and what they’re bringing to the table. I’m excited to see “Spencer” for Kirsten Stewart’s performance, “The Power of the Dog” because Jane Champion never disappoints and “Belfast” because Kenneth Branagh has long been a favorite of mine. I’ve had “The Duke” on my radar for the sweetness of the outlandish but true story featuring Dame Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent. How thrilling to have a tribute to Peter Dinklage, with his moving performance in “Cyrano”. Who knew he could sing? And how lucky we are to have Barry Jenkins, a long-time Telluride Festival staffer as the Guest Director.

A few of these films have screened or will screen at other festivals and I’ve been lucky to have seen them already. However, as a festival staffer, we’re asked to refrain from writing reviews till after the festival. So you’ll have to check back to read about all the films I’ll squeeze in over the five days! For me, the joys of festival life are seeing the gems that won’t play elsewhere. I’m excited for the films that Barry Jenkins has programmed like “Looking for Langston” and the gorgeous “Russian Ark”. There are retrospectives like “A Celebration of The Outsiders” or Coppola’s “The Rain People” to look forward to. Most importantly, it’s the friends I get to see again after a long year apart and the joy of being back in Telluride! There was a great piece on CPR (Colorado Public Radio) with an interview with my friend, filmmaker Caryn Sanchez. We work together at the lovely Sheridan Opera House. She’s here for her 28th year!

If you’re here, remember to drink lots of water. Wear your sunscreen. And be kind. This is a particularly difficult year with staff shortages for the festival and the businesses here in town. Please put on your patience cap and together, we’ll rock this fabulous Show!

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