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The Telluride Film Festival was in full bloom this Labor Day Weekend. It takes place each year in picturesque Telluride, Colorado. It does not announce its lineup until the day it starts, yet does not disappoint. This year they had a special tribute to actor Viggo Mortensen, their guest director was Alexander Payne, and others present included Nicholas Cage and Werner Herzog. The festival prides itself on its ability to bring talented directors, screenwriters, actors and producers in a relaxed, yet beautiful atmosphere. Not only do they bring in big names, but they also bring in an impressive amount of filmmakers to have Q&A sessions after the screening and create common spaces where the audience has an opportunity to interact with some of the screen giants that are in attendance. There are discussions with actors and filmmakers in the Elks Park and the Court House, while films play on 9 different screens throughout Telluride. One of the larger theaters, Chuck Jones’ Cinema is accessible from town by an 11 minute gondola ride.
It is impressive to see the transformation that Telluride undergoes in preparation for the Festival. Schools get transformed into theaters with state of the art sound systems and large screens to play the films. I wasn’t able to see that many films, but I did take some pictures. As you can see, it is in a beautiful area.
I only went for a day, driving from Montrose in the morning and attended without a pass. One of the downsides of attending without a pass is that while I and many others waited in line for 3 hours, in hopes of attending the Viggo Mortensen tribute, we did not get in. As in most film festivals, the ‘really important’ passholders get in first (arriving 10 minutes before), the ‘other’ passholders get in second, then if there is room, nonpassholders can buy tickets. I only saw the back of Viggo Mortensen’s head as he arrived right before his tribute began. I thought, “Wow. That was Viggo Mortensen.” Then I walked to my car in the rain.