I know what youíre thinking. So what is the Telluride Film Festival like?
I have never worked so hard in my life as I have for the Telluride Film Festival. I have never enjoyed work so much as I do at the Festival. Telluride is one of the most beautiful towns in the world, and I have been to a few. The air is pure and sweet at almost 9,000 feet. You get plenty of exercise walking the town. Donít worry, it is only about 8 blocks long.
There is a gondola that whisks you to the Mountain Village where there is a new theatre this year. The theatre is called the Chuck Jones after the creator of the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Although the equipment isnít new or state of the art, the festival is. We bring in some of the countryís best cinema technicians. They are the leaders in the industry. Dolby has a large delegation that comes each year. They make sure that Dolby Digital films play in Dolby Digital and that all the sound systems are up to snuff. If you have a technical problem, help is one push of the radio button away. How many of you can say that about your theatres.
There is now 70mm capability in one booth. Mostly 35mm is run, however there will be shows in 16mm and video. Video has become an important media for new filmmakers and experimental filmmakers, so video canít be ignored. They have run silent speed film (19 frames per second), double system, 3D and there is usually a silent film with an orchestra.
The prints are well inspected before they get to your theatre and then we inspect them in the booth. We always have enough people to start films and do all the technical aspects of the show. There is no automation here. You put on the Show. The support is amazing.
I have made many of my life long friends at the Telluride Film Festival. I have met almost half of my professional contacts in the film industry there as well. The staff is friendly and warm and there are many opportunities to discuss film, the state of the industry, gossip and world affairs. There is a strange phenomenon that happens in Telluride. The outside world doesnít intrude too much. You usually loose track of the news unless something spectacular happens. The trivialities of life seem to slip away.
Here is your chance to mingle with filmmakers, directors, film critics and the occasional star. I have shaken Gerard Deparduís hand. He is a lot shorter in person. I stood behind Clint Eastwood in a line. He is as tall as I am; (6í4Ē) am but not as wide. Jodi Foster kept coming up to me and asking me questions, which I had the answers to. She would leave and everybody would ask me what I thought of Jodi Foster? I never realized who she was, so I didnít react to her in an unusual way. Billy Bob Thornton was discovered at Telluride, as was Robert Rodriges. We have had Merrill Streep, Lori Anderson and many other big names. They will tell you that the Festival isnít about big names itís about film as an art form. But seeing the stars is a perk. I am always in the lift line behind Roger Ebert. I am certain that this makes the lift operators nervous.
The real stars of the festival are our patrons who come to this far away town to spend hours on end watching film. It is great to go out to the lines and talk to them and get their impressions of the films that are shown. They never know what is going to be shown each year. The films are a secret. They come simply on the faith that it will be interesting. You canít get to Telluride by accident. You come because youíre called to it.
Working Telluride is a challenge and it keeps you sharp. I hope to meet you in Telluride.