"There are two kinds of film festivals: there are the mega-hyped, hoopla-infested selling circuses, and there is Telluride. It is extraordinarily exciting, in this age of the triumph of capitalism, to discover an event dedicated not to commerce, but to love. And if that sounds old fashioned and starry-eyed, so be it. The cinema was always in the business of gazing at stars." - Salman Rushdie
It’s a secret.
What's playing in the Telluride program is not revealed until you reach the mountains. In what has become our tradition, three distinguished artists will be honored with a silver medallion, one presented each night of the Festival. We sometimes honor the well-known: Francis Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Catherine Deneuve. But more often than not, we also like to spring a real surprise and pay tribute to those you may have forgotten, or never even knew: Abel Gance, D.A. Pennebaker, Harriet Andersson, Alexander Sokurov, Philip Glass, Joel McCrea, Andrei Tarkovsky.
And then, picture seeing a movie before anyone else…before the ubiquitous critics, the in-laws, your local film snobs. Imagine viewing a new film without an ounce of prejudice because it is the first screening and you are its first audience. Telluride movies are always discoveries. BLUE VELVET, STRANGER THAN PARADISE, EL MARIACHI, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, EL NORTE, TALK TO HER, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CAPOTE, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, JUNO, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE LAST STATION, UP IN THE AIR, and THE KING'S SPEECH all debuted to the surprise and delight of Festival-goers.
We also like to rediscover the treasures of cinema’s past: the pioneering works of the Lumière Brothers, the restored GREED, a range of newly restored silents with live orchestral accompaniment, the unseen films of Walt Disney, a cache of Cinerama, of 3-D classics… that’s the modus operandi of Telluride, the past bumps up against the present as the Festival provides a context for current cinema from what’s gone before. Trust us. When the secret’s unveiled, there’s no program anywhere quite like The SHOW.