Tims Vermeer

Of all the films that got incredible buzz out of last week’s Telluride Film Festival (12 Years A Slave, Labor Day, Gravity, etc.) one stood out just because it sounded so very different. That film was Tim’s Vermeer, a documentary by noted magicians Penn and Teller. Penn produced and Teller directed the film, which follows inventor Tim Jenison on his attempt to duplicate the famous painting The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer. Jenison surmises that Vermeer may not have painted all his famous works by hand, instead using technology to aide in the creation. By attempting this, Jenison (as well as Penn and Teller) question the very nature of art itself.

Below, we’ve got a clip from the film that makes that above paragraph a bit more clear, as well as some early buzz from noted film critics. Read More »

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Ramin Bahrani‘s most accessible film to date ends up being my favorite film of the 2012 Telluride Film Festival (yes, besting Ben Affleck‘s Argo).

Ramin has developed a cult following from his three minimalist slice-of-life micro-budget films starring non-professional actors (if you havent yet seen Man Push Cart or Goodbye Solo, put them on your “to see” list). But with At Any Price, Bahrani is gearing up to step out of the film festival shadows and find an audience beyond cinephiles. Indie filmgoers may be turned off by this but I welcome Bahrani’s attempt to tell more expansive stories.

Dennis Quaid plays a fourth generation farmer trying to survive in a time when big corporations are pushing in and devouring the American heartlands. Fighting to keep his family afloat, and losing the battle of keeping his family unit together, Henry comes face to face with the consequences of his amoral actions.

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The lone secret premiere of the 2011 Telluride Film Festival ended up being Ben Affleck‘s dramatic thriller Argo.

I’ve never understood the negativity regularly thrown at Ben Affleck. When given the right material, he’s delivered some great performances as an actor (Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, Boiler Room, Hollywoodland…etc). And in recent years he’s made the transition and proven himself to be a great director (Gone Baby Gone, The Town). Argo is his third feature film and it’s his smartest yet.

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Note: Portions of this post are republished from an earlier blog post.

Every September, a small rustic mountain ski town in Colorado becomes host to one of the most elite film festivals in North America — The Telluride Film Festival. It’s not the most accessible film festival, and its certainly not cheap. So why do we attend the Telluride film Festival each year?

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Peter Sciretta is traveling to Telluride, CO today for the 39th Telluride Film Festival, which kicks off the fall festival season. The interesting aspect of Telluride is that the film lineup is not announced in advance; instead, the opening night of the festival sees the release of the program. So today we’ve got the bulk of the 25 Narrative and Documentary Films in the main program, and that Marion Cotillard, Roger Corman and Mads Mikkelsen are being honored.

The 39th Telluride Film Festival’s program will be posted in its entirety on Friday, August 31, 2012, and given that Baraka is noted as being screened in 70mm, we figure The Master might be added as a sneak screening. (Edit: and while Ben Affleck’s Argo is meant to premiere at TIFF, there will be a ‘sneak peek’ screening of the film in Telluride.) In the meantime you can get info on the first announcement wave from the press release after the break.

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One of the most interesting things you find when reporting on Pixar is how far in advance the company works on something before the public gets wind of it. They rarely announce a feature until it’s years into development and we generally don’t hear about their award winning shorts until they’re almost complete.

For example, we first heard about La Luna in May 2011, 13 months before Brave was released but only four months before it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. We do know Pixar’s working on new Toy Story Toons but it seems another film, possibly titled Rainy City Tales, might screen at Telluride later this month or the Toronto Film Festival in September. Read about the rumors and see some hints about it after the jump.

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On day two of the 38th annual Telluride Film Festival and I caught the amazing new Pixar film LA Luna, Wim Wenders 3D documentary Pina about the famous modern dance choreographer, and the first surprise premiere screening of the festival, Jim Field Smith‘s dark dramedy Butter, a top Black List screenplay about a midwest butter carving championship which stars Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry and Hugh Jackman.
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During my first day at the Telluride Film Festival, I had the opportunity to screen Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants and the much talked about Cannes sensation The Artist, a black and white silent film set in the silent-era Hollywood. Both of the films will be vying for awards come Oscar season, and you can get the scoop right here. Also after the jump is a couple of ramblings and musings on how Telluride has changed in the information age and rise of social media, along with some of the photos I’ve taken during my first day in this small mountain town.

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