Telluride 2008 Wrap-Up

There is no reason why I shouldn’t have loved the Telluride Film Festival. Heck, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every film festival I’ve ever attended, even including my first – The Boston Film Festival, which was very lame in retrospect. I’ve attended Sundance for five years, today I will be heading to Toronto for my second time. I love film festivals. So why is it that I didn’t love Telluride?

Telluride’s system is much improved over all of the other festivals I’ve attended. They even have a system that saves your place in line so you can grab something to eat before seeing your next movie. Think of it almost like the Disney fast pass. The mountain views rival Sundance, and the ritualistic Gondola ride over the mountain every morning and night was a great way to book end the day. The intimate atmosphere is also a refreshing change of pace. You don’t have to zag zag around groups of people while walking down main street. It’s pretty stress free.

But the Telluride line-up was somewhat lacking this year, and I think almost everyone can agree. Some people were blaming the writers strike, others were blaming a change in the guard, and others are still trying to claim independent film is dead (Peter Bart, where are you?). Outside British and Asian cinema, my interest in foreign films is almost nonexistent. You can call me closed minded. You can lose your respect for my cinematic opinion, but I’m only willing to devote two or three hours to a foreign film if the buzz is fantastic or an interesting director or star is involved. The line-up for this year’s festival was very heavy on international, and I was left craving the selection of Sundance’s dramatic competition.

Over the course of the last four days I had the opportunity to attend a tribute to David Fincher, screen 20 minutes of Benjamin Button (even if it was disappointing), stand up and cheer for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, and later talk to Boyle for 15 minutes at a party, discover a little Irish gem titled Kisses, being amazed at Greg Kinnear’s performance in Flash of Genius, and end the festival with and awesome Asian spaghetti western The Good, The Bad, and The Weird.

And on the other hand, I also sat through the Cannes award winning film Hunger, which I just wasn’t into, and Adam Resurrected, which was the weirdest film I’ve seen in years, and not in a good way. I can understand why people would love either of the aforementioned films, but they just weren’t for me. Somehow I only screened 9 movies over the four days of the festival, much less than I had anticipated.

Today I fly to Toronto where I have a better idea of what to expect. I had a lot of fun last year, and the film selection this year looks just as good if not better. I’ll keep you guys up to date with more video blogs, reviews, and news updates. And speaking of video blogs, check out the Telluride wrap up below. I recorded it with Alex from FirstShowing as we were heading out of Telluride. We talk about Telluride, Slumdog Millionaire, The Good The Bad The Weird, and more. It’s probably the most subdued video blog to date.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/tell15.flv 300 226]

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/tell16.flv 300 226]

Filmmaker photo thanks to Alex at FirstShowing.

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