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Telluride Film Festival History
The Telluride Film Festival is a place where community and big time cinema come together to celebrate the art of film. It all began 35 years ago just as the newly renovated Sheridan Opera House caught the eye and won the heart of James Card, an influential name in the world of film.
The following summer, an influx of filmmakers, theater owners, great actors and lovers of cinema came to the little town of Telluride to start what has become a legendary festival. That first year, the festival honored filmmakers Francis Ford-Coppola and Leni Reifenstahl, and noted names such as Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Andrei Tarkovski, and Catherine Denevue. Not only has the festival continued to bring up and coming works of art to the main stage, but has focused on preserving important, smaller films as well.
In fact, Card was able to do just this by bringing in film historian William K. Everson in 1977 to give silent, westerns, experimentals and other odd pieces of the bunch credit that they deserved. One might say the festival has since been a huge success, in large part due to what happens outside the theater doors.
Lots of love and care goes into the production of the Telluride Film Festival. It is a world famous event with a small town vibe, something that is the result of collaboration by many people who hope to keep it this way.
In 2000 Willem Dafoe, actor and founding member of an experimental film group, stated “It’s an extraordinarily beautiful place, and a nice mixture of filmmakers and people who love film. It’s clear that the Festival has tried hard to keep its purity, keep it from corruptions of the market.”
Today, it is a sure thing that not much has changed in terms of preserving this type of experience. Stars such as George Clooney, Carey Mulligan, and James Franco have certainly attended and been involved in the festival, but in the best way imaginable. The opportunities to meet and learn from these people are abundant.
One thing that makes this such a special event is the huge talent that cycles through. Throughout the years, viewers find themselves catching first time premiers of world-renowned films such as The Girl With the Pearl Earring, The King’s Speech, Juno, and Slumdog Millionare. The minds behind such pieces often stick around for Q & A sessions.
Overall, attending the Telluride Film Festival assures an experience of movie watching, play, fresh air, familiar faces, and amazing memories. There are no awards, but plenty of praise. You will never be bored; you will only be excited and inspired.