Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Testing...Testing... / Venice Certainties? / Trailer for On the Basis of Sex

Good Tuesday everyone...


Variety's Kris Tapley tweeted late Sunday evening that both Josie Rourke's Mary Queen of Scots and James Gray's Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt, Ruth Negga and Tommy Lee Jones will be test screening this week:

I have avoided talking/thinking about Ad Astra all summer as it has been dated as a 2019 release.  However, I have seen some mention that if 20th Century Fox thought the film had a strong play that they might move the release to compete in this season's awards melee.

This sounds as if that process is on-going.  The other 20th Century Fox player is Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born.

Could it play at The SHOW?  Still very unlikely but the fact that it's testing this week suggests that it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility.

Similarly, Tapley later added that Backseat (the Dick Cheney film with Christian Bale) is also testing.  The film is being distributed by Annapurna which I am morally certain will be at TFF with If Beale Street Could Talk.  I could see them bringing a second film and they have a deep bench of other possible films: Backseat, Destroyer, The Sisters Brothers.


Jordan Ruimy's World of Reel posted "Venice Certainties" on Sunday night.  Ruimy says he's (as I mentioned yesterday) that he's hearing the same Venice rumor about The Other Side of the Wind opening that fest. 

He also says he's heard four films are locks for Venice:

Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria
Jacques Audiard's The Sisters Brothers
Alfonso Cuaron's Roma
and Francois Ozon's Alexandre.

The inclusion of the films from Audiard and Cuaron would not surprise nor would they preclude a double play at Telluride.  Frankly, I doubt that we'll see Suspiria.  However, the Ozon is another matter.  That popped up from nowhere.  Alexandre is dated for 2019 according to IMDb.  

It's worth noting that Ozon's Frantz played at TFF in 2015.


We got word last week that the trailer for Mimi Leder's Ruth Bader Grinsburg flick starring Felicity Jones as the young but eventual Supreme Court justice would be dropping soon.  "Soon" was yesterday.

Here's the trailer via YouTube:

On the Basis of Sex is set to open on Dec. 25th.

I have linked coverage of the trailer release from:

BTW: rumors are swirling that trailers for Biy Earsed and Bohemian Rhapsody will appear tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

That's your Tuesday wrap for MTFB.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

The Second Telluride Film Festival-1975 / Cold War Trailer / Wells Thinks We'll See The Other Side

Welcome back from the weekend...


Here's the penultimate addition to the ongoing look back at the history of the Telluride Film Festival.  

The second Telluride Film Festival took place on Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 1975 with the following:

Tributes: Jack Nicholson. Werner Herzog and Henry King


Ace Up My Sleeve
Aguirre, Wrath of God
Alexander's Ragtime Bad
Carnal Knowledge
The Cockfighter
Drive, He Said
Dupont Lajoie
Easy Rider
Even Dwarfs Started Small
Every Man for Himself and God Against All
Fata Morgana
Five Easy Pieces
Funny Face
Garden of Allah
General Idi Amin Dada
The Gunfighter
Hester Street
Jesse James
Karl May
King of Marvin Gardens
The Last Detail
Leap Year
Les Ordres
The Man Who Skied Down Everest
Man, Woman and Sin
Ride in the Whirlwind
Song of Bernadette
State Fair
Taking Off
Tol'able David
Trail of the Lonesome Pine
12 O'Clock High
The White Moth
White Sister


Shelley Duvall
Louise Fletcher
Milos Forman
Monte Hellman
Buck Henry
Anjelica Huston
Carol Kane
Mary Kay Place
Joan Silver

It's crazy how many of Jack Nicholson's films they programmed to coincide with his tribute: Carnal Knowledge, Drive He Said, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, King of Marvin Gardens, The Last Detail and Ride in the Whirlwind.

Here's what's even crazier...Jack, Louise Fletcher and Milos Forman were all in town and there's no record of any screening of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which would open on Nov. 19th of that year.


Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War made a splash at Cannes.  The film won Pawlikowski the Best Director prize there.

This weekend we saw the release of a trailer for the U.K.  Here it is from YouTube:

Linked here are stories about the film and its trailer release from The Playlist and The Film Stage.  A note that the August release date is for Great Britain not the U.S. which still leaves the door open for a play at Telluride.  Its distribution from Amazon Studios suggests that there's chance that it could play The SHOW.


Jeff Wells posted a piece at his Hollywood Elsewhere site over the weekend assessing/analyzing the fall fest fortunes of Orson Welles' The Other Side of the Wind.

Over the past few days, the film has emerged as a popular guess as the possible opener for the Venice Fest.

Wells says he has heard a rumor to that effect but he is also relatively confident that regardless of its Venice status that we'll find it on the play list for TFF #45.

That's your MTFB for this Monday.  More tomorrow.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

TFF #45 Ten Bets #3 / Trailer for Mary Queen of Scots / More on Widows in London / Another Note About Acquisitions

Good Friday fellow film fans...


Here's the third installment of the summer's Ten Bets for TFF #45, an ongoing assessment of the films that I feel are the most likely to make the Telluride lineup.

Last week's Ten Bets were:

1) If Beale Street Could Talk
2) The Other Side of the Wind
3) Cold War
4) Capernaum
5) Beautiful Boy
6) Burning
7) Boy Erased
8) Peterloo
9) The Old Man and the Gun
10) The Front Runner

This week's list:

1) If Beale Street Could Talk
2) The Other Side of the Wind
3) Capernaum
4) Beautiful Boy
5) Cold War
6) The Old Man and the Gun
7) Widows
8) Boy Erased
9) Roma
10) The Front Runner

Other films in the hunt:

Sunset, The Sisters Brothers, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The Eyes of Orson Welles, Dogman, On the Basis of Sex, Girl, Happy as Lazzaro, Shoplifters, He Dreams of Giants, First Man, A Star Is Born, Cheney (Backseat), At Eternity's Gate, Everybody Knows, Nothing Like a Dame, The Favourite, Peterloo, Burning


As promised, we got a trailer release yesterday for Josie Rourke's Mary Queen of Scots which stars Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie locked in a tussle for the English crown.  The film is being distributed by Focus Features and is slated for U.S. release on Dec. 7th.

Here's the trailer from YouTube:

And I have linked coverage here from:


The BFI-London Film Fest dropped a huge announcement yesterday (covered in my post from yesterday) that Steve McQueen's Widows, starring Viola Davis and Colin Farrell, will open their festival on Oct. 10th.

Of immediate interest to Telluride fans was the published designation of the film's status for that screening as its International Premiere.  My understanding of that designation is that it means that the BFI-London screening will be the film's first outside of its nation of origin.

There was some back and forth yesterday in some online circles about whether that means a Telluride play, a Toronto play or both.

If the "IP" designation means what I think it means, a Telluride play is happening with no Toronto (also no Venice).  But as a friend emailed me yesterday when the news was breaking..."International premiere-but who knows what that means anymore?"  So, you know, the point there is that the term may be more flexible than it used to be.

All of that plus McQueen's track record with Telluride, was enough for me to place Widows on my Ten Bets list this week (for the first time) at #7.  

Here's linked coverage of the BFI-London announcement from yesterday:

The Guardian (which specifically suggests Telluride is possible)


I mentioned yesterday that Magnolia Pictures hadn't had a film at TFF since 2015.  Eagle-eyed friend of the blog Kenny Miles messaged me with the info that Magnolia partnered with Amazon on Ai WeiWei's documentary Human Flow last year.  Thanks to Kenny for the info!

That's wrap for this week on MTFB.  More to come on Monday...from...somewhere in Colorado...

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Late Breaking: Widows to Open BFI-London Fest / The Usual Suspects 2018-Part Two / Trailers Are Happenin' / Acquisition News

Good Thursday friends and neighbors...


News early this morning from Britain that Steve McQueen's Widows will open the BFI-London Film Fest on Oct. 10th.  Of particular interest is that fact that the film is listed as its International Premiere.  That means a couple of things.  It will not have played Venice but, as it is not the World Premiere, it will have played somewhere else prior to BFI-London.  If I understand the designation that would mean that it would be playing in London for the first time outside its nation of origin.

To me that sounds like a Telluride play though I have seen some commentary that it could mean Toronto.  I think the former os more likely.

Here's the release from the BFI-London Fest:

LONDON, Thursday 12th July, 2018 – The 62nd BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® is thrilled to announce that this year’s Opening Night gala will be Academy Award®- winner Steve M cQueen’s WIDOWS. The International premiere will take place on Wednesday 10th October at the Cineworld, Leicester Square. Co-written by McQueen and best-selling novelist and screenwriter Gillian Flynn and starring Academy Award®- winner Viola Davis, WIDOWS is a complex thriller about a group of women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities. A star-studded ensemble cast includes: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya and Jacki Weaver with Robert Duvall and Liam Neeson. BFI Fellow, WIDOWS Director and Co-Writer Steve McQueen comments: “I am absolutely delighted that WIDOWS will be opening this year's BFI London Film Festival. Watching the UK TV version of Lynda La Plante's original thriller as a teenager in the 80s had a major impact on me and so it feels very special to be sharing this film with a UK audience." BFI London Film Festival Artistic Director, Tricia Tuttle says: “We treasure the work of BFI Fellow and Festival alumni Steve McQueen, so it’s an utter pleasure to open our Festival with the International Premiere of WIDOWS. Adapted from a ground-breaking UK television classic into a feature to savour on the biggest cinema screens, this is scintillatingly rich storytelling from a magnificent filmmaker, probing issues around race, class and gender, while always delivering immense style and crackingly sharp thrills.” From Steve M cQueen (12 Years a Slave) and co-writer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) comes a blistering, modernday thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption. Taking place in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of political and class turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. WIDOWS also stars Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry. Based on the TV series “Widows” by Lynda La Plante, the film sees Steve M cQueen serve as producer, together with Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Arnon Milchan. From Twentieth Century Fox, Regency Enterprises and See-Saw Films in association with Film4, WIDOWS is released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 9 November. The 62nd BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® takes place from Wednesday 10 October-Sunday 21 October 2018. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 30 August 2018. 


I started on Tuesday looking at people with significant Telluride pasts that have films that could make an appearance at TFF #45.  Tuesday's crew was Barry Jenkins, Steve McQueen, Jacques Audiard, Jason Reitman and Alfonso Cuaron (with an assist from Alejandro Inarritu).

Today a look at six more:

Ken Burns...a Telluride staple.  Burns doesn't officially seem to have anything ready, however he's been working on his Muhammed Ali documentary for PBS since March of last year.  It's not outside the realm of possibility that some or all of that might show up on a screen in Telluride over Labor Day.

Roger Michell...Michell has been to Telluride in the past with Hyde Park on Hudson, Venus and Persuasion and Enduring Love.  He's been to T-ride a lot and this year has a special documentary... Nothing Like a Dame features four grand dames of British acting: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins.  IFC Films has the U.S. distribution.  Definitely think this is possible.

Sebastian Lelio...Great T-ride success for Lelio in the recent past with Gloria in 2013 and A Fantastic Woman last year. This year his Disobedience made a splash.  Now, he could possibly return to Telluride with the English language version of Gloria starring Julianne Moore in the title role.  The film is reportedly in post-production.  Would it be odd to see the new version of a film that played in TFF in 2013?  Sure, but not impossible.

Mark Cousins...Cousins was, at one time, one of the surest picks for TFF.  The Story of Film, What is This Film Called Love?, The Story of Children and Film but he hasn't been in the San Juans since 2013.  That could change this year with his latest doc, The Eyes of Orson Welles.  I could certainly see that being a selection to complement the expected screenings of Welles' The Other Side of the Wind...which seems very likely to me to play TFF.

Mike Leigh...Leigh has also deep T-ride roots with High Hopes, Naked, Secrets and Lies (as a part of his 1996 tribute), Happy-Go-Lucky, Another Year and more.  And he has a new film ready to go: Peterloo.  I have been thinking its inclusion is a no-brainer...but...I've heard some rumblings over the past week and the latest from Mr. Leigh may be less likely a cinch than I originally thought.  Peterloo may be out of the Ten Bets tomorrow.


Yesterday gave us a couple of new posters for Mary Queen of Scots starring Saorise Ronan and Margot Robbie.  Additionally, we found out that a trailer for the film will drop today.  I'll tweet that out on my @Gort account when that happens and include it here tomorrow.

We also know from earlier in the week via Anton Volkov's Trailer Track website that On the Basis of Sex should be showing up with a trailer very soon as well.

Last night Volkov let spill that a trailer for Boy Erased is also soon to be released.  That story is linked here.

Very exciting that we're going to get to see the wares from Focus Features.


A couple of pieces of intriguing acquisition news.  Magnolia has reported nabbed domestic rights to Matteo Garrone's Dogman.  The film played well at Cannes.  It could portend at Telluride play.  Or not.  Magnolia hasn't placed a film at T-ride since Viva! in 2015.

Also in the news was Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate/ LD Entertainment acquiring the Julia Roberts starrer Ben Is Back, also starring Lucas Hedges (who also has Boy Erased in place for this fall).  The film has been dated for a Dec. 7th release making me wonder if it will also see some time on the fall fest circuit.

The Dogman story is here from The Hollywood Reporter.

The Ben Is Back story is here from The Hollywood Reporter  as well as The Wrap.

That's your Thursday.  Tomorrow will have the 3rd Ten Bets for TFF #45 and should have the trailer for Mary Queen of Scots.  Come on back!

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

First Signs of Beale Street / The Usual Suspects -Part One 2018 / The Favourite Teaser Appears

Welcome to Tuesday, July 10, 2018...


Stefan James, Kiki Layne, Regina King and Barry Jenkins at Essence Fest

One of the most hotly anticipated titles of the fall has to be Oscar winner Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk.  The film is the writer/director's follow up to the thrice Oscar winning Moonlight.  It's an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel of the same name.

That alone would be enough to pique the interest of Telluriders but adding fuel to the fire has been the relative quiet surrounding the film.

There is a good deal of speculation that it will play Venice and I have had it at the number one spot on this summer's first Ten Bets lists for TFF #45.  We also know that its one of the films that Annapuna Pictures is distributing this fall...as Megan Ellison's production company adds distribution to its list of services.  Other films in their lineup include: Backseat, The Sisters Brothers and Destroyer.

All that to get to the story that Jenkins and some of the actors in the film: Regina King, Stephan James and Kiki Layne, were featured in a Q+A about the film at New Orleans' Essence Fest this past weekend.

Here's the 14 minute interview from YouTube:

If Beale Street Could Talk is not yet scheduled for release in the United States.


If Beale Street Could Talk director and TFF Usual Suspect Barry Jenkins

There are a number of people that have, over the years have become frequent players at Telluride.They're folks that may not always be there and even if they are there, they don't always have a project that screens at the fest but often times you can predict some of the choices for the fest based on The Usual Suspects and what they do have to offer.

For example...Barry Jenkins...who has been a part of the fest in a variety of ways for a decade and a half.  That's why his If Beale Street Could Talk is at the top of the Ten Bets list.

Steve McQueen-His Hunger, Shame and Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave all screened at Telluride which leads one to think that Widows is a good bet.  I've been holding back on putting it in the Ten Bets because the film's description seems less Telluride-y than McQueen's previous efforts.  Still, it wouldn't surprise if it were to screen at T-ride.

Jacques Audiard-Audiard has been represented thrice at TFF 1996- A Self Made Hero, 2009-A Prophet and 2012-Rust and Bone.  However his Palme D'or winning Dheepan wasn't at The SHOW in 2015.  His The Sisters Brothers could get him back to the San Juans.

Alejandro Inarritu is a great example of a "usual suspect" who attends even when he doesn't have a project.  That happened last year when he was in town to support his amigo Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water.  I suspect that could happen again this year for Alfonso Cuaron's Roma.  Cuaron, himself would become a "usual suspect" this year if Roma plays.  I think that could happen.

Jason Reitman- At one point Reitman was a sure TFF bet as he ran off a series of SHOW entrants: Juno (07), Up in the Air (09) and Labor Day (13) but Young Adult and Men, Women and Children which might have played The SHOW did not.  Reitman could return this year with The Frontrunner.  There's a decent chance that could happen.

I'll look at more of  "The Usual Suspects on Thursday.


Yorgos Lanthimos has made a big splash on the art house circuit over the past few years with The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer including an Oscar nomination for writing The Lobster.

This year he has directed the historically based The Favourite set during the reign of Queen Anne in Britain in the 1700's.  Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone star and the film is reportedly more "accessible" than either Lobster or Scared Deer.  As it is from Fox Searchlight, this might be the year that a Lanthimos film makes the TFF lineup.

All of that reminder material is to get to the fact that the film had a teaser/trailer release on Monday.  Here it is from YouTube:

The Favourite is scheduled for release on Nov. 23rd.

That's your Tuesday MTFB.  More to come on Thursday.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

The Distributors 2018: Not so Much / And Some Overlooked Distribution Notes / Trailers Looming: On the Basis of Sex and Mary Queen of Scots / First Venice Speculation

Welcome back from your weekend to MTFB.


Today's final look at distributors that seem to have films in play for the 45th Telluride Film Festival is actually a look at films that seem like they could be players that do not have distribution deals in place for the U.S.

That could still change in the next eight weeks and we'll be keeping a close eye on that as an acquisition of any of these titles could signal an increase or decrease in the chances that a film would potentially be TFF bound.

Here's the list of films:

The Other Side of the Wind-Netflix is listed as having the TV distribution for this but pointedly is not listed as being the theatrical distributor.  Producer Frank Marshall is on record as saying that the film will be screened in theaters...sooo???

At Eternity's Gate-Julian Schnabel's Vincent Van Gogh pic.

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan- Xavier Dolan...been floating around for a long time.

Sunset-Laszlo Nemes' follow-up to his brilliant Son of Saul (IMDb currently lists Playtime as having world wide rights for all media)

And a slew of Cannes films that garnered good critical buzz in May: Long Days Journey Into Night, The Wild Pear Tree, Ash Is the Purest White and Dogman.

Additionally add Karlovy Vary top prize winner I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.

From this list I feel that The Other Side of the Wind and Sunset are the most likely for Telluride (The Other Side of the Wind has been at the #2 spot on my first two Ten Bets of this summer).  All of the others would be credible entrants for TFF #45 (and I do have a vibe for Matteo Garrone's Dogman).


As I was going over my notes for films that lack distribution, I ran across three films that have a serious shot at Telluride that DO have U.S. distribution but which I left off of previous posts.  Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War is with Amazon and Cannes entrants Happy as Lazzaro and Girl are both under the wing of Netflix.

Also add in Karyn Kusawa's Destroyer starring Nicole Kidman.  It's being distributed by Annapurna Pictures.


Anton Volkov's Trailer Track site notified subscribers over the weekend that we could expect to see trailers from Focus Features for both Mimi Leder's On the Basis of Sex which features Felicity Jones as a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg and also for Josie Rourke's Mary, Queen of Scots featuring Saorise Ronan and Margot Robbie.

Here are links to Volkov's posts flagging the expected arrival for both trailers soon:

Mary, Queen of Scots

On the Basis of Sex


I ran across a serious speculative piece about films that might make the Venice lineup from an Italian website over the weekend: Ilsussidiario.net.  There are several films listed there that could certainly make the Venice/Telluride double play.

That Venice to Telluride (or in some instances the other way...Telluride to Venice) has become a stronger connection over the past few years.

Last year saw Oscar Best Picture winner The Shape of Water make that connection as well as Downsizing, First Reformed, Foxtrot, Human Flow, The Insult, Lean on Pete and Wormwood screen in both places.

Among the films listed in the post that I have been talking about for Telluride are:

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
First Man
The Favourite
The Sisters Brothers
If Beale Street Could Talk
Beautiful Boy
A Star Is Born
Boy Erased

The Google translated version of the piece is linked here.

That's your Monday version of MTFB.  More to come tomorrow including a start on this year's look at "The Usual Suspects".

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Ten Bets #2 for TFF #45 / History Project: The Third Telluride Film Festival / The Distributors 2018: Specialty Houses

Welcome to Friday...


Time for the second installment of MTFB's Ten Bets for this year's Telluride Film Festival.  These are the ten films that I believe, for this moment, to be the most likely to make the lineup for the 45th edition of The SHOW.

Last week's Ten Bets was:

1) If Beale Street Could Talk
2) The Other Side of the Wind
3) Peterloo
4) Capernaum
5) Cold War
6) The Old Man and the Gun
7) Sunset
8) Burning
9) The Front Runner
10) Beautiful Boy

Here's this week's Ten Bets:

1) If Beale Street Could Talk
2) The Other Side of the Wind
3) Cold War
4) Capernaum
5) Beautiful Boy
6) Burning
7) Boy Erased
8) Peterloo
9) The Old Man and the Gun
10) The Front Runner

Other films in the hunt:

Sunset, The Sisters Brothers, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The Eyes of Orson Welles, Dogman, On the Basis of Sex, Girl, Happy as Lazzaro, Shoplifters, He Dreams of Giants, First Man, Widows,  A Star Is Born, Cheney (Backseat), Roma, At Eternity's Gate, Everybody Knows.


I'm closing in on the conclusion of my project to expand the history section of this site as I cast an eye back to the third Telluride Film Festival that ran from Sept. 3-6, 1976.


Chuck Jones, King Vidor and King Kong


The Big Parade
Billy the Kid
Blue Jeans
Chulas Fronteras
The Crowd
Dersu Uzala
The Fire Within
Greaser's Palace
Heart of Glass
King Kong
La Marquise D'o
The Lost World
Most Dangerous Game
Music and People of the Northeast
Pastoral Hide and Seek
Phantom Tollbooth
Signs of Life
Spirit of the Beehive
Stories from the Jungle Book
Street Scene
The Thief
Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight
The Wedding March
A Well Spent Life
Wild Horse Mesa
Wild Oranges


Robert Downey
Werner Herzog
Ed Lachman
Louis Malle
Barbet Schroeder
Fay Wray


I'm taking a quick look at specialty distribution companies that have had some Telluride successes over the past few years each of which has a film that stands a shot at making the Telluride lineup:


2006- Severance
2007- Terror's Advocate, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Redacted
2012- The Hunt, A Royal Affair
2015- Viva


2008- Kisses
2011- We Need to Talk About Kevin
2016- Lost in Paris

Strand Releasing

2010- Cameraman
2011- Bonsai
2012- Paradise: Love
2013- The Missing Picture
2014- Dancing Arabs
2016- Mifune: The Last Samurai

Here's what they have:

Magnolia has Cannes Palme D'or winner and critical success Shoplifters.  I actually think this film has a good chance to make TFF #45.  So much so that if I had a #11 on today's Ten Bets, Shoplifters would be there.

Oscilloscope has Margarethe Von Trotter's Searching for Ingmar Bergman which also seems like a good fit for TFF.  It also played at Cannes.

Strand Releasing's best shot appears to be Cannes entry Sorry Angel.  Of the three films I'm looking at, it seems like the least likely but it's not an impossibility.


Shoplifters- 45%
Searching for Ingmar Bergman- 40%
Sorry Angel- 20%

Monday, a look at films that seem like Telluride possibles that still lack a U.S. distributor.

Have a good weekend!

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Distributors 2018: Big Dogs / Don Quixote Legal Woes Won't Stop It / Moore's New Doc at TFF? / For Your Consideration

Thursday...July 5, 2018

Welcome back to MTFB...


There are, each year, a number of films that feel like they could have some Telluride potential that are distributed by one of the big studios that often have a limited profile in as far as T-ride is concerned.  This year is no different.

For example, Steve McQueen's Widows is set up at 20th Century Fox and Damien Chazelle's First Man is set to come from Universal.

Because of the two directors, and their pasts with TFF, I have to consider them as possibles for TFF #45 despite the fact that 20th Century Fox and Universal have very limited histories at the fest.

Also included in the calculation are Robert Zemeckis' Welcome to Marwen and Bryan Singer's Bohemian Rhapsody.

I might also mention that Columbia has Jason Reitman's take on Gary Hart's 1988 presidential run in The Front Runner and the Matthew McConaughey starrer White Boy Rick directed by Yann Dannage (who, like Chazelle and McQueen has been to Telluride before).  It also falls into this category of films.

Of the six films listed here, my feel is that the most likely to make Telluride is Reitman's The FrontRunner.  Reitman used to be a regular at Telluride and this could be his ticket back to The SHOW.  Give it a 40% chance.

Widows is next in line simply because the Steve McQueen connection has been tight.  He screened Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave at T-ride.  Give it a 35% chance to play.

Chazelle's First Man is next at 30%.

I give Welcome to Marwen a 25% shot, White Boy Rick a 20% chance and Bohemian Rhapsody seems the least likely at 10%.

Tomorrow I'll look at films that feel like they have a decent shot at Telluride from occasional specialty houses that make TFF appearances.


After so much back and forth legally regarding Terry Gilliam's long awaited passion project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, it now appears that the film is going to be around quite a lot in the next few months.

The Hollywood Reporter's Nick Holdsworth writes that the film (having just screened at the Karlovy Vary Film Fest) will screen in competition at the Munich Film Fest and Gilliam says it will open wide in Holland and Belgium soon.

This series of events seems to indicate that the film is fully possible to screen in the U.S. at any and all of the fall fests.

It should be noted that the film was, at one point, set to be distributed by Amazon Studios but that they dropped out when legal issues endangered its planned screening at Cannes.

The complete THR story is here.


Michael Moore has made it clear that he's going to pushing his new Donald Trump documentary Fahrenheit 11/9 hard for the next few months insisting that he wants it seen by as many people as possible prior to November's midterm elections.

One has to suspect that will include some presence on the fall festival circuit and that could include seeing it pop up at Telluride.

Moore has been at Telluride by my count four times-1989, 1992, 2002 and as a guest in 2013 for the fest's 40th anniversary.  So, especially with how much Telluride's profile has increased over the last decade, you have to consider it a possibility.

Here's the Indiewire article from Michael Nordine reporting on Moore's recent appearance on Bill Maher.


Recent articles at both The Playlist and World of Reel highlight what seem to be a larger than normal pool of films that might have legitimate aspirations for Oscar glory and that seems to be opening a wide door for those films and where they could land for their premieres.

Both article authors (Jordan Ruimy-World of Reel and Greg Ellwood-The Playlist) mention Telluride in this context.

Interesting tidbits from the Ruimy piece:

Alfonso Cuaron's Roma has hot buzz.
Mike Leigh's Peterloo was submitted for Cannes but was not chosen
Test screening response for Damien Chazelle's First Man has been okay but not through the roof
He describes Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk as "artsy".

Meanwhile, Ellwood's article poses a number of questions about Oscar quirks for 2018.

Check the articles out.

World of Reel

The Playlist

That's today's MTFB.  Come back tomorrow for the week's NEW TEN BETS...

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

TWITTER @Gort2 (and follow me there as well)

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Quick Note / The Distributors 2018: Warner Brothers / Boy Erased and On the Basis of Sex Move / It's Nice to Have Friends

It's Tuesday and after an unexpected hiccup. MTFB has returned!


As you may have noticed, there was no Monday post yesterday.  My apologies for that.  I was in Southern Colorado and caught up by the outage of Verizon, Comcast and Spectrum and had no real Internet connectivity from Friday until last night.

That kept me from getting MTFB's normal Monday post up.  I'm back today...


Here's today's take on film distributors and their Telluride history which could give insight into films that might play at TFF #45.

I'm looking today at a major studio which used to have an independent arm that was a  serious presence at Telluride (Warner Independent) and who has, on occasion since the demise of that arm, still made the field of TFFs.

Warner Bros recent history:

2012: Argo
2013: Gravity, Prisoners
2015: Black Mass
2016: Sully

Warner Independent played Telluride in 2006 with Infamous and 2007 with Rails and Ties.

If Warners is to return to Telluride this year it would almost certainly be with Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star Is Born starring Cooper and Lady Gaga in the story that has been filmed four times now by Hollywood.  A Star Is Born has a ton of buzz and is set for releases on Oct. 5th.

WB had great success in '12 and '13 with Argo winning Best Picture and Gravity just being edged by 12 Years a Slave (but winning Best Direction and six other Oscars) but both Black Mass and Sully failed to generate that same success.

Ultimately, I regard A Star Is Born as a 1 in 3 shot at making the TFF lineup.  Maybe I should have it with slightly better odds.  If Warners really thinks it is a serious Oscar player (and considering Telluride's recent track record regarding Oscar winners) you'd have to think that they'll push to get it in the lineup.

Here's the trailer for A Star Is Born from YouTube:


Focus Features announced yesterday that they were shifting release dates for two of their fall releases.  Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased has moved from its original Sept. 28th release to a prime Nov. 2nd and On the Basis of Sex has moved from Nov. 9th to Dec. 26th.

A number of outlets reported on the change suggesting that the moves were made to better position both for awards consideration.

Especially intriguing is the new spot for Boy Erased which moves into a release spot that would allow it to play any or all of the fall fests including New York.

Alan French at Awards Circuit says the changes increase the "traction" potential for Boy Erased and does not mean that On the Basis of Success won't be a part of the Festival scene.

Anne Thompson at Indiewire says that Boy Erased is "Expected to debut at the fall festivals".

My feeling here is that the move probably increases the Telluride chances for Telluride audiences to see Boy Erased and lowers them for On the Basis of Sex though it doesn't remove its chances of making The SHOW.

Coverage is linked here from Variety, Indiewire, Deadline and Awards Circuit.


I posted the first Ten Bets list of predictions for the Telluride lineup for 2018 last Friday. I always see an uptick in traffic to the blog each summer when I start the Ten Bets lists as people’s interest in the fest increases as we get closer to Labor Day weekend.

Friday’s post got an extra boost, however, thanks to an article written by Sasha Stone and posted to her website Awards Daily. Sasha has been a good friend to me as well as a supporter and booster of MTFB for quite awhile.

Many readers of the blog can’t help but noticing that I’m a big fan of hers as well as I often link to film news, trailers and such at her site. Sasha has also served as one of the industry pros that rate films for me during TFF. I also rely on her Oscar predicting prowess once the fest is over each year and I begin focusing on which films from TFF will be a part of the awards season conversation. You’ve also probably noticed that I added a blurb recently from Sasha to the banner at the top of my posts.

We’re buddies.

Another note from her Friday post...the films she thinks sound like good T-ride bets are: Beautiful Boy, If Beale Street Could Talk and Cold War.

So, my thanks to Sasha and here’s the link to the story at Awards Daily.

That's today's MTFB.  More to come on Thursday as I get back to the regular summer posting schedule.

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

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Friday, June 29, 2018

The First Ten Bets for TFF #45 / Awards Daily Critics' List / Burning Has a Home

Good Friday all!  Big post today!


Here you have it.  My first official stab at guessing/predicting/projecting/hoping for films that will play at The SHOW in Telluride over Labor Day weekend.

The first set of predictions every June is fraught with uncertainty.  I look at a lot of factors:  Studios. distributors, TFF histories, especially with directors.  The buzz around films we know are coming in the fall and will almost assuredly play some if not all of the Telluride/Venice/Toronto triumvirate.  Oscar hopefuls, Cannes titles and a lot of the time, especially in early July...it's about intuition.

It all factors into my assessments.

Here's the history of success, or lack thereof, for each of the last seven years that I have been using the "Ten Bets" format:

2011: 8/10
2012: 5/10
2013: 6/10
2014: 7/10
2015: 4/10
2016: 3/10
2017: 7/10

As you can tell, last year was a bounce back after low years of 2015 and 2016.

Overall, I manage an average of  5.7 correct guesses with the initial Ten Bets of each season.

So...crossing fingers... here's the first Ten Bets for 2018 (in order of likelihood):

10) Beautiful Boy- I think Amazon Studios will land at Telluride with this, at least and maybe more.

9) The Front Runner- Jason Reitman was once a T-ride favorite.  My guess is that this film gets him back.

8) Burning- this was Cannes' unrewarded critical darling from a director who has played TFF before.   This was actually higher on my list until word broke yesterday that it had been grabbed for U.S. distribution by Well Go USA Entertainment.   See below.

7) Sunset- If its half as good as his first film (Son of Saul), Laszlo Nemes will return.

6) The Old Man and the Gun- This feels like Fox Searchlight's best play for Oscar season and thus its best chance at a Telluride berth...though they do have other possibles.

5) Cold War- Pawel Pawlikowski with a good shot to return to TFF.

4) Capernaum- Cannes Jury Prize winner and SPC's most likely shot for the schedule.

3) Peterloo- Mike Leigh's film about labour strife in Britain.

2) The Other Side of the Wind-Orson Welles "last film".  If this doesn't play Telluride I will be greatly surprised and, for that matter, upset.

1) If Beale Street Could Talk- It would a shock if Barry Jenkins' follow-up to his Oscar winning Moonlight does not make The SHOW's lineup.

Others on my "just under the Ten Bets" list: Boy Erased, The Sisters Brothers, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The Eyes of Orson Welles, Dogman, On the Basis of Sex, Girl, Happy as Lazzaro, Shoplifters, He Dreams of Giants, First Man, Widows,  A Star Is Born, Cheney (Backseat), Roma, At Eternity's Gate, Everybody Knows.

What do YOU think?  What films do YOU think might play?  What films do YOU WANT to play?

Drop me a note at any one of the contact methods listed below.

Looking at this list before I punch the button to publish, I'm saying to myself...naw...these can't all happen...but what if they did???

So, there you have it.  Let's see now how many of these films actually make the lineup.


Jordan Ruimy, writing and compiling for Awards Daily has posted a "Best Of" critics assessment for the first half of 2018.

TFF #45 films pop up on the list with some frequency.  Included on the list are:

#13-Lean on Pete
#6-The Rider
#1-First Reformed

Pretty impressive for the films that played last year but weren't released until this year.  The complete list from Awards Daily is here.


As I mentioned above,  Lee Chang-dong's Cannes critical fave Burning has a distributor.  Variety reports that Well Go USA Entertainment has acquired the film and plans a limited release on Oct. 26th in NYC with expansion after that.

The film was right at the top of the critics' polls after its screening at Cannes but had languished without a distributor until yesterday.

As you see above, I still have it listed among my first Ten Bets list, albeit lower than I was thinking earlier this week, despite the fact that Well Go USA has essentially no Telluride history to speak of.

The complete story is linked here from Variety

That's your Friday MTFB.  Come back for more on Monday.

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

TWITTER @Gort2 (and follow me there as well)

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Distributors 2018: The Cohen Media Group / Beautiful Boy Trailer and Poster Land / Marwen Moved

It;s Thursday and MTFB is back with more speculation and reportage regarding the Telluride Film Festival...


Over the years the Cohen Media Group has had a modestly robust presence at the Telluride Film Festival.  Here's the history of the organization at TFF since 2012:

2012-The Attack
2015-Hitchcock/Truffaut, Marguerite, Rams
2016-Journey Through French Cinema
2017- The Insult, Faces Places

But this year, at least at this moment, CMG's larder is almost bare.  According to IMDb it seems as of the only film that they have that could be in play for TFF is Julien Landais' The Aspern Papers based on the Henry James novel and starring Joely Richardson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Vanessa Redgrave.

The period romance has reportedly been in post-production since last August.

Put The Aspern Papers at 30% and also keep an eye peeled for other Cohen Media acquisitions as we go through the next few weeks.  Should that happen, it might change the calculus for CMG's TFF profile.


 As advertised, the trailer for Felix Von Groeningen's Beautiful Boy starring Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet popped yesterday.  It's good.  Here its is from YouTube:

The film tells the true story of father and son Nic and David Sheff and the challenges to their lives and relationships due to the son's drug addiction.  The screenplay is based on the memoirs of both; father David's Beautiful Boy and son Nic's Tweak.

The film is distributed by Amazon Studios and is scheduled for release on Oct. 12th.

Here's coverage of the release of the trailer from:

Entertainment Weekly

The Playlist

Awards Daily

The Film Stage





A couple of these outlets mention that the film is expected to play the fall film circuit.  ShowBiz411 specifically mention Telluride and Toronto as possibilities.

Yes please.


I was very excited and responsive to the trailer that was released a week ago but in these intervening seven days came news that Universal has decided to move the film's release from its original November date to Dec. 21.  The U dated Green Room for the Nov. date in Welcome to Marwen's place.

Here are details from Variety and Awards Circuit.

My initial impression is that the move to December could signal that the film won't be ready in time for Telluride/Venice/Toronto.  It might also indicate a New York Film Fest premiere and/or and AFI Fest slot as well.

It almost certainly signals less of a chance that the film will make it to Telluride.

That's today's MTFB.  Come back tomorrow for the first Ten Bets for TFF #45!

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

TWITTER @Gort2 (and follow me there as well)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Distributors 2018: Netflix / Widows Has a New T.V. Spot / Coming Friday: Ten Bets #1

Hello on this late Tuesday in June...


I talked last week about Amazon Studios and how the streaming giant has developed a robust relationship with Telluride over the past few years.  Also making in-roads with Telluride is the other streamer that has changed the face of how film/TV relate and are integrated/ignored vis-a-vis film festivals.  Netflix has made its mark in Telluride over the past few years.  To wit:

2015- Beasts of No Nation, Winter on Fire
2016- The Ivory Game, Into the Inferno
2017- First They Killed My Father, Wormwood

So, a couple of things each year for the last three years.

It will be interesting to see if the Cannes/Netflix dustup from earlier this year has any effect on Netflix's TFF profile.

Netflix certainly has projects that could make a play at T-ride and/or, perhaps Venice since none of their stable played at Cannes.

Here are some of the films that are under the Netflix banner that could make the grade for Labor Day weekend:

Orson Welles' The Other Side of the Wind
Alfonso Curaron's Roma
David Mackenzie's Outlaw King
Alice Rohrwacher's Happy as Lazzaro
Lukas Dhnot's Girl

and a couple of wild cards...

IMDb reports that J.C. Chandor's Triple Frontier has gone into post-production.  Could it be ready for an early September bow?  It's unlikely but not impossible.

ANd then there is the biggest of Netflix's big fish, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman which is dated for release until 2019 but has reported been in post-production since February.

All of these could make a play at TFF #45 but, as you'd expect, some have a better shot than others.

Probably the most likely is the finished project from Orson Welles.  I am increasingly bullish on its chances of making the fest.

The two Cannes acquisitions, Girl and Happy as Lazzraro, are next in line in terms of TFF probability.

Curaon's Roma also has a decent shot to play as the buzz on it is strong and it's probably Netflix's best shot at breaking into this year's Oscar race.

I get the sense that the Mackenzie film is less likely and, of course, both the Chandor and Scorsese are extremely unlikely.

Netflix almost certainly has a documentary or two that I am overlooking that could/will make the TFF lineup.

This could be the first year Netflix lands more than two films at Telluride-or-because of the rift with Cannes-none.


The Other Side of the Wind- 80%
Girl and/or Happy as Lazzaro- 50%
Roma- 40%
Outlaw King- 25%
Triple Frontier- 15%
The Irishman- 5%

Thursday's Distributor d'jour will be the Cohen Media Group.


Steve McQueen's Widows continues to draw a lot of attention and that interest was stoked once again earlier this week with the release of a new television spot for the film.

Widows tells the story of a group of women (Viola Davis, Carrie Coon and Michelle Rodriguez among them) who face the aftermath of a failed crime that their dead husbands tried to commit.  The film is slated to open Nov. 16th.

Here's the new spot courtesy of YouTube:


That's right, three days hence comes the first "official" stab at ten films that I think will play at the 45th Telluride Film Festival.  I'll post a new "Ten Bets" each Friday until the fest with a special final "Ten Bets" on Wednesday, August 29th, the day before TFF announces the lineup.

Between this Friday and then we'll gain clarity from announcements about the lineups for Toronto, Venice, New York, London and Fantastic Fest (Austin).

Also, the "Ten Bets" will actually expand as more and more information becomes available.  Last year, the final list before the TFF announcement contained 25 films (24 of which played the festival).

So, mark your calendar you Telluride film fans...Friday is day one as the countdown to Labor Day weekend gets real.

That's a wrap for today's MTFB.  More to come on Thursday.

EMAIL:  mpgort@gmail.com OR michael_speech@hotmail.com

TWITTER @Gort2 (and follow me there as well)

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