Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Distributors 2018: Sundance Selects and IFC Films / The 4th Telluride Film Festival Re-visited /Marwen Trailer Looming?

Welcome to Tuesday...


The series of analyzing the films that specific distribution companies have in the pipeline and their chance at playing TFF #45 continues today looking at the partnered firms of Sundance Selects and IFC Films.

Here's the recent history of Sundance Selects and IFC Films with TFF:

Looking for a probable film from these outfits this year is a difficult proposition.  This again is likely a result of the growth of Amazon and Netflix within the film industry as well as the expansion of entities like A24, Neon and Annapurna.

My best prediction for a film from this combo is Roger Michell's documentary There's Nothing Like a Dame. 

The doc focuses on the lives and careers of four legendary British actresses: Eileen Atkins, Joan Plowright, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

Another reason to think that it might make a TFF play is Roger Michell's history with the fest.  Past Michell films at T-ride include Venus and Hyde Park on Hudson.

The film has no known release date at this time per IMDb all of which suggests that it could make the Labor Day lineup.

Chances: 30%.

2003: Touching the Void, Intermission
2004: Nobody Knows
2005: Three Times
2006: Deep Water, Indigenes, Day Night Day Night
2007: Secret Sunshine, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, Jar City
2008: Hunger, Gomorrah, Flame and Citron, Everlasting Moments, The Good, the Bad and the Weird
2009: Fish Tank, Red Riding Trilogy, Life During Wartime, Vincere
2010: The Princess of Montpensier, Carlos, Tabloid
2011: Into the Abyss, Pina, The Forgiveness of Blood, The Kid with a Bike, Goodbye First Love
2012: Frances Ha, The Central Park Five, Everyday
2013: Blue is the Warmest Color
2014: Two Days, One Night, Seymour: An Introduction
2015: 45 Years
2016: Things to Come, Graduation, Wakefield
2017: Eating Animals


Counting down the last few beginning TFFs now as we look back to the fourth fest that was held Sept. 2-5, 1977.

Tributes: Michael Powell, Agnes Varda, Ben Carre


The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
The Ascent
Black Narcissus
The Bluebird
Cleo from 5 to 7
Coup de Grace
The Devil's Playground
A Geisha
I Know Where I'm Going
It Happened Here
La Pointe Courte
La Roi des Champs Elysees
Le Bonheur
The Light in the Dark
Lion's Love
The Magician
A Matter of Life and Death
Nine Months
Old San Francisco
Picture Show Man
Queen of Apollo
The Red Dance
Rudd Family Goes to Town
The Spy in Black
The Squatter's Daughter
The Volunteer
Voyage to the Grand Tartary
Wake and Fright
A Woman's Face


Werner Herzog
Ed Lachman
Martin Scorsese


Steve Carell on the set of Welcome to Marwen

Steve Carell has a couple of projects that could end up in front of Telluride audiences by the time we get to Labor Day weekend.  The more likely is Beautiful Boy co-starring actor of the moment Timothee Chalamet. 

The other is, like Beautiful Boy, based on a true story of a man finding a novel way of healing himself in the aftermath of a harsh attack.

Robert Zemeckis directs Welcome to Marwen.  Word from Anton Volkov/Trailer Track that a Marwen trailer drop is imminent.

Here's the story from Trailer Track.

I'll pass the trailer along as soon as possible.

That's your MTFB for this Tuesday.  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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Monday, June 18, 2018

The Distributors 2018: A24 / Guest Director Named / Don Gone?

Good Monday everyone.  I hope you survived the weekend...


I continue my breakdown of film distribution companies and their films with a look toward what seems the most likely players for TFF #45.  Today we turn to relative newcomer A24.  A24 Appeared on the Telluride scene just a few years ago but has made a substantial splash in a short time.  Here's their TFF run:

2017: Lean on Pete, First Reformed, Lady Bird
2016: Moonlight
2015: Room
2014:  No film
2013: Under the Skin
2012: Ginger and Rosa

Seven films in six years with three Best Picture Oscar nominations and the win in 2016 for Moonlight.  So you have to think that A24 is a player for 2018 but it feels like their cupboard is a bit bare.  Two films that we might take a look at, Native Son and The Lighthouse are dated, at least currently, for 2019.

Maybe the biggest shot for A24 this year is the Jonah Hill directed and written Mid 90's.  The film purportedly went into post production in late July of last year and has had relatively good buzz.

I, however, am a tad leery about thinking a Jonah Hill debut is necessarily a likely event for T-ride.  Still, this film seems like A24's best shot at the fall fests including Telluride.  Maybe their only one.  Or, perhaps this year is like 2014 and A24 doesn't play this year.

Mid 90's chances to make TFF #45: 30%.

Tomorrow Sundance Selects and IFC Films.


We found out who will guest direct the 2018 edition of the Telluride Film Festival.  It's author Jonathan Lethem.

Here's the press release from the Fest:

BERKELEY, CA – Telluride Film Festival, presented by National Film Preserve LTD., is proud to announce its 2018 Guest Director, Jonathan Lethem. The award-winning novelist, essayist and short story writer is set to select a series of films to present at the 45th Telluride Film Festival running over Labor Day Weekend, August 31 - September 3, 2018.

Festival organizers annually select one of the world’s groundbreaking artists to join them in the creation of the Festival’s program lineup. The Guest Director serves as a key collaborator in the Festival’s programming decisions, bringing new ideas and overlooked films to Telluride. In keeping with Telluride Film Festival tradition, Lethem’s film selections, along with the rest of the Telluride lineup, will be kept secret until Opening Day.

“Tom and I first met Jonathan through Criterion Collection,” said Telluride Film Festival executive director Julie Huntsinger. “Since then, we have forever been impressed with his knowledge of and enthusiasm for cinema.  We are thrilled to have him join us for the 2018 Festival!”

One of America’s greatest contemporary writers, Jonathan Lethem was born in 1964 in Brooklyn, NYC to artist Richard Lethem and late political activist Judith Lethem. His impressive body of work spans 10 novels, five short story collections, a novella, two books of essays, a comic series and writings in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and Mc Sweeny’s. Lethem’s first genre-defying novel, Gun with Occasional Music (1994) experimented with science fiction and crime and gained him a strong cult following. In 1999, Lethem’s fifth novel Motherless Brooklyn met with significant commercial and critical success winning the National Book Critics Circle Award, Macallan Gold Dagger for Crime Fiction, Salon Book Award and was named Esquire’s book of the year. The film adaptation of Motherless Brooklyn, directed by Edward Norton and starring Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe and Leslie Mann is currently in production and slated for a 2019 release. Lethem’s more recent novels include New York Times Bestseller The Fortress of Solitude (2003), You Don’t Love Me Yet (2007), Chronic City (2009), Dissident Gardens (2013) and A Gambler’s Anatomy (2016).  In 2005, Jonathan Lethem was the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship.

“From the very beginning for me, my love for literature and my love for film were splendidly mixed-up and inextricable,” said Lethem. “I always saw the two great 20th Century storytelling forms as speaking to and through one another. So, when by my great good luck I fell in with Tom Luddy and Julie Huntsinger, I immediately recognized them as being of my tribe; they feel the same resonance and have designed their wonderful festival in the mountains to reflect it. When I learned they’d involved writers I admire like Michael Ondaatje and Rachel Kushner and Geoff Dyer in the heart of the program, I was thrilled – and envious! I’m still pinching myself in disbelief that it’s my turn to play at programming the Dream Multiplex.”

Past Guest Directors include Joshua Oppenheimer, Volker Schlöndorff, Rachel Kushner, Guy Maddin, Caetano Veloso, Michael Ondaatje, Alexander Payne, Salman Rushdie, Peter Bogdanovich, B. Ruby Rich, Phillip Lopate, Errol Morris, Bertrand Tavernier, John Boorman, John Simon, Buck Henry, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, G. Cabrera Infante, Peter Sellars, Don DeLillo, J.P. Gorin, Edith Kramer and Slavoj Žižek.

The Guest Director program is sponsored by FilmStruck, Turner’s subscription on-demand service that offers film aficionados a comprehensive and constantly refreshed library of films including an eclectic mix of contemporary arthouse, indie, foreign, cult and classic Hollywood films. FilmStruck is the exclusive streaming home to the Warner Bros. classic film library and the Criterion Collection. FilmStruck was developed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and is managed by TCM in partnership with Warner Bros. and the Criterion Collection.

And coverage of the announcement from Screen Daily and The Movie City News.


Poor Terry Gilliam.

After winning the right to screen his more than 25 year-in-the-making passion project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, at Cannes, French courts have now decided that producer Paolo Branco owns the film's rights which almost certainly means the film's future is back to limbo status.

Soooo...for those of us that thought, we might see the film in Telluride in 10 weeks or so...looks very doubtful.

Reporting from a number of sources indicates that Branco's company is the sole owner of the film's rights and that he/they are ready to sue about anyone and everyone that was apart of the film's Cannes screening and French release.

Here's the story from The Playlist.

That's it for this Monday.  Come back for more tomorrow.

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

TWITTER @Gort2 (and follow me there as well)

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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Distributors 2018: Focus Features / Werner's New Project / Another Angel Could Be in Play

Good Friday everyone...


Normally, I would have examined the Focus Feature lineup a bit later in the process because their TFF participation has been spotty over the last dozen years.  These are the Focus films that have played Telluride since 2006:

2006- Catch a Fire
2012- Hyde Park on Hudson
2015- Suffragette
2017-Darkest Hour

So, why evaluate them this early?  I have a couple of reasons.  First, I think Focus really benefited last year with Darkest Hour playing TFF #45.  It ended up with two Oscar wins (for Gary Oldman's performance and for Best Makeup/Hair) and another four Oscar nominations.

The second reason is that Focus has, on paper, a very good slate of films going into the fall:

Asghar Farhadi's Everybody Knows (no release date yet)
Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased (Sept. 28)
Mimi Leder's On the Basis of Sex (Nov. 9)
Josie Rourke's Mary Queen of Scots (Dec. 7)

All of which have at least a shot at making the fest.  I'm guessing Focus lands at least one of these at Telluride and, for the first time since I started covering TFF, maybe two films.

Here's my analysis for each:

Cruz and Bardem on the set of Everybody Knows

Everybody Knows- Farhadi directs Penelope Cruz (a past TFF Tribute recipient in 2006) and Javier Bardem in a Spanish language mystery.  This would seem the most likely fit for TFF as it checks off a number of TFF boxes: It was a Cannes film, Farhadi's past with the fest and Cruz's past tribute status.  However, the critical reception to the film at Cannes was less than enthusiastic.  As a matter of fact, the Reini Urban composite critical rankings had it at 19th of the 21 competition films.  Ouch.
Chances 50%.

Boy Erased- Edgerton directs Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges and himself in a film that tackles the issue of gay conversion therapy.  That's a lot of acting and Oscar firepower in one film and the film has a timely hot button issue.  Chances 40%.

On the Basis of Sex- Looks at the rising career of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In light of the success and buzz around the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary, RBG, and Ginsburg's legendary status...this film is expected to be high profile.  With a buzzy cast including Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer and Justin Theroux. Chances 40%.

Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I in Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots- The story of the struggle for power and the British throne between Mary and Elizabeth I.  The film features red hot actresses Margot Robbie as Elizabeth and Saoirse Ronan as Mary and both women are coming off of Oscar nominations last year.  Robbie for I. Tonya and Ronan for Lady Bird.  Additionally, Ronan is rumored to have been the probable third tribute last year that did not happen (due to filming schedule conflicts-at a guess).  Chances 40%.

As a gauge...here were my guesses for Focus Films last year.  That Darkest Hour % looks a little silly in retrospect.

Victoria and Abdul 35%
Darkest Hour 10%
Phantom Thread 0%

Bottom line is that I think Focus will be back at Telluride this year.


The Playlist reported yesterday that Telluride regular Werner Herzog has signed on to Executive Produce and direct (at least some episodes) of Fordlandia based on Greg Grandin's Pulitzer Prize winning book of the same name.

Fordlandia outlines the true story of Henry Ford's attempt to create a small town America in the Amazonian jungle.

No details about when we could see episodes on the USA Network, which owns the rights to the book.

You'd have to think that, depending on what timeline occurs, that some episodes would be screened as a part of TFF #46 in 2019. 

I'll keep an eye open for further information.


Sorry Angel still via Indiewire

Variety reports that Strand Releasing has obtained the distribution rights for Cannes Palme competition film Sorry Angel fro director Christophe Honore. 

The film played to fair-ish reviews at Cannes but was not an award winner at the end of that fest.

The Variety story says that Strand plans a fall release for the film.  Strand has had an occasional presence at Telluride which suggests that we ought to keep it in mind as a potential TFF #45 selection.

The Variety story is here.

That's your Friday MTFB.  Have a great weekend and 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 14, 2018

The Distributors 2018: Fox Searchlight / Odds and Ends

Good Thursday everyone...


One of the most durable and dependable distribs at Telluride over the time I have been attending has been Fox Searchlight.  Although they missed in 2016, last year saw a resurgence of its presence at Telluride (and at the Oscars...coincidence...you decide?)

Searchlight, over these past several years has averaged a film and a half per year but has been a no show for about a third of the time. As you can also see, FS normally goes two or three years consecutively with a film or films between years when they don't play at TFF.

2017: The Shape of Water (Best Picture Oscar), Battle of the Sexes
2016: No Show
2015: He Named Me Malala
2014: Birdman (Best Picture), Wild
2013: 12 Years a Slave (Best Picture)
2012: No Show
2011: Shame, The Descendants
2010: Never Let Me Go, 127 Hours, Black Swan
2009: No Show
2008: Slumdog Millionaire (Best Picture)
2007: Juno, The Savages
2006: The Last King of Scotland, The Namesake
2005: Bee Season
2004: Kinsey

You'll note that FS has had four films win Best Picture in the ten years between 2008-2017 all of which screened at Telluride...which means we probably should keep our eye out to see if any Searchlight film(s) make the Venice or Toronto lineups.

What do they have to offer this season?

The Old Man and the Gun-David Lowery directs Robert Redford in what he has said will be his last acting gig.  Sissy Spacek co-stars.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?- Melissa McCarthy's change of pace role as a woman who turns to counterfeiting literature.  It's based on the true story of Lee Israel.  It's directed by Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl).

The Favourite-the latest from Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster).  Lanthimos was Oscar nominated for the script for The Lobster.  The film stars Emma Stone and Rachel Wiesz and Olivia Colman and is set in 18th century England in the court of Queen Anne.  It's the second of two big films centered on the British monarchy this summer, the other being Mary, Queen of Scots (parked at Focus Features) which stars Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan.  This could be the film that introduces Lanthimos to Telluride.

And finally, Wendy from Beasts of the Southern Wild director/writer Benh Zeitlin.  The film, says FS, is set on a "mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued".  The story centers on a couple of children dealing with their existence there.  The cast list on IMDb is just the two kids and the film has no announced release date.

Those four films seem to be the Fox Searchlight play for TFF consideration this year and none of them are a slam dunk for TFF #45 inclusion.

The Old Man and the Gun seems like the most probable mostly because I think T-ride is where Redford would feel most comfortable rolling it out.  He's also a producer on the film.  Call it's chances 50%.

After that any on the other three could play.  Maybe Emma Stone edges The Favourite into second place after two straight T-ride appearances with La La Land and Battle of the Sexes.  Call it a 45% chance.

Put Wendy in third at 30% and Can You Ever Forgive Me? at fourth with 25%.

Last year, this is where I had the Fox Searchlight films in my first assessment:

Battle of the Sexes-55%
Goodbye Christopher Robin- 45%
Three Billboards- 40%
The Shape of Water- 35%

As you can see, BOTS...good assessment.  Shape of Water...not so much.

Tomorrow my look at Focus Features.


Cine Europe has served as a spot to continue to push the buzz for two high profile Telluride possibilities.  Deadline reported that Warner Bros. had footage from Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born was screened.  The story written by Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione, said that Cooper previewed the first eight minutes of the film.

Meanwhile, in a separate story Tartaglione reported that Sony had Jason Reitman on hand to preview his film The Front Runner which stars Hugh Jackman and tells the true story of Gary Hart's 1988 presidential campaign implosion.

A Star Is Born is dated for an Oct. 5th release.  Sony, as yet, has not named a release date for The Front Runner, though the Deadline article says that an awards season release is planned.

One other "odd or end" is that the Peterloo movie Twitter account announced on Monday that the film has been dated for a Nov. 9th U.S. release (after a Nov. 2 release in the U.K.).  To wit:

That's your Thursday MTFB.  More to come tomorrow...

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

TWITTER @Gort2 (and follow me there as well)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Distributors 2018: Sony Pictures Classics / Hinting at The Old Man / And Another One Moves Down the List

Good Tuesday film friends...hope all is well...


No distributor has had more a presence for as long as Sony Pictures Classics.  SPC has been there the longest with the most for the history of TFF.  The "recent" history includes 67 films in the last 15 years or about 4 and a half films per year on average:

2017: A Fantastic Woman, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, Foxtrot, Loveless, The Rider (5)
2016: The Eagle Huntress, Maudie, Norman, Toni Erdmann (4)
2015: Son of Saul (1)
2014: Foxcatcher, Leviathan, Red Army, Mr. Turner, Wild Tales, Salt of the Earth and Merchants of Doubt (7)
2013: The Invisible Woman, The Lunchbox, The Past, Tim's Vermeer and Jodorowsky's Dune (5)
2012: The Gatekeepers, At Any Price, Rust and Bone, No, Wadjda, Amour (6)
2011: A Dangerous Method, In Darkness, Footnote, A Separation (4)
2010: Incendies, Of Gods and Men, Tamara Drewe, Another Year, The Illusionist, Inside Job (6)
2009: The Last Station, The White Ribbon, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet, An Education (5)
2008: Waltz with Bashir, I've Loved You So Long, O'Horten (3)
2007: Brick Lane, When Did You Last See Your Father, Persepolis, The Band's Visit, The Counterfeiters, Steep! (6)
2006: Jindabyne, The Lives of Others, Volver, The Italian (4)
2005: Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, Cache, The Child (4)
2004: Being Julia, House of Flying Daggers, Bad Education, Merchant of Venice, Up and Down, Yes (6)
2003: The Fog of War, My Life Without Me, The Triplets of Belleville, Young Adam (4)

And SPC has seen the coupling with TFF pay off with Oscar nominations for Best Picture: Amour, An Education, Capote.

Best Foreign Language Film (so many here): A Fantastic Woman, Loveless, Toni Erdmann among many others.

Best Documentary Feature: The Fog of War, Inside Job.

But this year looks like maybe 2015 when SPC only had Son of Saul in play at Telluride.  As it stands now, the only film SPC that could make TFF #45 is Nadine Labaki's Capernaum.  Capernaum picked up the Jury Prize at Cannes last month but suffered from middling critical response.

Deadline reported three weeks ago that SPC had picked up the rights to Denys Arcand The Fall of the American Empire but that isn't showing up on the IMDb page for either SPC or the film itself as yet.

Don't discount the possibility, though, SPC picking up some of the other Cannes players.  Currently, for example, Lee Chang dong's critical darling, Burning still has no U.S. distributor, nor does Jafar Panahi's Three Faces, Sergei Dvortsevoy's Ayka, Matteo Garrone's Dogman, Messora and Saliviza's The Dead and The Others or Sergey Loznitsa's Donbass.  So there is a large body of work out there that SPC could still acquire and submit for inclusion at TFF #45.

Last year when I did the SPC assessment it looked like this for the 2017 TFF lineup:

1) Loveless/Zvyagnistev. Chances: 80%.

2) A Fantastic Woman/Lelio. Chances: 75%.

3) The Rider/Zhao.  Chances: 60%.

4) Happy End/Haneke. Chances: 55%.

5) Final Portrait/Tucci. Chances: 40%.

6) The Silent Man/Landesman. Chances: 25%

7) The Leisure Seeker/Virzi. Chances: 20%

8) Based on a True Story/Polanski. Chances: 5%.

Ultimately, the top three played TFF  in addition to Foxtrot and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool.

Bottom line is that I'd put Capernaum at 60% (mostly because of SPC's long connection to TFF) and The Fall of the American Empire at about 30%.

Tomorrow we'll look at Fox Searchlight.


The Playlist, like a lot of outlets, featured the release of the trailer for The Old Man and the Gun last week.  I didn't get to that article until late this weekend.  Playlist head honcho Rodrigo Perez covers the familiar bases but adds near the end of the piece that the Sept. 28th release "should mean you'll see a festival bow before that and we'll assume Telluride, Venice, TIFF or all of the above."

That's the kind of assertion that makes me take note.

The Old Man and the Gun is under the Fox Searchlight umbrella and will be a part of Thursday's assessment of the films they have and their TFF #45 probability.  The speculation from The Playlist gives The Old Man a bit of a boost going into that assessment.

The complete post from The Playlist is here.


I have mentioned Paolo Sorrentino's Loro (1 and 2) as a possible Telluride 2018 selection but that appears less likely in the wake of a story from Variety's Nick Vivarelli published last week.

The film which explores the life and career of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been screening in Italy in its two part incarnation.  Vivarelli reports that Sorrentino now has a solo version that clocks in at just under two and a half hours.  Vivarelli writes that the single film version "is likely to launch from the Toronto Film Fest in September."

Though the statement is not definitive, it feels solid so, at this point, I don't really expect we'll see Loro over Labor Day weekend.

The complete story from Variety is here.

That's the MTFB fix for this Tuesday.  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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Monday, June 11, 2018

First Man Trailer and Poster Too / Moving Parts / Could The Angel Appear?

Monday dawns and MTFB is waiting...


As expected, the first trailer for Damien Chazelle's First Man was released Friday night.  I included it on my Twitter feed almost as soon as I could lay my hands on the YouTube link.  Here it is:

The release generated a lot of interest online and the number of sources that reported on it Friday/Saturday were numerous.  Much of that coverage is linked below but to distill the more interesting nuggets:

Awards Daily's Sasha Stone suggests that First Man "maybe going to Telluride but might hit the Venice/Telluride one two punch".  [My guess is the latter if the film does make a T-ride appearance I suspect it will come after a Venice bow]

First Showing's Alex Billington isn't as specific writing that "This film is expected to premiere at a few film festivals in the fall first."

The film is slated to open in the U.S. on Oct. 12th.

Other coverage for the trailer release is linked here from:


You can take a couple of films off your Telluride wish list/prediction charts.  Over the weekend we discovered that Lenny Abrahamson's follow up to Room, for which Brie Larson won the Best Actress Oscar (and the film also was nominated for Best Picture, Direction and Adapted Screenplay), The Little Stranger will open domestically on August 31st so you can scratch that.

We also discovered that Where'd You Go Bernadette from director Richard Linklater has been moved to March 22, 2019 so it becomes very unlikely in our Telluride calculations.


Pic from Marcos Ludevid and Variety

Distributor The Orchard has acquired the rights to El Angel.  The film debuted at Cannes to reasonable critical response as a part of the Un Certain Regard section.  The Orchard brought Pablo Larrain's Neruda to Telluride in 2016 so that suggests it's a possibility.  

On the other hand, I was really confident that BPM, which The Orchard distributed last year, was going to make a Telluride play and was very, very wrong.

That's your MTFB for this Monday.  I'll be back tomorrow as we begin dissecting the offerings from the distributors that most often play Telluride.  Starting with the most frequent player: Sony Pictures Classics.

Bye now...

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

TWITTER @Gort2 (and follow me there as well)

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Friday, June 8, 2018

The Fifth Telluride Film Festival-1978 / If I Had To / The Underground Railroad: More Details / And a Re-cap

Good Friday TFF followers...


We're winding down the review of past Telluride Film Festivals (a process over a year in the making).  Today we look at TFF #5 that took place Sept. 1-4, 1978.

TRIBUTES: Hal Roach, Sterling Hayden, The Czech New Wave: Jaromil Jires, Pavel Juracek, Jan Nemec and Ivan Passer.


Always for Pleasure
American Friend
Case for a Rookie Hangman
China 9, Liberty 37
Cooley High
The Devil's Reporter
Diamonds of the Night
El Capitan
Intimate Lighting
Johnny Guitar
The Killing
Koko, The Talking Gorilla
Martyrs of Love
The Messiah
Miss Mend
My Love to the Swallows
North Avenue Irregulars
Of Mice and Men
On the Yard
Perils of the Yukon
Roger Corman-Hollywood's Wild Angel
The Star
Topper Takes a Trip
Way Out West
The Wicker Man


Carroll Ballard
Robert DeNiro
Milos Forman
Monte Hellman
Harvey Keitel
Robbie Robertson
Isabella Rossellini
Barbet Schroeder
Martin Scorsese
Joan Micklin Silver
Wim Wenders


I'm still about three weeks away from the summer's first "Ten Bets" listing.  For those who may be new to the blog, the "Ten Bets" will become my weekly "official" guess as to what films are likely to make the TFF #45 lineup.  Those "Bets" will then continue right up until the actual lineup is announced on Aug. 30th.

That said, for hoots, I thought I'd slap together a list of ten or so films that feel like the best shots to make the TFF #45 program with three months to go.  Last year when I did this I hit six titles right.  Last year's "If I Had To" list (which I posted on June 5th) included these that I got right:

A Fantastic Woman
Faces Places
Battle of the Sexes

What I missed on: The Florida Project, You Were Never Really Here, BPM and The Current War.

So, if you made me surrender ten titles today (in alpha order):

Beautiful Boy
Cold War
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Old Man and the Gun
The Other Side of the Wind

Just outside: Boy Erased, Dogman, The Front Runner, Girl, On the Basis of Sex and The Sisters Brothers.


Two weeks after the close of TFF #43 and the triumphant and ultimately award winning success of Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, we got word that Jenkins was set up to adapt Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize winner The Underground Railroad.

We got more details this week about that project which looks to be the next thing Jenkins will be working on after the completion of If Beale Street Could Talk.

Indiewire's Steve Green reports that Jenkins will direct the full run of what will be an 11 part limited series for Amazon.

Here's the link to the complete story from Indiewire.

P.S.  Mr. Jenkins...will be glad to audition for any role at all...


Still from The Old Man and a Gun 
(and hoping I am sitting in a theater with Redford and Spacek on Labor Day)

It sure felt like a wave of Oscar-y and fall fest films made some noise this week with trailers for The Old Man and the Gun, A Star Is Born, Widows, White Boy Rick, Serenity, Kidding, stills from First Man.

There's some buzz that a First Man trailer might drop today or in days timed with Ryan Gosling's appearance tonight on Jimmy Kimmel's NBA Game Night prime time show.

And I have made my application for media accreditation again for this year's festival...fingers crossed.

That's a wrap for this Friday and this first week of June.  I'll have more on Monday.

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

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

New Things to Look At: The Old Man and the Gun (Trailer) / A Star Is Born (Trailer) / First Man (Stills)

Hello on this Thursday...

NEW THINGS TO LOOK AT:  Three films show us something about themselves and all of them could be in play on Labor Day weekend in southwest Colorado.


We have a first trailer for the Robert Redford starring The Old Man and the Gun.  The film also features Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck in what Redford has said will be his last acting gig.  David Lowery (A Ghost Story, Ain't Them Bodies Saints) directs.

Fox Searchlight is distributing and coming off of last year's Best Picture Oscar win for The Shape of Water combined with an announced release date of Sept. 28th and the fact that Redford is a fairly recent T-ride tribute recipient, you have to think that the film has a shot at a Telluride berth.  Maybe a Sissy Spacek tribute?

Also, the trailer's great.  Here it is from YouTube:

Coverage from:


The Internet lost its collective mind yesterday over the first trailer drop for the fourth (I think) version of A Star Is Born.  This version stars and is directed by Bradley Cooper.  Lady Gaga also stars as the star who gets born.  Sam Elliott and Dave Chapelle also are featured.

In fairness to the Internet...this trailer is also impressive.  There had already been good buzz building for the film and it seems the trailer has added fuel to the fire.

As a matter of fact, a few weeks back I started paying some serious attention to its Telluride chances because of the scuttlebutt I was seeing about test screenings.

There has been Oscar buzz and that also took a jump with the trailer's release yesterday. 

So...the factor to consider:  It could be Warner Brothers ticket back to Telluride.  Since 2012 WB has had: Argo, Prisoners, Gravity, Black Mass and Sully at the fest.

A Star Is Born is set for an Oct. 5th release.

Here's the trailer via YouTube:

Coverage from:


And also appearing yesterday, the first stills from Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong biopic First Man starring Ryan Gosling.  The La La Land pair could see this film book a return trip to Telluride for Chazelle (with Gosling, perhaps, attending this time around).

The film is under the Universal banner and is set for domestic release on Oct. 12th.

As you can see from the imprint, People magazine was the first to post the pics:


That's going to have to do it for this Thursday.  I'll be back tomorrow to wrap up this first week in June.

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

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Widows Trailer Arrives / White Boy Rick Trailer...Could This Play Telluride?

Good Tuesday...MTFB's summer posting schedule is in full force!


As promised in yesterday's post, here's the first trailer for Steve McQueen's Widows which is set to be released Nov. 16th and, as I wrote, has a 50/50 chance of making the TFF #45 lineup.  Here's the trailer via YouTube:

I have linked coverage for the trailer release and the film here from


The short answer is yes it could...but...  

Primary factors in its favor is that director Yann Demange's last feature played T-ride- '71- in 2014 to very good response.  IMDb reports that the film has a release date of Sept. 21st which is a tight but not impossible window (see Sully).  

Despite that date, though, I can't find on IMDb who has domestic distribution of the film.  Universal, Sony and Disney all have a piece of foreign distribution but were not involved in producing the film.  The Playlist says that Sony will be releasing the film...


Here's the trailer via YouTube:

Coverage for the trailer drop is here from:

More to come on Thursday...

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Widows Pics and Trailer / Indiewire Scans Foreign Language Oscar Players

Welcome to the first Monday in June and the start of the MTFB grind to TFF #45.

I start the summer posting protocol with the expansion of posts.  Normally, I post on Monday and Thursday mornings but starting this week, I'll be adding posts on Tuesday and Friday as we move our way closer and closer to TFF #45 scheduled for this year from Aug. 31-Sept. 3.

Hope you enjoy and find the next three months of goo...useful.


Any number of sources reported over the weekend that Steve McQueen's Widows had dropped stills and would be dropping a trailer today.  I have included a couple of stills from The Film Stage here and will include the trailer in tomorrow's post.

I'm about 50/50 on Widows' chances of making the TFF #45 lineup.  Working in its favor is the strong presence that McQueen has had at the fest over the years with screenings of Hunger ('08), Shame ('11) and 12 Years a Slave ('13) and personally, Shame and 12 Years are two of the best films that I have seen at Telluride.  So that kind of track record suggests TFF #45 could happen.

Countering that are two factors.  Widows, from all descriptions, sounds like a genre film which none of McQueen's previous Telluride films could be called and it's housed at 20th Century Fox, which has certainly had plenty of play at Telluride via its indie arm-Fox Searchlight, but 20th Century Fox itself...not so much.

So that's why Widows is a 50/50 prediction for TFF #45 at this point.

Trailer tomorrow here on the blog.


Anne Thompson posted a speculative piece on Indiewire Friday looking at films that she feels have the best inside track for a Foreign Language Oscar nomination as the summer begins.  All five of what Anne lists as front-runners are films that played at Cannes and are all possible Telluride players.

They are:

Cold War
Everybody Knows
Happy as Lazarro

Among other films listed as contenders that I feel, at least at this point, like T-ride players are: Ayka and Girl.

In an interesting twist, Anne does not include Lee Chang-dong's Burning.  The film was the undeniable critical champ at Cannes but also received no prizes in the official competition.

I have it on my T-ride watch list because it scored so well with critics and because Chang-dong has played Telluride previously with Secret Sunshine and Poetry.

The complete article is linked here.

More tomorrow including, I hope, the Widows trailer.

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

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Netflix Will Go Theatrical with the Wind / Karlovy Vary Lineup Announced / Documentary Corner

Welcome to the last day of May for 2018...


Indiewire reported yesterday that Orson Welles' final film, The Other Side of the Wind, which has been completed after decades of effort, will get a theatrical release in the fall.

Indiewire's Jenna Marotta included Twitter traffic from producer Frank Marshall's account that flat said that a fall theatrical release strategy.  Indiewire also credits Wellesnet with having originated the story.

Interestingly, the original Welles net post notes that Marshall was asked directly (by Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells) if the screening(s) would occur before TFF #45 and they report that Marshall ignored the question.  Here's the Twitter screenshot:

Additionally, both the Wellesnet and Indiewire posts report that the release strategy is still in the planning stages.

The Wellesnet post is here.

The Indiewire story is here.


The Czech based Karlovy Vary Film Festival announced their lineup this week.  That announcement is of some note to Telluride obsessives as there are usually some films that play there that also make the grade then for TFF.

Last year, for example, TFF #44 included Land of the Free, A Man of Integrity and The Other Side of Hope all of which played at the Czech festival before appearing at Telluride.

Over the years I have been attending T-ride (since 2006) several other films have followed this path including:

2016-The Eagle Huntress, Fire at Sea, Graduation, Toni Erdmann
2015-Ixcanul, Rams, 45 Years
2014-'71, Leviathan, Mommy, Wild Tales
2013-Gloria, The Lunchbox, Missing Picture, The Story of Children and Film
2012-Amour, Barbara, Paradise:Love, Piazza Fontana, What Is This Film Called Love?
2011-The Kid With a Bike, Le Havre, Pina, A Separation, Turin Horse
2010-Border, Cameraman: Jack Cardiff, The Illusionist, Le Quattro Volte, Of Gods and Men, Poetry
2009-Fish Tank, Gigante, Room and a Half, Samson + Delilah, The White Ribbon
2008-Gommorah, O'Horten, Tulpan, Waltz with Bashir
2007-4 Months 3 Weeks & Days, The Band's Visit, The Counterfeiters, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jar City, Secret Sunshine
2006-12:08 East of Bucharest

So, as you can see, the average number of films that play both fests is four per year (with a statistically noticeable tie to films that have played Berlin or Cannes prior to their inclusion at Karlovy Vary.

With all that said, none of the announced films scream"This will play Telluride".  At a guess I might keep an eye on Ewa Bukowska's 53 Wars, Vladimir Bitokov's Deep Rivers and Giedre Beinoiriute's Breathing Into Marble.

Articles with the lineups included are here from Variety and The Playlist.


Errol Morris' Wormwood played TFF #44 and is available to stream on Netflix.  Indiewire put together an in depth look at the series from the Telluride regular earlier this week.

The lengthy article includes interview material with Morris.

You can read the piece from author Chris O'Falt here.

That's today's installment of MTFB.  More to come next week...

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

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Venice Speculation and the Road to Telluride / Holland Could Return / Restorations for TFF #45?

Good Memorial Day to everyone...


Mike Leigh's Peterloo

The Hollywood Reporter's staff compiled a list of 15 films this week that they think have a shot at making the Venice lineup.  The scuttlebutt I've been reading is that the Venice lineup may be stronger this year (and have an even more pronounced crossover with Telluride than in past years) due to the films that passed on or were passed over for a Cannes slot.

Last year saw an uptick in films that made the trip between the two fests and that trend, at least for the moment seems like it is likely to continue this year.

Among the 15 films listed by THR here are your most likely TFF #45 prospects:

If Beale Street Could Talk
The Sisters Brothers
First Man
Non Fiction
Beautiful Boy
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
Work Without Author

The article also lists Terrence Malick's Radegund, which, frankly sounds like the most interesting Malick project since The Tree of Life.

The complete THR article is linked here.


Gareth Jones still from Variety

Agnieszka Holland has been a past TFF participant (1986, 1995, 2001, 2011, 2013) and her new project, Gareth Jones, seems like it could mark the return to Telluride for the director of Burning Bush and In Darkness.

Gareth Jones tells the true story of a a reporter trying to cover the story of a man made famine in Russia in the 1930s.

This week, Variety posted an interview with actor James Norton who plays Gareth Jones, the welsh journalist who tried to shine a light on that story.

The interview from Variety is here.


Serge Bromberg 

News this week of a  restoration project that I think could find its way to the San Juans for Labor Day weekend.   A new Serge Bromberg presentation  has been announced, that, owing to Bromberg's lengthy track record with Telluride,  has to be seriously considered as a part of this year's lineup.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center reported this week that Bromberg will present  a program of recent restoration treasures in New York on June 20.  That program will include films from Georges Melies and the Lumiere Brothers.

The press release for that presentation is here.

It wouldn't be all that surprising to see Bromberg back in Telluride this year.

That's your T-ride film news for Memorial Day 2018.  More to come on Thursday...

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

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Sixth Telluride Film Festival-1979 / Trailers from Burning, Cold War and The Sisters Brothers / First Looks at Boy Erased

Good Thursday film friends...


We're slowly edging closer to the end of my series about the history of the Telluride Film Festival with today's re-visitation of the Sixth Fest which ran from Aug. 31-Sept. 3, 1979.

My plan (fingers crossed) is have this series completed prior to the start of TFF #45 and the new Expanded Telluride History page on this blog up and accessible by that time as well.  We'll see if that actually happens.

Here's the re-cap of TFF #6:

TRIBUTES:  Klaus Kinski, Robert Wise, Abel Gance


Aguirre, The Wrath of God
Born to Kill
Bulldog Drummond
Charm of Dynamite
Closely Watched
Executive Suite
For a Few Dollars More
Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers
Gates of Heaven
The Haunting
The Informer
La Salamandre
The Last Tasmanian
La Soufriere
Loves of Beethoven
Lucrece Borgia
The Mango Tree
The Marriage of Maria Braun
Andrei Rublev
No Maps on My Taps
Que Viva Mexico
Rosie Radiator and the Push Rods
The Sand Pebbles
Servant of a Good God
The Set-Up
Ship of Lost Men
Stroheim: The Man You Love to Hate
Those Wonderful Men with a Crank
Tooth and Claw
Young Girls of Rochefort

Notable short film: The King of the Z's...which has a very specific place in Telluride Film Fest history.


Joe Dante
Jacques Demy
Chuck Jones
Werner Herzog
Errol Morris


Trailers were released this week for two critically acclaimed Cannes #71 films that will be a part of our early summer TFF #45 speculation- Burning and Cold War as well as a trailer for a film that many thought would be a Cannes invitee, Jacques Audiard's The Sisters Brothers which, due to Audiard's past with Telluride has to be considered a possibility for Telluride as well.

I have included them here all via YouTube.

Burning is first up.  The film from Lee Chang-dong was the runaway critical darling of Cannes yet received no award from the Palme d'Or competition jury.

Cold War from past Oscar winner and TFF #40 participant Pawel Pawlikowski:

And from Audiard's The Sisters Brothers:


Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased is one of two "Boy" pictures floating around my TFF #45 possibles list (the other being Beautiful Boy).

The film is a fact base story of a family forcing a son into gay conversion therapy and stars Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Lucas Hedges.

A number of outlets debuted stills from the film earlier this week such as the one above.

Other pics and associated stories are here from:

Entertainment Weekly

Awards Daily


That's  a wrap for this Thursday.  More to come on Monday and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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

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