Monday, July 24, 2017

Pre-Venice Tea Leaves / What We Can Expect Tomorrow / Holding Some Cards Close to the Vest

Good Monday to all you Telluride Film Fest Maniacs... We're getting closer...


Over the weekend Variety was up with a post that named a slew of titles expected to be announced for the Venice Film Fest on Thursday.  As diviners for Telluride's lineup, we need to pay attention to titles, directors, distributors premiere status and dates of play.  All of those factors can provide clues for those of us trying to puzzle out T-ride's slate of films.

Variety's piece gives us some of those factors...if we assume, of course, that it's 100% accurate.

Titles Variety claims for Venice (beyond the previously announced opener: Alexander Payne's Downsizing) that the article says will be World Premieres:

George Clooney's Suburbicon
Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water
Stephen Frears' Victoria and Abdul
Paolo Virzo's Ella ad John/The Leisure Seekers
Paul Schraders' First Reformed
Andrew Haigh's Lean on Pete
Lucrecia Martel's Zama

As frequent readers of MTFB know, Clooney, Del Toro, Frears, Schrader and Haigh have all been involved in past TFFs.  If Variety has all this right, you'll need to pay attention to when these films are scheduled for their Venice World Premiere.  Early enough in the Venice lineup means a T-ride play is possible.  Venice runs from Aug. 30th- Sept. 9th.

The Variety post also claims that Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a likely lock for the Biennale but doesn't flat out claim it would be a World Premiere...which is interesting.  In the same vein is the suggestion that Abdelatif Kechiche's Mektoub is Mektoub will play Venice bit doesn't say it will necessarily be a World Premiere.  That leaves the door open for both films to play at Telluride first and then screen at Venice in the second half of that festival.

And then there is the mention of Ritesh Bakta's Our Souls at Night starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.  They'll World Premiere in Italy and Fonda and Redford will be honored. The timing of that is central to the question of whether the film and those stars cross the Atlantic to make Labor Day in the San Juans.

Also of note is the absence of Darren Aronofsky's mother! and Denis Villenueve's Blade Runner 2049.

The Variety article is linked here.


The Toronto International Film Festival announces a portion of their lineup tomorrow morning at 10am EDT.  When that happens, it will NOT be their complete lineup.  More films will be announced in subsequent weeks and we need to pay attention to each of those announcements.

Tomorrow's announcement and all subsequent announcements for 2017 WILL include a film's premiere status.  That's crucial information for those of us trying to parse what will play at T-ride over Labor Day weekend.

The TIFF reveal is expected to be live streamed at

I will be on the road somewhere in Utah/Colorado when this all goes down but I do expect to be able to be in on what is happening via Twitter.  I will also be posting a special edition of MTFB on Wednesday with a breakdown of what we know and don't know so look for that.

Bring it on Toronto!


One of the things that I find remarkable about this nine year journey is that I do, on occasion, get some inside dope.

As I write this I am sitting on three film titles that I fully expect will play Telluride but...the sharing of those titles has been confidential and until I can string a case together for their inclusion that I arrive at independently, I will keep them close.

I will say least one of the titles has appeared in this post above.

Appetite whetted?

That's it for today.  More tomorrow and you might check my Twitter feed @Gort2 for Toronto/Telluride news. Additionally, there will be a special Wednesday post this week with the TFF/TIFF breakdown.


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Friday, July 21, 2017

Ten Bets #4 for TFF #44 / Wonderstruck Reveals a Trailer / mother! Has a New Date / And We End Where We Began

Welcome to Friday everyone...


Here's my last "Ten Bets" before the clarity that will descend next week as Toronto and Venice begin to announce their lineups.  As the rest of the summer unfolds into early fall Toronto will continue to add film selections weekly and we'll add to that selections from New York and London and end up with a fairly comprehensive and largely correct listing of films for Telluride's 44th edition.

As a reminder here's last week's Ten Bets:

1) Wonderstruck
2) Visages/Villages
3) Loveless
4) The Florida Project
5) A Fantastic Woman
6) Battle of the Sexes
7) 120 BPM
8) The Other Side of Hope
9) You Were Never Really Here
10) Downsizing

And this week's:

1) Wonderstruck (with a trailer out yesterday...see below)
2) Downsizing
3) Visages/Villages
4) Loveless
5) Battle of the Sexes
6) The Florida Project
7) You Were Never Really Here
8) A Fantastic Woman
9) The Other Side of Hope
10) The Current War

Other possibles: 120 BPM, The Shape of Water, The Rider, Loving Vincent, mother!, Happy End, Redoubtable, The Death of Stalin, Ken Burns Vietnam

On Monday...MTFB's "Telluride Wish List"...yes, there are films that I wish for.


Todd Haynes film based on Brian Selznick's novel has been sitting on top of the MTFB Ten Bets for the last two weeks.  It opened the first "Ten Bets" at #3.  Suffice to say that I strongly believe it will play TFF #44.  So I was excited yesterday evening to discover that the Cannes competition film dropped a trailer.  Here it is from YouTube:

Wonderstruck trailer release coverage from:

The Film Stage


Entertainment Weekly

mother! HAS A NEW DATE

I'm not sure what it portends but Darren Aronofsky's mother! has been scheduled for anew release date a full month earlier than it had been originally planned.  The film was set for an Oct. 13th date but that changed yesterday with a move up to Sept. 15th.

Variety pointed out that it could still mean a play for the film at Telluride, Venice and even Toronto.

Aronofsky's Black Swan played Venice, Telluride and Toronto in 2010 but that was with a December release date.  Black Swan earned five Oscar nominations including a win for Natalie Portman for Best Actress and nominations for Best Picture and Best Direction.

The film stars Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem.

In other mother! news...word is that a trailer appeared in some theaters that were playing Dunkirk yesterday which means we could expect to see it soon.

Gotta tell you, I kind of think it might show up at The SHOW now.

Further coverage of the move for mother! is here from:



We started this week with the awful news of the passing of George Romero and Martin Landau and it only feels right to end there as well.

Former TFF Co-director Gary Meyer put together a fantastic reminder, reverie and recognition of the two men at Eat, Drink, Films.  Check it out here.

That's all for this Friday.  Enjoy your weekend...I'm in Salem, Oregon through Sunday night at The Salem Art and Festival.  If you're around, drop by and say hello.


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lady Bird Flies to A24 / Trailers from The Shape of Water and The Snowman / Three Billboards Inside Toronto?

Good Thursday to all...


Gerwig and Ronan from Indiewire

I loved Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha in 2012 when it played the fest and have been tracking her move into directing with interest.  Her first attempt is Lady Bird which I have had as a slight possibility until yesterday when its chances increased with the announcement that distributor A24 had acquired the film and plans a fall release.

That creates the impression that A24 wants it to be a part of the awards season consensus which leads one to think that Lady Bird might be a serious consideration for T-ride.

The film satsr Osccar nominee Saorise Ronan.

Bring it on, I say.  Here are stories about the acquisition from:



The Playlist


Fox Searchlight has four films that could conceivably make the lineup for TFF #44: Battle of the Sexes, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (see story below) and Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water.  The buzz has been that Battle of the Sexes has the best shot at playing Telluride but FS may be high on "Shape's" Oscar chances and if so, that make make it a real TFF possibility.

"Shape" stars Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg and Telluride favorite Sally Hawkins.   FS dropped the first trailer for "Shape" yesterday.  Here it is from YouTube:

The Shape of Water opens on Dec. 8th.

And then there's the first trailer for Tomas Alfredson's The Snowman starring Michael Fassbender as detective Harry Hole.  It looks, sounds and feels a lot like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which isn't a bad thing.  Here's its trailer from YouTube:

And coverage here from Variety, Entertainment Weekly, FirstShowing and The Wrap.


Jeff Wells shared what I find dispiriting news yesterday in a post on Hollywood Elsewhere and that is his belief that Martin McDoangh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is more likely to premiere at Toronto than play Telluride.

Wells doesn't make an absolute claim to that end but he clearly believes that's the most likely scenario.

Here's the link to the complete post: Hollywood Elsewhere
If true, it bums me it as Three Billboards is/was very high on my Telluride wish list for 2017.  That trailer is impressive and Frances McDormand may already be the Best Actress Oscar leader.

Who knows?  Maybe it plays both places.

That's your news for TFF #44 for today.  More tomorrow including a last Ten Bets before Toronto's first wave announcement and also Venice's announcement on July 27.


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TIFF in a Week / The Usual Suspects 2017 / Mr. Osiason Says... / Redford and Fonda at Venice

Good Tuesday everyone...


The word is that the Toronto International Film Festival will have their first announcement of films for their fest a week from today.  For those of you that have been reading this space for a long time, you know what that means.  For those of you that are new or have been casual readers, here's why that's important:

TIFF will announce each film complete with its "premiere status".  (Venice will too).  When they do that [as we have seen with New York's announcement that Last Flag Flying is a world premiere, so it will not be seen at Telluride] that will tell us some things that allow us in many cases to determine whether a film will/won't or could play TFF #44.  New York's recent announcement that Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck will be its Centerpiece as a "New York" premiere indicates an almost certainty of a Telluride play.

Fort example, if George Clooney's Suburbicon is announced as a World Premiere next Tuesday at TIFF that means it will not play Telluride.  If it's a North American Telluride.

If a film is an International premiere...that depends on where else it has already played or will be announced to play. If it's a Canadian Premiere and didn't play Sundance or's almost certainly headed to Telluride.

Toronto won't announce it's whole lineup but it's crucial to note that the overlap between Toronto and Telluride is historically impressive.  Last year the fests shared 22 titles.  That level of crossover may not quite happen this year owing to TIFF's announcement earlier that they will program 20% fewer titles this year so that should mean a bit less of an overlap.

TIFF will  have other announcements each week as we wind down the summer and we'll need to pay attention to each just as we'll need to scrutinize announcements from Venice, New York and London.

But don't sweat figuring that all out...That's what MTFB is here for.  I'll probably have a special Wednesday edition next week to analyze the TIFF announcement.


As I do each's a look at some of the people that often have projects that land at Telluride, what this year's project is and an assessment of that project's chances of making the TFF #44 lineup:

Ken Burns: Vietnam documentary...25%
Werner Herzog-Exec. Prod. on A Gray State...10%
Alexander Payne-Downsizing...80%
Paul Schrader-First Reformed...10%
Wim Wenders-Submergence...20%
Todd Haynes-Wonderstruck...85%
Alejandro Inarritu-V.R. Installation Carne y Arena...30% (if I could believe that Telluride could find a suitable venue...)
Michael Haneke-Happy End...50%
Stephen Frears...Victoria and Abdul...30%
Lynne Ramsay-You Were Never Really Here...50%
Errol Morris-The Lure...35%
Agnes Varda-Visages/Villages...70%
Ritesh Bakta-Our Souls at Night...20% (see below)
Aki Kaurismaki-The Other Side of Hope...35%
Sebastain Lelio-A Fantastic Woman...40%


Jason Osiason is a friend of MTFB and a cinephile to make note of.  He digs as deep as anyone I know with regard to film world so when he makes a practice of sussing out/predicting what will happen there, you'd do well to take note.

Jason has been posting his predix for Telluride choices this summer and, in a spirit of providing my readers with as big a picture as possible, here are his latest comments re: TFF #44:

Jason also added Scott Cooper's Hostiles as a possible and You Were Never Really Here as "hard to believe these don't go".


The Venice Fest announced yesterday that Robert Redford and Jane Fonda will be honored there and their film Our Souls at Night from director Ritesh Bakta will World Premiere there on Sept. 1.

MTFB friend Kenny Miles points out that, despite the WP at Venice, that the film could play there and make the jump to Telluride for Sunday and Monday screenings.  He also makes the point that the film was filmed in Colorado which he believes boosts its chances for a SHOW spot.  That point is very well taken.

My original response was to think that the Venice announcement made the film's TFF #44 appearance unlikely but Mr. Miles analysis makes some sense.  So, I'm not ruling out the film's chances for a T-ride play.

Here's the story of the Venice selection from The Wrap.

That's your Tuesday...more will be here on Thursday...


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Goodbye George and Martin / Downsizing Will Open Venice and ??? / Twitter Revelations

Welcome back from the was a rough ending...


George Romero

Martin Landau

It was bad enough that I was going to need to write a bit about the passing of George Romero when I got that news yesterday but then later last night, to add insult to injury, I got the news that Oscar winning actor Martin Landau had died as well.


Romero...though it is often said after someone dies that they changed the game, there are a lot of times when that's hyperbole.  Not here.  George Romero changed the game.  For all practical purposes he created a film genre and did it for next to nothing and in a ridiculously small amount of time.  Night of the Living Dead was a revelation and a revolution.  It's difficult to overstate its impact on films that would follow.

Landau...I can remember seeing him in Mission Impossible on T.V. when I was a kid (I was maybe 8 or 9)  and even then recognizing how good he was.  I also remember being awed by hos Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood and how pleased I was that he won his Oscar for that performance.

Sad to hear that they are both gone.


Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig from Downsizing

We found out on Friday that Alexander Payne's Downsizing will open the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 30th.  That news put to rest concerns that the film wouldn't be ready in time for a Telluride play.
And though it doesn't guarantee a TFF #44 berth, a lot of people smarter than I am think that it's high;y likely now.

That scenario makes a ton of sense to me as I have been thinking that Payne would bring the film to Telluride if at all possible.

It seems likely that Downsizing will probably follow the same trail that La La Land, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity established with a Venice play followed by a TFF set of screenings.

Take a look at the coverage from:



The Playlist


Hollywood Elsewhere


Julianne Moore from Wonderstruck

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere posted a piece yesterday in which he writes that there will be no Sundance/Telluride crossover for Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name.

Wells has been a big fan of the film since its debut in Park City and expressed his unhappiness that it won't be included on the TFF #44 bill of fare.

So, we can take it off the table.

But also...if you read the piece, you will also have noticed that Wells confirms that Todd Haynes Wonderstruck will be playing and that cinematographer Ed Lachman will be getting a tribute as a part of that.

I tumbled to that as a result of a tweet from friend Jason Osiason.

That also led to a Twitter exchange that included Variety's Kristopher Tapley in which he says that Ruben Ostlund's The Square is off the table for The SHOW.

I'll have more from Mr. Osiason tomorrow.

Sooo...learned quite bit over the weekend...Wonderstruck and Downsizing...probably a yes.  The Square and Call Me By Your Name...nope.

That'll do for a Monday.  More to come...


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Friday, July 14, 2017

TFF #44 Ten Bets #3 / The Playlist Has 50 Films They Want to See / The Darkest Hour Trailer

It's finally Friday...


And so because it's Friday, it's time for the third iteration of MTFB's Ten Bets for Telluride.  It's my weekly attempt to guess what will play at this year's fest ranked in order of what I believe their likelihood to be.

Last week's Ten Bets looked like this:

1) Wonderstruck
2) Loveless
3) Visages/Villages
4) Battle of the Sexes
5) Downsizing
6) The Florida Project
7) A Fantastic Woman
8) The Other Side of Hope
9) 120 BPM
10) You Were Never Really Here

This week's Ten Bets...

1) Wonderstruck
2) Visages/Villages
3) Loveless
4) The Florida Project
5) A Fantastic Woman

6) Battle of the Sexes
7) 120 BPM
8) The Other Side of Hope
9) You Were Never Really Here
10) Downsizing

Others to consider: The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Our Souls at Night, The Rider, Lean on Pete, Loving Vincent.


Earlier this week The Playlist put up their annual "50 Films We Want to See" at fall film fests.  As a part of that listing the crew there make some predictions about where they think films are likely to appear/premiere.

They specifically mention Telluride in the context of six films (seven if you count a reference from their "other" films beyond the 50 they highlight.  They are:

Battle of the Sexes
The Current War
The Death of Stalin (MTFB comment...yes, please)
Mary Magdalene
Under the Silver Lake
and Breathe which is mentioned outside their 50

Among others of their 50 films that I have been following as potential T-ride players, here is that list and The Playback's notes regarding where they think the film will screen and/or premiere (and even in the case of these films, a play at any of the fests that are listed doesn't mean that the film would not also play at Telluride):

Blade Runner 2049-Venice (you might remember my comment yesterday about BR2049 maybe not playing any fest)
The Darkest Hour-Venice/TIFF (see below)
Disobedience From the director of A Fantastic Woman (which I think is likely for T-ride)-Venice/TIFF
Downsizing-all they say is that a "fall a lock" which would almost certainly be Telluride I would think but there is still buzz concerning whether it will be ready.
Lady Bird-TIFF
Lean on Pete-Venice/TIFF
Molly's Game-AFI
Roman Israel, Esq-TIFF/AFI
The Shape of Water-TIFF
The Snowman-Venice

Suburbicon-The Playlist says' We hear this already has a major festival slot lined up" but they don't speculate about which one.  They do say to expect an announcement sooner rather than later which would mean that whatever it is, it's not Telluride.  That doesn't preclude a T-ride play, however.
Three Billboards-Venice/TIFF
Wonder Wheel-Venice/NYFF


We saw yesterday that we would get a trailer for Joe Wright's Darkest Hour.  The big buzz has been about Gary Oldman's performance as Winston Churchill.  Here's the newly released trailer:

The film is being distributed by Focus Features and is set to be released on Nov. 22nd.  

Here are a couple of stories about the film and its trailer release from:

There's your MTFB for Friday, July 14th.  More to come next Monday.


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Thursday, July 13, 2017

We Have a Poster / Hollywood Elsewhere Makes Some Telluride Guesses / Spielberg at TFF #44? /

Good Thursday friendo...can you tell I was watching No Country for Old Men late last night?


After teasing you with glimpses of what we thought was the official poster hanging in the Nugget Theater in Telluride we have the confirmation now as the Telluride Film Festival officially announced this year's poster artist as well as releasing the poster to the public for viewing and for sale.  Here's the visual:

This year's poster artist is Lance Rutter who, according to the TFF press release is a graphic designer and also teaches design at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.  He is also a Vice President of Silicon Valley based start up Design for Quantifind.  He also is on the national board of the American Institute for Graphic Arts.

TFF #44 poster artist Lance Rutter (via

Rutter is quoted in the release saying, "I don't think it's possible to overstate how thrilled I was to be asked to create a poster for the 44th edition of the Telluride Film Festival."  He went on to say, "I believe there is something uniquely magical that happens there every year."

Festival Executive Director Julie Huntsinger said, "Lance's design for this year's poster is simply stunning."

Rutter joins an impressive list of artists who have designed the fests posters in past years that includes: Julian Schnabel, Chuck Jones, Gary Larson, Laurie Anderson, William Wegman and Dave Eggers among others.


You can tell that TFF #44 is getting closer as well as the entire fall film fest gauntlet as the press covering the film industry increase their focus on what films will be featured at which festivals.

Tuesday saw Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere post his first serious take on what he thinks will and won't and could play at The SHOW.

Wells has some interesting thoughts about TFF.

He says that he thinks that Todd Haynes Wonderstruck, Sean Baker's The Florida Project and Sebastain Lelio's A Fantastic Woman are all "locks" for TFF #44.  All three films have been on my first two Ten Bets lists these past two weeks.

Other films that Wells says would be a "good fit" or "make sense" are:

Denis Villenueve's Blade Runner 2049 (more about that later on in this post).
Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game
Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Ritesh Batra's Our Souls at Night
Geroge Clooney's Suburbicon
John Curran's Chappaquiddick

Couple of notes here:  I keep forgetting about both Batra's and Curran's films which I shouldn't as both film makers have had films at Telluride in the past.  Batra with The Lunchbox in 2013.  Our Souls at Night also has the distinction of re-paring of Jane Fonda and Robert Redford (Barefoot in the Park, The Electric Horseman). It would be a tremendous event to have those two in Telluride for a Jane Fonda tribute. As best as I can determine Fonda has never been to Telluride with a film. Redford, of course, was a tribute recipient in 2013 with All Is Lost.  Netflix is the distributor of the film.

John Curran was also at Telluride in 2013 with Tracks.

As to Blade Runner 2049...I keep hearing buzz that Warners is going to forgo any Fest play in an effort to keep the film's secrets and twists under wraps until its release on Oct. 6th.  That makes a bunch of sense to me and despite the fact that I think I've made a pretty good case for why it could be a Telluride pick...right now, it feels like it's still not likely.

Other Well's notes on some TFF possibilities on a film by film basis:

Downsizing...HE says "nope".
The Current War "probably not"
Wonder "maybe"
mother! Wells says "Bring it on" which I'm not sure if he means that he thinks it will be at T-ride or that he wants it to be or both.
Mary Magdalene "no clue"
Three Billboards "likely"
Stronger "maybe"
Suburbicon "maybe"
The Shape of Water "doesn't seem like a Telluride-type" (though I hear some buzz that Fox Searchlight might really want it to play at TFF)
Blade Runner 2049 "likely" (see above)
Molly's Game "maybe"

Again, the entire "Telluride Spitball" post is here.


No. No. No.  Not with The Papers which has almost zero chance to be ready by Labor Day.  I think that it'll be lucky to hit its limited release date of Dec. 22nd.

No, instead, I think we might have a chance to see the HBO doc about Spielberg that was all over the media the last couple of days.

HBO Docs has had a substantial presence at Telluride recently:

2012: Love, Marilyn
2014: The 50 Year Argument, Tales of the Grim Sleeper
2015: Heart of a Dog
2016: Bright Lights

So a spot for a doc about Steven Spielberg seems like a real possibility.  The film will air on HBO on Oct. 7th.

Coverage is here from SlashFilm and here from Indiewire.

A screening in Telluride would also coincide with the Sept. 1 re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

There's your MTFB post for Thursday, July 13, 2017.  More to come tomorrow including the latest update TFF #44's Ten Bets.


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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Future Telluride?: Barry Jenkins' Next Project Announced / The Square Drops a Trailer / Whither Toronto?

As promised yesterday, today's post is a bit late in the posting but here it is...


It's no secret that a lot of Telluride regulars feel a little proprietary with regard to Barry Jenkins meteoric success last year.  Jenkins, as most if not all readers of this space know, kind of "grew up" as a film maker at T-ride over the past 15 years and that process culminated last year with the fest selecting and screening Moonlight which then went on to collect three Oscars last February including the memorable win for Best Picture in the Oscar snafu for the ages.

Naturally, I think, those of us who love the fest and obsess over it are more than a little interested in what direction Jenkins goes next.

It had been announced that he was set to work on an adaptation of Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning The Underground Railroad but that all changed yesterday with announcement that Jenkins is set to begin filming an adaptation of James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk.

Multiple sources were reporting yesterday that filming on the project is set to begin in October.  The film will be the first of his deal that he signed in May with Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures. Brad Pitt's Plan B will also be producing as was true for Moonlight.

Variety was the first to report the story yesterday.

Other outlets reported the story as the day progressed including:

The Hollywood Reporter

Shadow and Act

and Indiewire.

I think it's a fair bet to suggest that we need to keep an eye on this film's development with a notion that it could be on the SHOW list for TFF #45.


Ruben Ostlund's Cannes Palme d'Or winner The Square has a trailer.  The tease was released yesterday in preparation for the film's Swedish release next month.  It's scheduled release in the U.S. is Oct. 27th.

The Square is being domestically distributed by Magnolia Pictures.

Its success at Cannes suggests that we should consider it as a real possibility for TFF #44.

Here's the trailer from YouTube:

The Square, should it play TFF #44 would be the first Plame winner to make the Telluride lineup since 2013's Blue is the Warmest Color.


I've spent a lot of time over the years writing about the Toronto International Film Festival because of its inter-relationship with Telluride.  To say that the dynamic between the two fests (and Venice as well) has evolved since I started the blog back inn  2008 would be an understatement.

Now, as we approach another dance of fest acquisition, announcement and analysis comes this meditation from Deadline's Michael Cieply.  Cieply suggests that this year's TIFF iteration may be a crucial determiner as to what TIFF looks like going forward.  Of particular note is TIFF's decision this year to reduce the number of films playing there by about 20%.

Will that become the standard for TIFF going forward or will other changes be coming in the near future? 

And ultimately, what do the answers to the questions mean for our San Juan SHOW paradise as we move into the future?  

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


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Monday, July 10, 2017

And I'm Back / 30 Anticipated Films and Telluride / A Deeper Meaning to Battle of the Sexes?

Welcome back from the weekend.  Hope yours was good.  Mine was as I got to spend it in Jackson Hole, Wyoming...Gorgeous!

Now on to today's MTFB:


Yes, it's true.  I received my email notification from the Telluride Film Festival that I have been accredited as a journalist for the run of the fest.  Here's the pictorial proof of that acceptance:

 I want to thank the Telluride Film Festival and especially the folks that coordinate the press for the fest for accepting my application.  It is an honor.

I'll try to make it work for those of you that read this space regularly.


Business Insider has posted a story that focuses on 30 films that they think are the most anticipated films for the fall season.  Among them are films that I have had on my TFF #44 radar:

Battle of the Sexes
Blade Runner 2049
Call Me By Your Name
Mary Magdalene
Molly's Game
Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film (Phantom Thread)

Here's the link to the complete article.


The Dayton/Faris film Battle of the Sexes has a lot of potential TFF heat this last couple of weeks. Last Friday the film was at the #4 spot on my second edition of Ten Bets for 2017.

In the midst of the heat, I stumbled across this story from Entertainment Weekly in which Emma Stone, who plays Billie Jean King in the film, suggests that there are parallels between the film and our current social status.

Check out that story from EW here.

That's it for Monday.  And a warning here.  Tuesday's post is likely to hit later in the morning than normal.  Don't panic...just got to drive home.



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Friday, July 7, 2017

Ten Bets #2 for TFF #44 / Wonderstruck Centers New York AND... / A Trailer for California Typewriter

Welcome to Friday Film Fans...


Here we are on a Friday in July once again which means it's time for our weekly update of my list of ten films that seem, at least at this point, the most likely to play as a part of this year's Telluride Film Festival.

Last week's first attempt looked like this:

1) Loveless
2) A Fantastic Woman
3) Wonderstruck
4) Visages/Villages
5) The Florida Project
6) Downsizing
7) You Were Never Really Here
8) 120 BPM
9) The Rider
10) Battle of the Sexes

The Next Bets, in no particular order of likelihood:  Happy End, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Current War, Loving Vincent, Lean on Pete, Redoubtable, Spoor.

In light of bits and pieces of information, here's this week's Ten Bets:

1) Wonderstruck
2) Loveless
3) Visages/Villages
4) Battle of the Sexes
5) Downsizing
6) The Florida Project
7) A Fantastic Woman
8) The Other Side of Hope
9) 120 BPM
10) You Were Never Really Here

Other films bubbling just below these Ten Bets:

The Rider, Happy End, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, The Current War, Loving Vincent, Lean on Pete, Redoubtable, Spoor.


The New York Film Festival announced yesterday that Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck will be their Centerpiece this year on Oct. 7th.  Of special note to Telluride followers was the note in the announcement from the Film Society of Lincoln Center that the film would be presented as its New York premiere.  

That implies that the film will have played previously as a North American and U.S. premiere somewhere else.  My plays Telluride.

And additional coverage of the selection by the NYFF from Indiewire.

In light of this announcement, I moved Wonderstruck up to the number one spot in today's Ten Bets as you can see above.


One of last year's sort of underground hits at TFF #43 was the documentary California Typewriter. The film acts as a love letter to the machine and the people that still love to use them.  The film is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures and The Playlist reports that it has a domestic release date of August 18th.

The trailer, however, is out and here it is from YouTube:

That's a wrap for this Friday and this week.  More to come on Monday.


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Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Distributors: Magnolia Pictures / Bening Named Venice Jury Prez / TFF History Continued-TFF #22

Welcome back to MTFB...It's Thursday.


Magnolia's record at TFFs is spotty but they could be playing this year.

Magnolia's TFF past:

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

Magnolia played the Cannes Palme d'Or competition with Arnuad Desplechin's Ismael's Ghost and Ruben Ostlund's Palme winning The Square.

Ismael's Ghosts had a mixed response at Cannes but its undeniable star power (Cotillard, Gainsbourg and Almaric) may mean we can't rule it out.  Mark it with a 25% chance.

Ostlund's Palme winner has a much better shot due to its win and good critical response.  Added to the factoring is that a Palme winner hasn't played Telluride since 2013's Blue is the Warmest Color.  Perhaps the fest is due for another Palme winner.  Chances- 50%.


The Venice Film Festival announced yesterday that actress Annette Bening will serve as the president of their competition jury.  Details are here from The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.

That means you can also discount any chance that she would be in Telluride with either The Seagull or Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool.  That's not to say that either film won't play TFF just that if they do, Bening won't make the trip to the San Juans with the film which, for my money, probably means that neither film makes the trip .


The continued backward march through TFF fest history continues today with a review of the 22nd SHOW, Sept. 1-4, 1995

Guest Director: Phillip Lopate

Tributes: John Schlesinger, Zhang Yimou, The Surrealists

Special Medallion: Andrew Sarris


The Arsonists
China; The Wild East
Cold Comfort Farm
Desolation Angels
Floating Clouds
Fresh Bait
From the Journals of Jean Seberg
The Hard Way
History is Made at Night
Institute Benjamenta
The Journey of August King
The Man with the Movie Camera
Man's Castle
On the Beat
Pie in the Sky
The River
The Saragosa Manuscript
Shanghai Triad
Survivors of the Holocaust
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead
The Tit and the Moon
To Die For
Total Eclipse
Visions of Heaven and Hell
The Wanderers
Warrior Lanling
The Water Carrier
The White Balloon


Ken Burns
Josh Charles
Danny Elfman
Thierry Fremaux
Christopher Hampton
Anne Heche
Werner Herzog
Angneiska Holland
James Ivory
Chuck Jones
Philip Kaufman
Christine Lahti
Guy Maddin
Roger Michell
Thandie Newton
Mark Rappaport
Peter Reigert
Gus Van Sant
Sam Waterston
Treat Williams
Frederick Wiseman

That's a wrap for Thursday.  An updated Ten Bets list is on its way to you tomorrow.


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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Distributors: Focus Features / First Portrait (Trailer) for Final Portrait

Happy Independence Day to all...


To say that there has been only a slight relationship over the past few years between Focus Features and the Telluride Film Festival would be accurate.  Since 2006 Focus has been repped at Telluride all of three times:

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

In all three cases the directors involved had appeared with a film at TFF before.  Phil Noyce who directed Catch a Fire had Rabbit Proof Fence there in 2002.  Roger Michell who was the director of Hyde Park on Hudson had Venus in 2006 and Persuasion in 1995 and Suffragette was directed by Sarah Gavron who had been represented at Telluride in 2007 with Brick Lane, Losing Touch in 2000 and This Little Life in 2003.  So, if you're looking to see if Focus might be back with a film in 2017, that could be a factor to look at and Focus has some films that might be on anyone's wish list.

Starting with the latest from Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis, who suggests that he will retire from acting after this film.  The film is currently called Phantom Thread and is scheduled for release on Dec. 25th.

PTA and DDL were in Telluride in 2007 for a tribute to Day Lewis but I fully expect that the film won't be finished in time for Labor Day.  Chances: 0%.

Darkest Hour with what is said to be a star turn and Oscar play for Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.  Darkest Hour is directed by Jow Wright of Atonement fame.  Wright has no T-ride connection that I can track down so despite a Nov. 22nd release date...Chances: 10%.

Victoria and Abdul starring Judi Dench as the British monarch and directed by Stephen Frears probably has the best shot as Frears has been at Telluride in the past with a tribute to him in 1987 that included Sammy and Rosie Get Laid as well as Walter and June and in 2010 with Tamara Drewe.  Victoria and Abdul opens on Sept. 22nd.  Chances: 35%.


Outside contender for Telluride inclusion, Stanley Tucci's Final Portrait dropped a trailer yesterday. Here it is from YouTube:

Final Portrait stars Geoffrey Rush and Armie Hammer.  It played Berlin back in February and is in Sony Pictures Classics stable.  It currently has no U.S. release date.

I have also linked coverage of the trailer's release here from The Playlist.

That's all for July 4.  More on Thursday.


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