Monday, July 15, 2013

Deadline Day/Only at TFF

Good Monday Everyone...

Hope it was a fantastic weekend.


Today is the deadline for film submissions for the Telluride Film Festival.  I have been told on occasion that some of the "higher-ups" in the TFF hierarchy actually take a look at this space from time to time.  I'm not sure I believe that but I'd like to.  So, in that spirit, here's my list of 20 films that I'd sure like the Telluride Film Festival to consider programming.  some of these I'm very sure will play.  Others don't have a snowball's chance of being in San Miguel County on Labor Day but it's a "wish list" (most with some kind of clip or trailer)of sorts so...

And to those film makers out there that are responsible for the films on this list...come on...apply...(of course, I fully realize that there are sometimes "late additions" to the Telluride lineup...that's OK too).

In alphabetical order they are:

"12 Years a Slave"- Steve McQueen's third feature following "Hunger" and "Shame" tells the true story of a free black man taken slammed into slavery and his struggle to regain that freedom.  Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender lead a massive and talent-laden cast.  Rumors are strong that it will play the Venice fest.

"All is Lost"- J.C. Chandor's follow-up to "Margin Call" features Robert Redford, a boat and the ocean...and not much dialogue.  It played at Cannes out of competition and was rapturously received.  Lot of buzz for Redford vis-a-vis awards season.

"American Hustle" -David O. Russell is on a hot streak.  "Silver Linings Playbook" last year and "The Fighter" in 2010.  "AH" is a true story of political corruption that features a phenomenal cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro from "SLP" and Christian Bale and Amy Adams from "Fighter" plus throw in Jeremy Renner.

"August: Osage County"-Meryl Streep leads the all star cast in this adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning play about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family.  Other cast mates: Julia Roberts, Ewan MacGregor, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sam Shepard.

"Captain Phillips"- Tom Hanks plays the real life Captain of the U.S. ship hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.  Paul Greengrass directs.

"The Counselor"- Ridley Scott (?) directs an original Cormac McCarthy script abut a lawyer who gets in over his head when dealing with the illicit drug trade.  The cast is intriguing: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz.

"Dallas Buyers Club"- Matthew McConnaughey looks to continue his current acting winning streak with this true story of a homophobic Texan who contracted AIDS in 1986 and his attempts to find ways to treat it.  Jean-Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria) directs.Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner also star.

"The Fifth Estate"- Director Bill Condon's take on Julian Assange and the development of WikiLeaks.  Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl and Laura Linney star.

"Foxcatcher"- Bennett Miller has directed two straight winners: "Capote" and "Moneyball".  I'm hopeful that "Foxcatcher" will give him a hat trick.  "Foxcatcher" is another true story (notice that there are a lot of those on this list?).  This focuses on millionaire John DuPont and his murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz.  Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell and Channing Tatum star.

"Gravity"-Alfonso Curaon is back.  The director finally follows up his 2006 gem "Children of Men" with another sci-fi piece.  Now, I really liked "Children of Men" but Frankly was just lukewarm about this "lost in space" story starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney...most Bullock I understand.  That is until I saw the, I'm kind of hot to see the film.

"Her" Spike Jonze directs, Joaquin Phoenix acts in a story about a men in love with his computer's operating system.  Yes.  Plus a lot of beautiful talented women: Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde.  The combo of Jonze and Phoenix is a enough for me.

"The Immigrant"  James Gray's story of a young women trapped in a bad life in 19th century America with Marion Cotillard Jeremy Renner and Joaquin Phoenix.  I've been hot to see it since they teased it last year at TFF#39.

"Inside Llewyn Davis"-The Coen Brothers ode to music (folk music specifically) was roundly applauded at Cannes.  The buzz is very, very good.  Oscar Issac stars as the title character who appears to be a struggling New York folk musician in the early 60's.  Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham and Justin Timberlake co-star.  This might be the #1 film on this fall's "must see" list.

"Labor Day"- I sure hope that Jason Reitman returns to Telluride.  I enjoyed "Juno" and "Up in the Air" and a brief conversation with Reitman both times.  This project sounds intriguing.  Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star.  Brolin's on the run from the law whose path crosses with Winslet's character.

"The Monuments Men"- George Clooney and company save art from Nazis.  Clooney directs, stars and co-wrote the film which also features Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Jean Dujardin.  Come on back to Telluride George!

"Nebraska"- Alexander Payne's story of a father-son road trip to claim a potential fortune.  Bruce Dern and Will Forte star (see story below).

"Out of the Furnace"- Scott Cooper follows "Crazy Heart" with this hard scrabble film about a man looking for justice for his brother.  Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana star.

"The Past"-Berenice Bejo won Best Actress at Cannes in May in this film from "A Separation's" Asgahr Farhadi.  "A Separation" was one of the best films of 2011.  If this story of domestic difficulties is remotely in the same ball park, it should be worth our time.

"The Wolf of Wall Street"-Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio team up yet again for this true story of high finance, crime and corruption.  McConnaughey and Dujardin are both in this as well in addition to Jonah Hill and Jon Favreau.

"The Zero Theorem"-Terry Gilliam playing at satirizing our world with Christoph Waltz in the lead...yes Telluride please.

Late word from this weekend is that director Terry Gilliam has confirmed that "The Zero Theorem" will be playing at the Venice Fest.  The Playlist reports:

There you have it.  The deadline is tonight at midnight.  Get that paperwork filled out.


I ran across a story this past weekend that underlines the uniqueness of the Telluride Film Festival.  The L.A. Times was reporting on the resurgence in the use of black and white film making and isolated a story about Noah Baumbach ("Frances Ha") and Alexander Payne (the forthcoming and above mentioned "Nebraska meeting at Telluride last year and spending substantial time together.  Payne was yet to begin shooting "Nebraska" and wanted to get pointers from Baumbach who had completed "Frances".

I'm not sure that kind of organic (and reportedly lengthy) meet up happens any way else.

Take a look at the story here:,0,7580244.story

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More tomorrow...

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