Saturday, June 28, 2014

TFF #40 Films Still Winning/Best of the Week: Ten Bets #1; Anne and Eric Talk Telluride and Toronto; More on the Toronto Ultimatum; What's Up Ken's Sleeve: The Roosevelts; Winter's Adopted

Hello on the last Saturday in June from beautiful Grand Haven, MI.  The boss and I are slinging some art in this lakeside community.


HitFix reported yesterday that the Saturn Awards have been announced and TFF #40 films "Gravity" "Prisoners" and "12 Years a Slave" continue to win plaudits.

"Gravity" won five awards including Best Direction while "12 Years" was names Best Independent Film.  "Prisoners" won recognition for Best Makeup.

Take a look at the entire slate of Saturn Award winners and the HitFix story here:



Well, I've been teasing it for weeks now and it's finally time to take the plunge.  Here's the first "Ten Bets" list for the 41st Telluride Film Festival.  Here's your disclaimer...if the past is any indicator, only about half of these titles will actually end up on the TFF #41 program in two months.  Last year I my first "Ten Bets" list had six films that ended up playing as apart of TFF #40 ("Nebraska", "The Past", "Aguirre; The Wrath of God", "The Invisible Woman", "Labor Day" and "12 Years a Slave:). That being duly noted, here are your bets:

10) Salt of the Earth (Wenders)
9) Winter Sleep (Ceylan)
8) Red Army (Polsky)
7) Coming Home (Yimou)
6) Foxcatcher (Miller)
5) The Roosevelts (Burns)
4) Leviathan (Zvyagintsev)
3) Birdman (Inarritu)
2) Two Days, One Night (Dardennes)
1) Mr. Turner (Leigh)

Just under the "ten bets": "A Most Violent Year", "National Gallery" and "Queen of the Desert".


Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood and Eric Kohn of IndieWire (who is Anne's new podcast partner) posted their second edition of  "ScreenTalk".  In it they spend a reasonable amount of time talking about the Toronto ultimatum about North American premieres, which is a direct shot across Telluride's bow. They also talk a bot about Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Birdman", which I'm very excited about and which will almost certainly be on the first 2014 TFF "Ten Bets" list (coming Friday).   The discussion of Toronto/Telluride situation and "Birdman" starts at about the 16 minute mark.  You'll find the entire podcast here:


You've seen me writing about this quite a bit these past few months,  The Toronto International Film Fests demand that they will absolutely not program any film on their first four day weekend that isn't a world or North American premiere.  They've laid down that marker in an effort to prevent a repeat of the "12 Years a Slave" (and others) screenings that occurred in Telluride prior to screening at Toronto.

Well, yesterday the Toronto Star published a lengthy piece about the ultimatum.  What I found intriguing are the comments from Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard in which he states that he thinks Toronto has made a mistake.

That implies (at least to me) a couple of things.  First, even though Bernard declines to talk about SPC's plans and hopes for the fall fest season, you have to think that it's a pretty big signal that SPC is going to play Telluride like they always have and that actually moved the needle on where I placed "Foxcatcher" on the initial "Ten Bets" list above.  I also think that the subtext is there to support the notion that Bernard thinks that other distributors are likely to follow suit.

Of course, the TIFF peeps are all upbeat in the article...but I think they sound just a little too chirpy.

I don't know...look at it and see for yourself:


Long time Telluride Film mainstay Ken Burns has "The Roosevelts" up his sleeve.  It's a seven hour documentary about the famed American family focusing on Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor.  PBS is set to begin the series on Sept. 14th and it's that 9/14 date that makes me think that there's a good chance that Telluride patrons will be able to see at least some of the doc on Labor Day weekend.  Burns has often premiered parts of his current projects in the TFF forum and this wouldn't be a surprise.  Catch up on some details of this enterprise from The Poughkeepsee Journal (of all places) here:

The article includes video of Burns talking about the project.


Yesterday I reported that Ken Burns latest project, "The Roosevelts" was a seven hour documentary.  That's wrong.  It's a seven PART, 14 hour doc about Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor.  That's according to the National Endowment for the Arts press release/story that came out yesterday afternoon.  I have linked it here:

Despite the length of the project, I still think we're likely to see some portions of the project available for viewing in the San Juans over Labor Day weekend.


Winter Sleep (2014) Poster

"Winter Sleep" poster via

Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Cannes Palme d'Or winner has just been picked up for U.S. distribution by Adopt Films.  The acquisition probably increases the Telluride profile of the three hour plus film that won the Palme and was a critical darling last month.  Adopt has a rather short pedigree but it does include "Bethlehem" which played T-ride last year and "Barbara" which was a part of the 2012 TFF lineup.

I had been thinking that this might be one of those years where the Palme winner didn't make the Telluride lineup.  The Palme presence at Telluride is about 50/50.  Over the past 11 years T-ride has programmed these Palme winners: "Elephant" (Van Sant) '03, "The Child" (Dardennes Bros.) '05, "4 Months, Three Weeks, Two Days" (Mungiu) '07, "The White Ribbon" (Haneke) '09, "Amour" (Haneke) '12 and "Blue is the Warmest Color" (Kechechie) '13.But during that same span Palme winners "Fahrenheit 9/11", "The Wind that Shakes the Barley", "The Class", "Uncle Boonmee" and "The Tree of Life" did not play Telluride.

Ultimately, the news that Adopt Films has the U.S. distribution probably nudges "Winter Sleep" into the "more than 50% chance of playing Telluride" camp.  But just barely.

Here are a couple of posts about the Adopt acquisition:

Thompson on Hollywood:

The Dissolve:

"Winter Sleep" IMDb page:

More on Monday.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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