Thursday, March 31, 2016

Downsizing Re-visited / Woody's Cafe to Open Cannes

Good Thursday Everyone...


Alexander Payne

On Monday's "Very Early List" I included Craig Johnson's Wilson as one of ten films that I think has a realistic shot at playing at Telluride.  In large part because one of its producers is Alexander Payne who has become a Telluride mainstay.  He is someone I expect to see each year at the SHOW.

Payne's next directing effort is also a film that I would expect would make the Telluride lineup.  The film is entitled Downsizing and will star Matt Damon.  It is not set for release, however until Dec. 2017 so I'd look for it at TFF #44.

News about Downsizing broke big Tuesday.  The cast was to have included Reese Witherspoon, a Telluride attendee in 2014 with Wild.  That appears to have changed, though, with multiple sources reporting that scheduling conflicts have prevented her participation.  Further, Witherspoon has been replaced by Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wiig.

Perhaps we'll see Ms. Wiig and Damon on Colorado Ave. next year.

Here's coverage of the cast switch and other details from several sources:



Image from the Cannes Film Festival

Word this week that another piece of the Cannes lineup puzzle has been put into place.  Woody Allen's latest project, Cafe Society, was named as the opening night film for the 69th festival.  Cafe Society's selection was not a surprise as it had been rumored in a number of sources to have been one of the films under consideration for the opening slot.  The film will, as has been the custom for Allen's Cannes films, appear out of competition.

Coverage of the selection is here:

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Very Early List / Variety's Further Look at France / 44 Films Indiewire Wants at Cannes

Good Monday and I hope everyone had a great Easter holiday...those that had an Easter holiday...


I've been working on looking into the TFF #43 crystal ball for about a month now since the conclusion of the Oscar race on February 28.  Admittedly, I had begun in some small ways before     then but the focus after the close of each year's fest turns to the awards race until it's over.

As I have explained, each year's serious analysis begins with annual January "films-to-come" lists, followed by three film fests that give insight.  Berlin, traditionally, has provided a couple of films that come to Colorado.  Meanwhile Sundance and South by Southwest largely act as exclusionary festivals-they tell you titles that won't be at Telluride (with rare exceptions).

Also, once the Oscars have come and gone, any number of outlets will publish Oscar speculation pieces.  Those stories can give early insight into films that could have the quality to make the T-ride lineup.

Finally we get to where we are...the Cannes Film Fest announces their lineup in two and a half weeks and speculation pieces about that lineup is the next layer of possibilities for Labor Day as their is usually a significant overlap between the Croisette and Colorado Ave.  As a matter of fact, I have two more big Cannes spec pieces that I look at below.

All of that to get to this...a very early list of ten films that seem to me, at least at the moment, to have he best Telluride profile.  I present them here in alphabetical order with no view yet as to their relative chances of making the Telluride lineup...I need more information to do that:

1) Andrea Arnold's American Honey
2) Wim Wenders The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
3) Gianfranco Rosi's Fire at Sea
4) Garth Davis' Lion
5) Jeff Nichol's Loving
6) Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman
7) Werner Herzog's Salt and Fire
8) Mia Hansen Love's Things to Come
9) The Dardenne Brothers' The Unknown Girl
10) Craig Johnson's Wilson

Let's see how this list looks when we get to September.


As mentioned above, I continue to dissect the Cannes predictions of a number of industry publications.  Today I'm looking at Peter DeBruge and Elsa Keslassy and their recent post.  They break it down into geographic categories, so I will follow suit in isolating films that might double up between Cannes and Telluride:

U.S. Directors: The Last Face (Sean Penn), Loving (Jeff Nichols)
British/Irish: American Honey (Andrea Arnold), The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan)
French: Personal Shopper (Olivier Assasyas)
Romanian: Family Photos (Christian Mungiu)
Other Europeans: Julieta (Pedro Almodovar). The Unknown Girl (The Dardennes), The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez (Wim Wenders)
Canadians; It's Only the End of the World
Latin American: Neruda (Pablo Larrain)
Israel: Oppenheimer Strategies (Joseph Cedar)
Asian: The Salesman/Untitled (Asghar Farhadi)

The complete Variety article is here:


And finally, a wish list...probably well informed, from Indiewire, about Cannes films...with my eye toward Telluride...

Among the 44 films that the Indiewire crew lists are:

The Last Face
The Unknown Girl
Family Photos
American Honey
It's Only the End of the World
The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
The Secret Scripture
Personal Shopper
Oppenheimer Strategies
Forushande (the untitled Farhadi Salesman film)

That'll do for Monday...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cannes Poster Released / Multiple Sources Guess at the Cannes' Lineup

Good Thursday to Everyone...


The 69th Cannes Film Festival released its official poster this week as you can see above.  Many observers have noted that the poster art is inspired by Jean Luc Godard.

Variety covered the release of the poster here:


We've been seeing a good deal of speculation over the past couple of weeks about American films that might make their way to the Croisette for Cannes in May.  Money Monster, Cafe Society, The Nice Guys, The BFG, The Last Face and  Loving are among the American films already confirmed or that have serious heat about their chances.

As we get closer to the actual announcements, speculation is getting more detailed.  Screen Daily has a very extensive piece that spans the film world and offers a broad array of possibilities.  Among them that initially seem Telluride-ish are(grouped in the same fashion that Screen Daily has used):

UK/Irish: American Honey, The Sense of an Ending, The Secret Scripture
U.S.: Loving, The Story of Your Life, The Last Face, Sully (yes...Sully)
Canada: It's Only the End of the World
France: Personal Shopper
Germany: The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
Spain: Julieta, A Monster Calls
Eastern Europe: Family Photos
Benelux: The Unknown Girl
Middle East: Oppenheimer Strategies
Latin America: Neruda
Australia: Lion

The complete Screen Daily post is here:

Meanwhile, Pete Hammond from Deadline throws his two cents into the pot:

Similarly, Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter also covered the Cannes spec with a post this week:

And finally, The Jigsaw Lounge has posted "Odds for Winning" the Palme d'Or already.  One assumes that the odds also give some indication of the likelihood of specific films making the competition lineup.  Of note:

Almodovar's leading odds of 3-1 for Julieta
Arnold's American Honey at 18-1
Larrain's Neruda at 20-1
Penn's The Last Face at 22-1
The Dardennes The Unknown Girl at 25-1
Dolan's It's Only the End of the World also at 25-1
Mungiu's Family Photos at 28-1
Assassyas' Personal Shopper at 33-1
Nichols' Loving at 33-1
Eastwood's Sully at 35-1

The complete odds (and it's an extensive list) are here:

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Cannes Rumors of What's In and What's Out / A Look at Wilson

Good Monday to All...


We saw a flurry of reportage this weekend about the involvement or non-involvement of a number of American films in terms of the 69th Cannes Film Festival.  Sources were reporting via a number of outlets that these films were likely to be announced as part of the Cannes lineup:

Sean Penn's The Last Face
Woody Allen's Cafe Society
Jeff Nichol's Loving
Shane Black's The Nice Guys
Stephen Spielberg's The BFG

Meanwhile, the word is that neither Martin Scorsese's Silence and James Gray's The Lost City of Z will be ready for a bow at Cannes.

Jodie Foster's Money Monster has already been announced as an out of competition presentation for the fest.

In as far as implications for Telluride...

It seems to me that only The Last Face and Loving might be possible plays for the Labor Day weekend fest (that assessment includes Silence and The Lost City of Z) and I don't have a strong feeling about either of them.

The Last Face has no U.S. distribution as yet (per IMDb).  It's Telluride profile is aided by having River Road/Bill Pohlad as producers.  RR and/or Pohlad have landed  12 Years a Slave, Wild,  Into the Wild (Penn's last directing gig), Fur and Brokeback Mountain at TFF over the years.

Loving's profile is even thinner as Jeff Nichols has had zero presence at Telluride and its distributor, Focus Features, has had a spotty T-ride record, though Focus was a presence last year with Suffragette.

Here are the reports from Variety and The Playlist:


Craig Johnson's Wilson (produced, in part by Alexander Payne) has to be considered as a very likely probability for Telluride assuming the film is completed.  The film is listed at IDMb as being in post-production.

A still photo emerged on Twitter late this week purportedly of Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern from the film via @MichaelNotCera:

Wilson is being distributed by Fox Searchlight and has no announced release date as yet.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

More on the Cannes Film Festival / Creating a Journal / Jon Stewart's Latest Gig Goes to Tribeca

Good Thursday America; how are you?


Jeff Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere is the latest media pundit to chime in with a look at some of the films that he thinks could play in May at the Cannes Film Festival.  Wells' limits his post from yesterday to what he terms "the big bets-the possible awards-season contenders that may not open until the fall".

On his checklist of Cannes' possibles that fit that description are:

Martin Scorsese's Silence
Oliver Stone's Snowden
Damien Chazelle's La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester-by-the Sea
Woody Allen's Untitled 1930's set comedy
Nicholas Winding Refn's Neon Demon
Juan Antonio Bayona's A Monster Calls
Warren Beatty's Untitled Howard Hughes film
Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman
Pedro Alamodovar's Julieta
Cristian Mungiu's Family Photos

Wells' also talks a good bit about Jodie Foster's Money Monster which will open later this spring.

I'd probably handicap The Salesman as the most likely Telluride prospect from the Wells' list.  Least likely would the Lonergan as it played Sundance as well as  Beatty's Hughes picture, Allen's comedy, Stone's Snowden and Scorsese's Silence but never say never.

Here's the link to the HE post:

Meanwhile, Roger Freidman from Showbiz 411 also comments on potential Cannes films and there is a good deal of crossover with the Hollywood Elsewhere list including Beatty, Allen, Stone and Foster.  Take a look at that post here:

Finally, Awards Watch posted a Cannes piece earlier this week that, among other things, reflects a bit of confusion about exactly when they will be announcing their competition lineup.  It's probably April 14th but...

Linked here:


I have undertaken to create a journal that categorizes the films that have played at each of the Telluride Fest that I have attended and provides information such as their distributor and what other fests that a film played at prior to and after their bow at Telluride.  Mostly this is so that I can use that as reference material in my detective work.  I'm about half way through (we began attending TFF in 2006).

One thing that I have discovered is that the occurrence of a film having appeared in the U.S. before playing at Telluride happens occasionally.  For instance, this past year's presentation of Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict played in a number of U.S. festivals including its premiere at the Tribeca Film Fest in April last year.

Other recent films that have appeared in the U.S. before playing at Telluride include:

2015's Sembene!
2014's Keep On Keepin' On (Tribeca)
2013's Sadourni's Butterflies (Seattle), Milius (SXSW) and My Dior (Tribeca)

So, the Telluride policy of North American premieres, which we knew was sometimes waived, may actually be waived a bit more often than I thought.


 And speaking of films from the Tribeca Film Fest, Jon Stewart who brought his feature film directing debut, Rosewater, to Telluride in 2014, is executive producing a Syrian refugee documentary that will be playing as a part of the Tribeca lineup.  The film is entitled After Spring and is set to World Premiere at Tribeca next month according to The Playlist.  Could Stewart play there and then return to Telluride with in September?

The Playlist post is here:

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Opening the Cannes...Speculation / The Film Stage's 50 Top Films of the Decade (So Far)

Welcome to Monday...


Over the years of writing this blog I have made the repeated claim that we always need to pay attention to what the Cannes Film Festival selects for its various programs.  The connection between Cannes and Telluride runs deep every year so if you're serious about trying to get a handle on the films that could be featured over Labor Day weekend, the Cannes lineup is a great place t begin that meditation.  It's also wisest to focus on the films that are in Palme d'Or competition.  That's not to say that T-ride doesn't chose films that play in other programs at Cannes such as Un Certain Regard, Director's Fortnight, etc. but most of the films that crossover between the festivals are competition films.

Last year was unusual as it had the fewest films shared by the french fest and Telluride in many a year.  Only six films played both places. (Offsetting that was an increase in the number of films that played both Venice and Telluride- eight, which is way above the average).

Telluride and Cannes shared: Rams, Carol and Son of Saul from the Palme competition lineup as well as three films from Cannes' documentary section: Hitchcock/Truffaut, Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words and Sembene!

Here's a look at the crossover between the two fests in the period that I have been attending the complete TFF:

2014: Competition films: Two Days, One Night, Mommy, The Homesman, Mr. Turner, Foxcatcher, Wild Tales and Leviathan.  UCR film: Salt of the Earth and Red Army from Cannes' Special Screenings.  Total crossover: Nine films

2013: Competition: Blue is the Warmest Color (Palme d"Or winner), Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, The Past.  UCR: Manuscripts Don't Burn, The Missing Picture, Out of Comp: All Is Lost, Director's Fortnight: Jodorowsky's Dune, International Critic's Week: The Lunchbox.  Total crossover: Nine films.

2012: Competition: Amour (Palme d'Or winner), Rust and Bone, Paradise: Love, The Hunt. Director's Fortnight: No, Midnight Madness: The Sapphires.  Special Screening: The Central Park Five.  Others: Final Cut, Me and Me Dad, Journal de France.  Total crossover: Ten films.

2011: Competition: Footnote, The Kid with a Bike, The Artist, Le Havre, We Need to Talk to Kevin. Total crossover: Five films.

2010: Competition: Of Gods and Men, Biutiful, Poetry, Another Year, The Prince of Montpensier.  Out of Competition: Carlos, Tamara Drewe.  Special Screening: Inside Job.  Total crossover: Eight films.

2009: Competition: The White Ribbon (Palme d'Or winner) Bright Star, Fish Tank, A Prophet and Vincere.  Total crossover: Five films.

2008: Competition: Gomorrah, Waltz with Bashir, UCR: Hunger, O'Horten, Tulpan.  Out of Competition: The Good, the Bad and the Weird.  Total crossover: Six films.

2007: Competition: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Palme d'Or winner) . The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Persepolis.  UCR: The Band's Visit, Terror's Advocate.  Total crossover: Five films.

So, over that space of time, the two film festivals average sharing 6-7 films each year with four of them being competition films.  So, you can see that knowing what plays at Cannes is really a very good list of films to begin working with if you're trying to figure out a possible Telluride lineup.

Consequently, speculation about the Cannes lineup from smart writers is where you should start your investigation.  The main Cannes announcement is expected to come sometime around Apr. 16-18 (there seems to be a bit of uncertainty about this).  We start this game with a list of 20 films from The Playlist that they suggest might be Cannes possibles.  That complete post is here:

Telluride prospects from this list include:

American Honey
Family Photos
La La Land
Personal Shopper
Salt and Fire
The Unknown Girl

You can catch some Cannes speculation from The Guardian in this podcast:


The Film Stage posted this article this week with their evaluation of the 50 best films that have been released this decade.  It's fun.  Take a look at that list/article here:

Telluride films that make their list and their positions are:

48) The Turin Horse
39) Ida
33) Leviathan
30) Another Year
23) Shame
10) Inside Llewyn Davis
7) Amour
5) A Separation
2) Under the Skin

That's it for this Monday...come back for more on Thursday:

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

More Post-Oscar Pre-Oscar Speculation / Post-Oscar Statistics

It's a Thursday in March...


The fine folks at Awards Watch have put their collective heads together to make their first set of way-too-early Oscar predictions for 2016 (and the 2017 Oscars).  You can find their lists of a number of categories here:

Among their Best Picture Oscar picks that seem to have some Telluride potential are:

Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (distrib: Sony, opens Nov. 11)
Jeff Nichol's Loving (distrib: Focus Features, opens TBD)
Ben Affleck's Live by Night (distrib: Warners, opens TBD)
Barry Jenkins' Moonlight (distrib: A24, opens TBD)
David Michod's War Machine (distrib: Netflix, opens TBD)
Damien Chazelle's La La Land (distrib: Lionsgate, opens Dec. 2)
Garth Davis' Lion (distrib: The Weinstein Company, opens Nov. 25)
James Marsh's Deep Water (no distrib or release date)

From other categories besides Best Picture:

Craig Johnson's Wilson (Fox Searchlight, TBD)
Mike Mills' 20th Century Women ( No distrib, TBD)


Nathaniel Rogers and The Film Experience take a look at any number of statistics and oddities that came to light as a result of this year's Academy Awards:

Also from the Academy itself... a database of all the Oscars from the beginning:

More to come on Monday...

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Telluride's Oscar History (Some of it Anyway) / The Berlin Fest and Telluride / Tickets for Sale!

Good Monday all...

Hope you had a great weekend...


I think there is sometimes a belief/narrative that the current run of Best Picture winners that have made their way through Telluride on their way to Oscar glory have indicated that the Telluride and Oscars connection is a very recent phenomenon.  Though the connection has expanded and become stronger in recent years (since 2008's Slumdog Millionaire landslide), the connection between TFF and Oscar Best Picture nominees goes way back to the very beginning of the festival and began to accelerate through the 90's and becoming a common occurrence beginning 16 years ago.

Here's what I mean.  Here are the Best Picture nominees year-by-year that played at Telluride. (*indicates a Best Picture winner):

1974: (Telluride's first year) The Conversation
1989: My Left Foot
1992: The Crying Game
1993: The Piano
1996: Secrets and Lies
2000: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
2003: Lost in Translation
2004: Finding Neverland
2005: Brokeback Mountain, Capote
2006: Babel
2007: Juno, There Will Be Blood (selected scenes)
2008: Slumdog Millionaire*, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (selected scenes)
2009: An Education, Up in the Air (expanded BP Field)
2010: The King's Speech*, 127 Hours, Black Swan
2011: The Artist*, The Descendants
2012: Argo*, Amour
2013: 12 Years a Slave*, Gravity, Nebraska
2014: Birdman*, The Imitation Game
2015: Spotlight*, Room

That's a total of 31 Best Picture nominations over TFF's 42 years and 23 of those since 2005 and, of course, the Best Picture winner for six straight years and seven of the last eight.  At least one film from the Telluride lineup has been Best Picture nominated every year since 2003.


The 2016 Berlin International Film Festival concluded on Feb. 20 but with all the Oscar hoopla, it got a little lost in the shuffle.  Why does it matter?  Because there will almost certainly be 1-3 films that played the Berlin programs that will screen for the first time in North America at Telluride.  Last year, three Berlin films made their way to T-ride after having bowed originally in Berlin: Taxi, 45 Years and Ixcanul.  In the recent past Telluride has seen '71, Gloria, Barbara, and A Royal Affair after they had originated in Berlin.

So, what films made a splash at this year's Berlin fest that could possibly appear over Labor Day weekend in southwest Colorado?

A number of Berlin prize winners have a real chance.  This year's Golden Bear winner was a refugee documentary chosen by a Meryl Streep led jury.  Gianfranco Rosi' Fire at Sea was picked up for U.S. distribution this week by Kino Lorber (story below).  Kino has had a presence at Telluride in the past with last year's Golden Bear winner, Taxi, being a recent example.  So call Fire at Sea a real possibility.

Also, Mia Hansen Love won Best Director for her Things to Come which is being distributed by Sundance Selects and Trine Dyrholm won Best Actress for Thomas Vinterberg's The Commune which does not currently have a U.S. distributor but considering Vinterberg's recent presence at Telluride (The Hunt in 2012) should be a consideration in our Telluride guessing game.


Telluride Banner Image

We git the invitation/notice in the email this week.  Telluride 2016 passes went onsale to the public on Mar. 1.  Here's the text of the email.

Dear SHOWfriend:
Join us for the 43rd Telluride Film Festival this Labor Day Weekend Friday, September 2nd through Monday, September 5th, 2016.
Our online Box Office for Cinephile, Acme and Festival level passes opens today Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 at 9AM PST. We have sold out of Patron Passes.  We make them available for purchase each year on December 1st, and they sold very quickly.
You need to provide a headshot for your pass — take the time now to scan that special shot, or better yet take a selfie with your camera phone. Any picture that is a close-up of your face will do.
A downloadable order form is also available upon request. We'll still need those gorgeous photos.
If you have any questions on the best way to order your pass, or other general inquiries regarding the Festival, give us a call at 510.665.9494.
We are deeply grateful for your generosity and continuous support. Thank you, and see you at the SHOW!

Get those passes people!

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Oscar Afterthoughts / Too Early Oscar Speculation and Telluride / Post Oscar Expert Analysis

Good Thursday everyone.  Time for some post-Oscar let down.


I was inordinately pleased that Spotlight closed the night as the Best Picture winner last Sunday.  I know it's silly but I was still rooting for a Telluride picture to win despite the fact that most serious observers felt that The Revenant was going to claim the big prize.  I actually let out a fairly loud whoop when Morgan Freeman said "Spaw..."  Didn't need to hear the second syllable.

As noted on Monday, TFF42 films knocked down four Oscars.  Two for Spotlight: Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.  Room's Brie Larson won Best Actress and included a very vocal endorsement/thank you to Telluride and Hungary's Son of Saul was named Best Foreign Film.

Not a bad night for those of us who follow both The SHOW and the Oscar show.  Congratulations to Larson, Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer and Laszlo Nemes.  

One wonders what's in store for the 89th Academy Awards and in what ways we'll be discussing TFF 43 in that context a year from now.  Which leads to...


As you might expect, the parties Sunday night hadn't even finished and there was already some pieces up in various corners of the interweb about what films could be in play for the 2016 Oscars.  You also won't be surprised, if you read this space with much regularity, that I couldn't resist parsing them for possible titles that might be included in the TFF43 lineup.  So, here are some of the outlets that have already struck the first blow of Oscar speculation for next year's ceremony.

The Playlist list includes a number of films that might crack the T-ride lineup including: Pablo Larrain's Jackie, Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and Amma Asante's A United Kingdom seem the most likely.  Here's The Playlist's compete list:

Here's a rundown from Awards Circuit:

And from The Hollywood Reporter, which includes Billy Lynn and Lion which could figure in the Telluride lineup:


I have linked post-Oscar analysis from Kristopher Tapley of Variety/InContention and Sasha Stone/Awards Daily and Jeff Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere:

That'll take care of business for this Thursday.  More to come Monday!

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