Friday, July 29, 2016

Telluride #43 Ten Bets #6-Toronto-Venice Aftermath / Others Take a Look at TIFF and Venice / Dreams of Jackie / Could Telluride See Eight Days a Week?

Good Friday world...


After hearing form Toronto, Venice and even a tidbit from New York gave me a lot of fuel to mix for this week's Ten Bets.  It also allows me to expand the Ten Bets to include more than ten films predicted for Telluride in 2016.

Last week's Ten Bets (which I updated on Monday before the TIFF announcement) looked like this:

10) The Unknown Girl
9) Arrival
8) Things to Come
7) American Honey
6) Moonlight
5) La La Land
4) The Salesman
3) Toni Erdmann
2) The Red Turtle
1) Fire at Sea

Close: Lion, Aquarius, Denial, A Monster Calls, 20th Century Women, Paterson, Dog Eat Dog, Manchester by the Sea, Bleed for This, The Sense of an Ending.

Now, here's the latest Ten Bets for TFF #43:

13) Fire at Sea
12) Moonlight
11) The Red Turtle
10) Manchester by the Sea
9) Maudie
8) Frantz
7) Una
6) Neruda
5) Bleed for This
4) Arrival
3) Things to Come
2)  La La Land
1) Toni Erdmann

Close: Aquarius, Dog Eat Dog, The Sense of an Ending, The Unknown Girl.


I'm passing along a couple of posts from yesterday that broke down the information that we've gleaned over the past few days.  I have included the analysis from Variety's Kristopher Tapley and Greg Ellwood from

Tapley suggests a good deal of the same things you'll have read here.  Additionally, he writes that we might additionally see Cannes Palme d'Or winner I, Daniel Blake as well as The Unknown Girl.  He also suggests that Warner Brothers is likely to return to TFF with something from the slate of The Accountant, Live by Night or Sully.  I'd like that.

Here's Tapley's post:

Ellwood tells us that he believes the possibility of some "sneaks" may be back in play for Telluride and suggests that the premiere designation status, after having been a very clear indicator for the past three years, might not be as clear cut this time around.

The first exception he mentions is for Garth O'Connor's Lion form The Weinstein Company. Jim Sheridan's The Secret Scripture, Ewan McGregor's American Pastoral and Paul Verhoeven's Elle.  He also questions both Telluride passes of Herzog's Salt and Fire and Farhadi's The Salesman.

I'd happily endorse any and all of these "exceptions" but my feeling is that the "honest" premiere status designation is probably still strongly in play.

Read Ellwood's story here:


I mentioned in yesterday's post that Pablo Larrain's Jackie, which was announced for Venice, could be a TFF possibility that would mean that Larrain was presenting two films at the same fest.  You have to be a bit dubious about the chances as it is a very rare case over Telluride's history when a film maker has done that.  Not impossible, but extremely rare.  I think Werner Herzog has done it.  Maybe David Lynch.

SO it could happen...

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere suggested yesterday that he thought it could/would happen:

Wells wasn't the only one thinking it could happen as the theory was bandied about on the interweb yesterday.  We'll see.  I'm hoping that it DOES make the trip between T-ride and Venice.


A second trailer for Ron Howard's Beatles documentary, Eight Days a Week, dropped yesterday and though I have discounted the chance that it could play in the San Juans in September.  But...

The timing works.  The film is to be released on Sept. 15.  The Playlist, reporting on the trailer release yesterday suggested that in might play "a couple of fall festivals before then".  That only includes Telluride, Venice and Toronto.  Venice seems to be out since the doc wasn't announced yesterday.  So...

TFF has had a Beatles-esque presence at past fests with the refurbished Help in 2007 and the George Harrison doc Living in the Material World in 2011.

Hulu...the T.V. distributing and I'm not sure what that means but I do think that Netflix opened the door to that kind of distrib being a part of the fest last year and Amazon looks to be joining that group this year so why not Hulu too?

So...bring it on along with former Beatle and one of the producers of the film, Sir Paul McCartney.

Here's the new trailer via YouTube:

And here's coverage of the trailer release:

That will do it for this crazy, crazy week.  Come back Monday.

Contact MTFB at:

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Venice Announces / New York Centerpiece Revealed / Considering The Accountant

Good Thursday folks...


The Venice Film Fest announced its major lineup films early, early this morning...

“The Bad Batch,” Ana Lily Amirpour (U.S.)
“Une Vie,” Stephan Brizé (France, Belgium)
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle (U.S.)
“The Light Between Oceans,” Derek Cianfrance (U.S., Australia, New Zealand)
“El ciudadano ilustre,” Mariano Cohn, Gaston Duprat (Argentina, Spain)
“Spira Mirabilis,” Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti (Italy, Switzerland)
“The Woman Who Left,” Lav Diaz (Philippines)
“La region salvaje,” Amat Escalante (Mexico)
“Nocturnal Animals,” Tom Ford (U.S.)
“Piuma,” Roan Johnson (Italy)
“Paradise,” Andrei Konchalovsky (Russia, Germany)
“Brimstone,” Martin Koolhoven (Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, U.K. Sweden)
“On the Milky Road,” Emir Kusturica (Serbia, U.K., U.S.)
“Jackie,” Pablo Larrain (U.S., Chile)
“Voyage of Time,” Terrence Malik (U.S., Germany)
“El Cristo ciego,” Christopher Murray (Chile, France)
“Frantz,” Francois Ozon (France)
“Questi Giorni,” Giuseppe Piccioni (Italy)
“Arrival,” Denis Villenueve (U.S.)
“The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez,” Wim Wenders (France, Germany)

Special Event
“The Young Pope” (episodes 1, 2), Paolo Sorrentino (Italy, France, Spain, U.S.)

“The Bleeder,” Philippe Falardeau (U.S., Canada)
“The Magnificent Seven,” Antoine Fuqua (U.S.)
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson  (U.S.)
“The Journey,” Nick Hamm (U.K.)
“A jamais,” Benoit Jacquot (France, Portugal)
“Gantz:O,” Yasushi Kawamura (Japan)
“The Age of Shadows,” Kim Jee woon (South Korea)
“Monte,” Amir Naderi (Italy, U.S., France)
“Tommaso,” Kim Rossi Stewart (Italy)

“Our War,” Bruno Chiaravallotti, Claudio Jampaglia, Benedetta Argentieri (Italy, U.S.)
“I Called Him Morgan,” Kasper Collin (Sweden, U.S.)
“One More Time with Feeling,” Andrew Dominik  (U.K.)
“Austerlitz,” Sergei Loznitsa (Germany)
“Assalto al cielo,” Francesco Munzi (Italy)
“Safari,” Ulrich Seidl (Austria, Denmark)
“American Anarchist,” Charlie Siskel  (U.S.)

“Tarde para la ira,” Raul Arevalo (Spain)
“King of the Belgians,” Peter Brosens, Jessica Woolworth (Belgium, Netherlands, Bulgaria)
“Through the Wall,” Rama Burshtein (Israel)
“Liberami,” Federica Di Giacomo (Italy, France)
“Big Big World,” Reha Erdem (Turkey)
“Gukuroku,” Ishikawa Kei (Japan)
“Maudit Poutine,” Karl Lemieux, (Canada)
“Sao Jorge,” Marco Martins (Portugal, France)
“Dawson City: Frozen Time,” Bill Morrison (U.S., France)
“Reparer les vivants,” Katell Quillevere (France, Belgium)
“White Sun,” Deepak Rauniyar (Nepal, U.S., Qatar, Netherlands)
“Malaria,” Parviz Shahbazi (Iran)
“Kekszakallu,” Gaston Solnicky (Argentina)
“Home,” Fien Troch (Belgium)
“Die Einsiedler,” Fien Troch (Germany, Austria)
“Il più grande sogno,” (Italy)
“Boys in the Trees,” Nicholas Verso (Australia)
“Bitter Money,” Wang Bing (China)

Special Out-Of-Competition Screening
“Dark Night,” Tim Sutton (U.S.)
“Planetarium,” Rebecca Zlotowski (France, Belgium)


 “Inseparables,” Marcos Carnevale (Argentina)
“Franca: Chaos and Creation,” Francesco Carrozzini (Italy, U.S.)
“In Dubious Battle,” James Franco (U.S.)
“The Net,” Kim Ki-duk (South Korea)
“Summertime,” Gabriele Muccino (Italy)
“The Secret Life of Pets,” Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney (U.S.)
“Robinu,” Michele Santoro (Italy)
“My Art,” Laurie Simmons (U.S.)

Of course we already believe after Toronto's Tuesday announcement that La La Land, Arrival and Frantz are probably bound for Telluride.

Among the other films announced for Venice this morning we might keep our eyes open for:

Pablo Larrain's Jackie (perhaps Larrain double dips as we believe Neruda is already set for Telluride)
Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time
Ulrich Seidel's Safari
Wim Wenders The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez

Of course, there could be others.  Scheduling of the Venice films could also give us clues.

Here's immense coverage of the Venice lineup:


Taking advantage of the day long separation between the first announcement of Toronto films and Venice's announcement this morning, the New York Film Festival revealed yesterday that its centerpiece film will be Mike Mills' 20th Century Women.  The film from A24 is billed as a World Premiere which should mean that there is no Telluride screening planned for the film.

I had been following it as a film that had a real shot at playing T-ride but that possibility now goes by the wayside.

The film will screen in New York on Oct. 8.  It is expected to open domestically in December.

Here's a sample of the coverage of the NYFF announcement from yesterday:


NYFF has still to name a closing night film as well as the rest of its slate.  It will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 16.


It doesn't really seem like a film that you'd think of immediately as playing Telluride but The Accounatant from director Gavin O'Connor and starring Ben Affleck might be a surprise.  It's from Warner Brothers, which, as I have detailed here, has had a fairly robust presence at Telluride since Affleck's Oscar winner Argo.

I'll admit, it's not a big possibility but...

Here's the new trailer from YouTube:

Here's coverage for the new trailer:

The Accountant is set to open in the U.S. on Oct. 14.

More to come tomorrow including a new Ten Bets list that will almost certainly include some bonus picks.

Contact MTFB at:

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Day Between / More on Yesterday's Toronto Announcement / Looks at Some of the Films That Will Bridge Telluride and Toronto

Good Wednesday Everyone...twas a busy day at the MTFB yesterday...


TIFF 2016 announced 68 titles yesterday which I talked about at some length in a second post for Tuesday.  If you missed yesterday's first take on Toronto's news and how it related to TFF #43 look here:

Now. on this Wednesday, we're in the Dead Zone between the TIFF announcement and tomorrow's upcoming Venice Film Fest announcement which should also tell us a little bit more about T-ride. Venice's news won't be quite as informative because we're talking about a smaller number of films. It still will probably give us a bit more insight.

The Venetian announcement will probably happen before I am awake.  My plan is to get that analysis into tomorrow's post.


I'm feeling confident about the ten films that the TIFF announcement yesterday suggest are Telluride bound.  All Canadian premieres.  I even feel good about including in that number Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea despite its having premiered at Sundance.

Those ten again are:

Bleed for This
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Things to Come
Toni Erdmann

I have included additional coverage and analysis that also provided some Tellurdie commentary here:

Of the ten films we think we had confirmed yesterday, four were on the last Ten Bets list:\

Toni Erdmann (#3)
La La Land (#5)
Things to Come (#8)
Arrival (#9)

Manchester by the Sea and Bleed for This were included in the latest "close" categorization and Neruda and Una had both been mentioned as possibilities along the way this summer.

Surprise films that loom to be headed to Telluride that were not on my radar: Frantz and Maudie.

Films that were in the Ten Bets that will NOT play Telluride: American Honey and The Salesman.

Ten Bets films that were not affected by TIFF's announcement yesterday...meaning that they could still make the Telluride lineup:  Fire at Sea, The Red Turtle, Moonlight and The Unknown Girl.

"Close" films that could still make Telluride: Aquarius, 20th Century Women, Dog Eat Dog and The Sense of an Ending.

"Close" films that will NOT play Telluride:  Lion, Paterson, Denial and A Monster Calls.

Accuracy of the original Ten Bets list that I posted on June 24th- exactly one right-Toni Erdmann.  La La Land and Things to Come were listed as "Close" and the original Ten Bets list had five films about which the jury is still out.

The first Ten Bets also incorrectly predicted Lion, Loving, American Honey and The Salesman.


Every time I think I'm pretty good at this, reality reminds me...maybe not so much.

Friday's edition of Ten Bets will be expanded to include what we have learned from TIFF and Venice. I'll include somewhere between 15 and 20 films.


Thanks to the stills released for films announced as Galas and Special Presentations for Toronto yesterday we have some looks at films that we believe will play Telluride that we might not seen before.


Bleed for This


La La Land

Manchester by the Sea



Things to Come

Toni Erdmann


More tomorrow...

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OR check out Michael's Telluride Film Blog on Facebook:

Or leave a comment...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Toronto Announcement Examined


The Toronto International Film Festival announced a total of 68 films this morning.  By examining their announced premiere status one can make a pretty educated guess as to the films from that list of 68 that are likely to make the TFF #43 lineup.  It's not always 100% accurate.  I have seen a film or two listed as a TIFF World Premiere that went on to play Telluride the weekend before Toronto but since the advent of "honest premiere" status that is very rare.

Onto the news from this morning.  Based on their status as "Canadian Premieres" we can probably expect to see the following at Telluride:

Bleed for This
La La Land
Things to Come
Toni Erdmann

Manchester by the Sea is also listed as a Canadian Premiere but that would have been true at any rate as it was a Sundance film.  I still think it's a pretty likely owing to things I have read (Wells) and heard.  The CP designation may signal that it might play at Venice in some capacity.

Birth of a Nation is listed as an International Premiere which (as Wells said yesterday) indicates no Telluride play.

One other International Preem is Brotherhood which will have premiered in the UK prior to playing not a T-ride player.

All other films announced this morning were labeled World or North American Premieres which indicates that they will NOT play Telluride and, as it is every year, there were some surprises including:

American Honey
The Salesman
Salt and Fire.

All films I had thought had superior chances of playing TFF #43.

Also, as I have thought for most of the summer, Elle will not play Telluride.

Films that I had hoped to play Telluride that are off the blocks are:

American Pastoral
Nocturnal Animals
A Monster Calls
The Secret Scripture

People that could be showing up with their films in Telluride:

Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhardt, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn

Still unannounced after this morning:

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
20th Century Women
Rules Don't Apply
War Machine
Miss Sloane
Live by Night
The Accountant
Hidden Figures
The Founder
The Girl on the Train
The Mercy
The Lost City of Z
Wild Oats

I'm probably leaving some out.

Here's the official press release from Toronto with descriptions and premiere statuses:


Pre-Torotno Announcement Guesses from Experts / Detective Work Reveals Animation Short for TFF #43 / Film Test Screening

Good Tuesday everyone.  I'll have dual posts today.  This one and another a bit later in which I will attempt to parse out what information I can from the first wave of film announcements for Galas and Special Presentations for the Toronto International Film Festival.  That will be livestreamed at 10:00am EDT here:

Meanwhile, here's the early edition of MTFB for Tuesday, July 26, 2016...


I have included links to posts/articles that have made some picks about what might be announced for TIFF later today:

The Guardian:

The Globe and Mail:

Jeff Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere's Telluride "Spitball" with a good deal of Toronto news in it:

TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey has tweeted that we can expect 60+ Galas and Special Presentations to be announced so we should have a good deal of info to sift through later today.


Scene from animated short Plein ete via Miyu Productions

Every year something like this happens.  I follow threads, Twitter, Facebook, Google Search, Google News, Google Alerts...what have you.  Most of the time they're dead ends, but every now and then I do turn up some useful information.  It happened over the weekend as I followed a brief tweet in french no less that led me to this:

Plein ete or High Summer appears to be playing TFF #43.  The director is Josselin Fraco.  So count this as another film that will be playing Labor Day weekend.


Additional screening news came yesterday as we learned that Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea is still test screening.  I'm all be certain that it is likely set for a Telluride play but it also makes me wonder about the possibility of both Ben Affleck's Live by Night and Theodore Melfi's Hidden Figures which we know have also been testing within the last week or so.

Of particular interest to me is Live by Night primarily because it's Ben Affleck doing Dennis Lehane (Mystic River and Affleck's Gone Baby Gone) and Warner Brothers.  WB has been playing in Telluride since Affleck's Argo four years ago.  They had Prisoners and Gravity in T-ride in 2013, skipped 2014 but were back last year with Black Mass.

I could actually imagine the Affleck brothers in town together (Casey stars in Manchester by the Sea) and throw in Matt Damon too as he's a producer on Manchester.  Suddenly we have Good Telluride Hunting.

WB could also strive to bring The Accountant, the other Ben Affleck starring film it has in its basket. It's slated for Oct. 14th but isn't really a high Telluride possibility.

The Accountant is directed by Gavin O'Conner.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Torotno and Venice-What to Expect This Week / Rumors of Rumors, Wells' New Take and a Modified Ten Bets List / The Usual Suspects / Meyer Reports on the Summer

Welcome back from the weekend...sorry to say, that means this is Monday...


Two major film festivals that make their plays in the same time frame as Telluride will begin making announcements this week about the films that will make up their lineups.

The Toronto International Film Festival begins a series of weekly announcements tomorrow with its first wave of Galas and Special Presentations.  They'll continue with weekly announcements every Tuesday thereafter for a month.  The Venice Film Festival will announce the bulk of their lineups for various sections on Thursday.  However, Venice has been known to add a few films after their main reveal and that could certainly happen again this year.

If they continue to follow the protocol of the past couple of years, both Toronto and Venice will include, as a part of those announcements, the premiere status of every film they introduce.  Film detectives can then use the revelation of those statuses as a way to deduce, with a fair degree of certainty, whether or not a film will make a play at Telluride.

Up until these fests began doing that (and requiring distributors and film makers to reveal whether their film was playing at Telluride) the business of making Telluride predictions was till completely guesswork.  Now, any outlet can make the same deductions as I will and MANY OF THEM WILL.

The key words to look for this week will be:

World Premiere
International Premiere
North American (or European) premiere
Canadian Premiere

You also have to keep in mind other fests that have already occurred this year and what films played there: Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Karlovy Vary, Tribeca are all fests that likely have screened some of the films that will be revealed tomorrow or over the next few months.  Combine all these factors and you can get an idea what films will probably play Telluride.

For example, last year, TIFF announced in their initial lineup announcement that Room, Son of Saul, Anomalisa and Black Mass would all be "Canadian" premieres which allowed anyone who knew that status and the fact that those films hadn't played at any other festival earlier to deduce that they'd almost have to be playing T-ride...which, of course, they did.

Applied to this year, as another example,  if we see that Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply is a Toronto World Premiere or North American Premiere we will know that it is not playing The SHOW.

Also, keep in mind that as Toronto announces tomorrow, that they will also be aware of films that will be announced for Venice on Thursday.  Additionally, Venice's announcements are important because some films will play Telluride first and then Venice rather than the other way around. Anomalisa, Taj Mahal and Heart of a Dog did that last year.  In 2014, no film opened at Telluride first and then went to Venice (there were four).  In 2013, Palo Alto, Under the Skin and The Unknown Known played T-ride first.

Finally, I can tell you that the last ten years tell us that Telluride and Toronto, on average, will ultimately share 17.5 films after TIFF makes all their reveals.  Over that span, the overlap has varied from a low of 12 in 2008 to a high of 22 in 2011.

Venice and Telluride have an average share of 3.7 films over that same ten year span.  However, recent years (2012-2015) have averaged six films overlapping.   2008 was also the low year for the Venice/Telluride connection with no films making the trans-Atlantic jump.  The two fests shared a high of eight films with each other in both 2013 and 2015.

So...that's the nuts and bolts, friends.  Toronto announces live tomorrow morning at 10am EDT.  You can watch that announcement live at this link:

Venice announces Thursday.


You can tell that the fur is about to fly regarding the news to come out of Venice and Toronto this week as there is a good deal of buzz about what films could go where.  Over the weekend, I heard, saw, read or was contacted about three films that various sources are suggesting could be Telluride players.  Two of them are films that have been in posts as possible T-ride players but have never risen to the level of confidence enough to make any Ten Bets list (though one of them has been on the "close" list a time or two) The other, I have been dismissing as being a Sundance film and, as a result, unlikely to be a Telluride choice and it IS NOT Birth of a Nation.  I have added all three to last Friday's films that are "close" to making the Ten Bets list.  That's below.

Meanwhile, late last night Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere posted his thoughts about the emerging Telluride picture.  Wells writes that Birth of a Nation is out but that Manchester by the Sea is likely going to play Telluride.  He also says that Nocturnal Animals and Loving are both not going to play the SHOW and reiterates his already stated belief that Personal Shopper is off the T-ride list. He also rules out Silence, Rules Don't Apply and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

In addition to the above mentioned Manchester by the Sea Wells says Telluride is a landing spot for La La Land, Neruda and Arrival.  He suspects that The Salesman, Graduation and American Honey are probable as is Toni Erdmann.

You can see Wells' post in its entirety here:

One other interesting note.  None of the films Wells suggests are probable for Telluride would be screening there initially.  I have to believe that, as in past years, we'll almost certainly have some films that will be screening for the first time in public in a non-testing fashion.

By the way, both Hidden Figures and Ben Affleck's Live by Night have been test screening recently. Chew on that for a moment.

This week's Ten Bets has been modified for today's post with a revised "close" list.

10) The Unknown Girl
9) Arrival
8) Things to Come
7) American Honey
6) Moonlight
5) La La Land
4) The Salesman
3) Toni Erdmann
2) The Red Turtle
1) Fire at Sea

Close: Lion, Aquarius, Denial, A Monster Calls, 20th Century Women, Paterson, Dog Eat Dog, Manchester by the Sea, Bleed for This, The Sense of an Ending.


Every year I take a look at a list of humans that have had or continue to have a relationship with the Telluride Film Festival.  The list I keep has about 50 people on it and is loaded with directors mostly. There are a few actors sprinkled in there but my experience is that, if you're trying to figure out Telluride. your best plan is to look at distributors, directors and what plays at Cannes.

So, here's this year's assessment of The Usual Suspects that have projects that could conceivably make the Telluride's not all 50...

Pedro Almodovar-Julieta.  Has so much going for it.  SPC distributing, played at Cannes,  Almodovar is a past recipient of a tribute...but...Almodovar hasn't had a film play Telluride since 2006.  Chances: 40%

Andrea Arnold-American Honey.  Played Cannes.  A24 is ditrib.  Well regarded critically.  Chances 50%

Olivier Assayas-Personal Shopper.  Played Cannes, IFC Films is distrib. but split reviews at Cannes and Jeff Wells report that T-ride directors didn't care for the film make it unlikely.

Gael Garcia Bernal-Salt and Fire and Neruda.  The actor has two projects that could make the lineup. Werner Herzog's Salt and Fire and Pablo Larrain's Neruda.  Salt and Fire is probably a 50% chance and Neruda is a 40% chance.

Ken Burns-Defying the Nazis: The Sharp's War.  The PBS documentary is set to air on Sept. 9.  It wouldn't stun me if it screened.  Chances 60%.

The Dardenne Brothers-The Unknown Girl- The Dardennes are Telluride darlings but muted reaction to this film in Cannes has me scratching my head about its TFF #43 chances. Recent word that the brothers had cut seven minutes from the film didn't help my process.  I can't decide if that makes it more or less likely.  Still, it is the Dardennes, so I have chosen continue to include it in my Ten Bets. Chances-60%.

Francis Ford Coppola-Distant Vision.  Coppola was an early and often participant in Telluride and then stopped attending for many years.  Lately, however, he has come back.  His latest project is an experiment with what he calls "live cinema" and that he workshopped originally in my home state at Oklahoma City Community College.  He just recently produced another experiment with it at UCLA. I think it's possible that some version of it makes its way to Telluride.  Chances 50%. 

Werener Herzog- Salt and Fire is a narrative feature and stars the above-mentioned Gael Garcia Bernal and Michael Shannon.  In the past, I would have thought that a Herzog film was a slam dunk 100% easy "play" prediction but after last year's Herzog absence, I'm not quite as certain.  I'd love to get Michael Shannon into town.  Chances-50%

Laura Linney-Sully and Nocturnal Animals.  The actress and part time Telluride resident (and past TFF tirbute recipient) often has work make the fest: Hyde Park on Hudson, The Savages, Jindabayne. Sully could play, it opens Sept. 9 but I kind of doubt it.  Nocturnal Animals is more likely (after a Venice premiere).  Of course, you never know...maybe she'll be a double dip.  Chances-Sully 20%, Nocturnal Animals-35%

Mira Nair-The Queen of Katwe.  Nair has had some history with the fest but "Queen" is coming from Disney which has had a very limited relationship with the fest.  Chances-10%.

Alexander Payne-Wilson.  At one point Payne was going to direct the film but ended up producing. The film's distrib is Fox Searchlight.  I've consequently had it on my Ten Bets list most of the summer...but...recent rumblings suggest that it's not the lock I had expected.  Chances-10%.

Bill Pohlad-A Monster Calls.  Pohlad is a long time Tellruide friend and also a producer and director. His T-ride footprint has included 12 Years a Slave, Wild, Into the Wild.  He's a producer on A Monster Calls from distrib A24.  We could see it.  Chances-50%.

Lone Scherfig-We Happy Few.  The director hasn't played T-ride since 2009's An Education and this film may be the one I know the least about on the entire list. probably comes out of nowhere to make The SHOW.  Chances-20%.

Paul Schrader-Dog Eat Dog.  Schrader's film was reasonably well received in Cannes.  I actually think it has adecent shot at the lineup.  Chances- 55%.

Martin Scorsese-Bleed for This, Silence.  Scorsese's connection to the festival in recent years has been as a producer with docs: The 50 Year Argument, Living in the Material World, A Letter to Elia. There's good reason to believe that his producing credit will show up on a screen in Telluride for a feature  with Bleed for This.  Silence is another matter entirely.  I expect that if it plays a festival it'll be New York as either its centerpiece or closing night film.  Chances-Bleed for This 60%, Silence-10%

Bertrand Tavernier-A Journey Through French Cinema.  A documentary from frequent T-ride guest about French film.  Sounds like it's right down T-ride's alley.  It also played at Cannes and is under the wing of the Cohen Media Group which has been well repped at T-ride the last couple of years. This should maybe be on the Ten Bets list.  Chances-70%.

Wim Wenders-The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez.  Wenders has been a T-ride fixture in recent years and the fact that this film is generally thought to be "in" for Venice makes me think it's a good pick for Labor Day.  Chances-55%.

That's this year's look at The Usual Suspects.


Gary Meyer, who is a former co-director of the Telluride Film Festival and now runs the website, not surprisingly spent some of his summer thus far watching and occasionally offering mini-reviews of largely independent film at that website.

Thought you might like to take a look at some of what he's been up to here:

Gary looks at Life Animated, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Sing Street and many others in two separate articles that you can find there.

That's all for now.  With tomorrow's Toronto First Wave, there will probably be more than one post. Stay tuned...

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Friday, July 22, 2016

TFF #43 Ten Bets #5 / Rules Festing? / Mining for Gold and Weinstein Woes / Venetian Rumors

Good Friday to everyone...

Let's start off with this week's Ten Bets update and the last one we'll have prior to next Tuesday's first wave of films announced for the Toronto International Film Festival and Thursday's Venice Film Fest announcement.


Last week's Ten Bets:

10) The Unknown Girl
9) Things to Come
8) Wilson
7) La La Land
6) American Honey
5) Moonlight
4) The Red Turtle
3) Toni Erdmann
2) Fire at Sea
1) The Salesman

This week's Ten Bets:

10) The Unknown Girl
9) Arrival
8) Things to Come
7) American Honey
6) Moonlight
5) La La Land
4) The Salesman
3) Toni Erdmann
2) The Red Turtle
1) Fire at Sea

Close: Lion, Aquarius, Denial, A Monster Calls, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Paterson, Dog Eat Dog, The Sense of an Ending.

A couple of notes:  as of this writing (7:00 am on Fri. 7/22) I am really back and forth about the Dardenne Brothers The Unknown Girl.  I am continuing to include it in the Ten Bets because of the frequency that the brothers have had films make the T-ride lineup but I honestly wouldn't be stunned if it is announced Tuesday for TIFF as a North American premiere.

I have The Weinstein's Lion just under the Ten Bets again this week although the turmoil and rumors surrounding TWC have me wondering if any TWC film will play Telluride this year.  The lack of a TWC title would be incredibly odd as they've played at least one film in the Telluride lineup every year that I've attended.  Still, of the four films that are possible ( Lion, The Founder, Gold, HHhH), none of them seems to be making a ton of pre-fest noise.  Meanwhile, rumors of financial difficulties also are dogging TWC right now which further muddies the picture and may explain some of the release date shifting that has occurred.  See below...


Remember yesterday's post that included the analysis of The Guardian's 40 Films...Predict...Fests" article?   You might have noticed that Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply was included among The Guardian's "Dead Cert(ain)" list.  I suggested that its inclusion was intriguing because of Beatty's reported reluctance to play the film at Festivals.

Then, later in the day yesterday, a post popped up on Indiewire from Anne Thompson assessing the film's Oscar potential.  In it Thompson makes two references to the film making a play at fall film fests.  First writing that the film is

"...the film is ready to be unveiled at film festivals this fall"

And then late in the article Anne writes:

"Whether Rules Don't Apply (November 23) delivers both commercially and  artistically will be revealed at the fall festivals."

You might say..."well, Mikey...maybe it just plays New York."  And I'd say, that makes a lot of sense, but Thompson pretty clearly uses the plural "festivals" twice.

One other tidbit, Thompson compares the film in some respects to four films, two of which are The Artist and Birdman.  Both films played Telluride and won the Oscar for Best Picture.

I have to wonder if Thompson and The Guardian know more than we do...

Let's keep our eyes and ears open, shall we?

Hers' the link to the entire Thompson post:


Matthew McConnaughey and Edgar Ramirez in Gold

TWC-Dimension announced a release date for Stephen Gaghan's Gold starring Matthew McConnaughey.  The film will be opening on Dec. 25 making it eligible for Oscar consideration. TWC earlier this week moved its Michael Keaton starring The Founder off its August date and into December as well with a limited release on 12/16 and a wider rollout on Jan. 20.  They also moved Tulip Fever starring Alicia Vikander to 2017.  That film has been booted around a good deal as well.

As of this morning TWC has these four films in the chute for between now and the end of the year:

Lion (11/25)
Gold (12/15)
The Founder (12/16 and 1/20/17)
HHhH (Undetermined 2016 date)

It's all a dance amid speculation that The Weinstein Company is having some money trouble.

Check out this story and interview with Harvey Weinstein from The Hollywood Reporter:

Additionally, here is coverage of the announcement for Gold's release:


Indiewire reported yesterday that Denis Villenueve's Arrival and Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals are likely to be named as films to play the Venice Film Fest next week.  They would join Damien Chazelle's La La Land which has already been announced as the opener.

All three films could conceivably make the leap between Venice and Telluride.

Here's the Indiewire story:

That's it for this week.  Monday's post will include news about a likely animation title for TFF #43 and our annual look at TFF's "Usual Suspects" and who among them might be returning with projects for this year's SHOW.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Guardian Predicts / The Euro Producers; The French-Cinecinema/Cine+ / Fences Swings for the Fences

Good Thursday World!


Britain's The Guardian posted a "40 Films We Predict Will Premiere at Venice, Toronto or Telluride" story yesterday.  The predix offer some surprises.  Breaking it down: the article bresks the 40 films into three categories-Dead Certs, Quite Likely and If It's Ready.

The piece names Telluride as a specific possibility for two films that we already know will play somewhere before the BFI/London Fest owing to their status their as European premieres: A United Kingdom and The Queen of Katwe.  United Kingdom seems to me to be the more likely T-ride player of the two.  Venice is listed as a specific designated fest probability for Planetarium while Toronto is listed for A United Kingdom, The Queen of Katwe, The Girl on the Train, Free Fire and The Seagull.

Among their "Dead Certs" the best Telluride potentials look like: Denial (from Bleeker Street which partnered with Netflix last year on Beats of No Nation), One or the other of TWC's The Founder or Lion and Arrival.  Outside T-ride shots in this category: The Secret Scripture, The Mercy and the Malick double play of Weightless and The Voyage of Time.

Interestingly, The Guardian lists Warren Beatty's Rules Don;t Apply in the Dead Cert category which is very intriguing,

In the Quite Likely category you'll fins Telluride possibilities such as HHhH and Gold (the other two Weinstein fall least for the moment), 20th Century Women, War Machine (from Netflix), Wilson and How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

Among the "If It's Ready" films I don't find anything that's A) likely to be ready and B) if it is, likely to be a Telluride bound...though I'd really like to put in a word for Miss Sloane.

It's worth noting that The Guardian sponsored TFF #42.

Check the complete article here:


CineCinema changed over to Cine+ within the last few years but it's all the same.  This production company has often been represented at Telluride over the last few years:

2005: Lemming, Live and Become
2006: The Page Turner, Indigenes
2007: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly
2008: With a Little Help from Myself
2009: Farewell, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet, Inferno
2010: The Illusionist, The Princess of Montpensier, Of Gods and Men
2011: Goodbye First Love, The Kid with a Bike, Le Havre, The Artist
2012: Rust and Bone, Superstar, The Attack, Amour
2013: The Past, Blue is the Warmest Color, Le Maison de la Radio
2014: The Gate. The Price of Fame, Two Days One Night, Diplomacy
2015: Marguerite

The best opportunities for Cine+ to play Telluride this year is Slack Bay.  After that their slate doesn't look, at this point, to offer a lot of other possibilities.


Fences still from

We missed mentioning this acouple of days ago but Denzel Washington's adaptation of August Wilson's Fences has been dated for an awards season qualifying time frame.  Mutiple reports put the film which Washington both directs and stars in as being released in a limited fashion on Dec. 16 and then going wider on Dec. 25.  Fences is from Paramount which is loaded with titles for this awards season.  In addition to Fences they have Allied, Arrival and Silence.

Admittedly, Fences is an unlikely Telluride film...but you never know...

Coverage of the Fences date announcement:

That's it for Thursday.  Come back tomorrow for the latest Telluride Ten Bets.  It's the last one before announcements from Toronto and Venice.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Euro Producers: The French-France 3 Cinema / NYFF Opener is a Surprise / A Venice Tidbit

Welcome to Wednesday...



Here's the France 3 Cinema track record at Telluride for the past several years.  As you can see, they have been a fairly active presence.

2003: Dogville, The Tripletts of Belleville
2005: Lemming, Live and Become, Cache
2006: The Page Turner, Indigenes
2007: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, Persepolis
2008: I've Loved You So Long
2009: The White Ribbon
2010: The Illusionist, The Princess of Montpensier, Of Gods and Men
2011: The Artist
2012: Superstar, Amour
2013: The Past
2014: The Gate, The Price of Fame, Mr. Turner
2015: Marguerite

France 3's best shot at TFF #43 is the animated Ma Vie de Courgette (My Life as a Zucchini).  It's actually a pretty reasonable shot after its successful debut at the Annecy Animation Film Festival.

Here's the poster for the film:

And its IMDb page:


It was all over the internet yesterday that the New York Film Festival had chosen Ava DuVernay's documentary The 13th to open that fest on Sept. 30.  Reports list it as the film's world premiere which means a couple of things for readers of this space,  First, we know that it won't be playing Telluride-it's "world" premiere status tells us that.  Second, it might open the door to Telluride for some other major films that could have conceiveably played that opening night slot for NYFF.

The film focuses on the discriminatory nature of the American justice system.

Last year's opener was Robert Zemeckis' The Walk.

Linked here are stories about the NYFF opener:


As I mentioned yesterday, the announcement for the lineup for Venice's Film Fest is two weeks from tomorrow.  We may have learned a bit more via Twitter yesterday as a couple of tweets suggested that Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals (Focus Features) will world premiere there.

That follows news from a month ago that Damien Chazelle's La La Land will open the Venetian soiree.

The Venice shot for Nocturnal Animals does not preclude a play at Telluride as it has become fairly common for a number of films to play both fests.  Last year eight films played both: Oscar winner Spotlight, Beasts of No Nation, Anomalisa, Black Mass, Heart of a Dog, Marguerite, Winter on Fire and Taj Mahal.  In 2014 Oscar winner Birdman, 99 Homes, The Look of Silence and The Price of Fame played the same duet.

Nocturnal Animals is set to open in the U.S. on Dec. 9.

Tis all for this Wednesday.  More tomorrow...

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