Thursday, June 30, 2016

Distribution: Searching Fox Searchlight / A24 Sets Dates for American Honey, Moonlight and Picks Up Women / Seeing the First Trailer for Bleed for This

Howdy folks and welcome to Thursday at MTFB


Continuing our look at film distribution companies who have had notable profiles at the Telluride Film Festival over the past decade or so, today we take a look at the outfit that has been the fourth most consistent player in that time frame: Fox Searchlight.

Since 2004, the film company has been represented at Telluride each year but two: 2009 and 2012. In that time FS has averaged 1.4 films per year.  Fox Search has also had Best Picture Oscar winners at Telluride in Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave and Birdman.  So you have to believe that if Fox Searchlight thinks its git a film that can play, they'll pursue a slot at T-ride.

Here's what we have seen from them at Telluride over the past 12 years:

2004: Kinsey
2005: Bee Season
2006: The Last King of Scotland, The Namesake
2007: Juno, The Savages
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: ZIP
2010: Never Let Me Go, 127 Hours, Black Swan, Millions
2011: Shame, The Descendants
2012: ZIP
2013: 12 Years a Slave
2014: Birdman, Wild
2015: He Named Me Malala

So what's in the Fox Searchlight larder as I write?  According to the latest IMDb entries here's what FS has in play as we move into the fall:

Birth of a Nation

That's it.  Two films.

If you look back to last Friday's Ten Bets list you'll see that I have Craig Johnson's Wilson ranked at #1.  The reasons are clear.  In addition to being on Fox Searchlight's very short list in combination with their long Telluride history, the film also is being produced by Telluride regular and former Guest Director Alexander Payne.  Payne, at one point, was set to direct the film itself.

I'd be very surprised if Wilson is not at Telluride.

Then there's The Birth of a Nation.  Nate Parker took Sundance by storm winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award.  Fox Searchlight dropped a ton of dough (north of $17 million) for the rights to distribute the film.

As you know, normally that Sundance play would be enough to mean that I wouldn't even consider it as a Telluride possibility.  As I have written here any number of times, Telluride has made rare exceptions for Sundance films to their "North American premiere" rule.  Sembene! (2015), The An Education (2009) and The Savages (2007) are the rare examples of exceptions.

It's worth noting that The Savages was a Fox Searchlight film and was executive produced by...Alexander Payne.

Also, I have to say that I have been seeing/hearing some rumbles that this film could be one of those exceptions.  Scott Feinberg suggested a Telluride play might be in the works back in April ( and since there have been others who have suggested that it could happen.  It's been a hot enough rumor that I included Birth of a Nation in the "Close" list of films just below the Ten Bets last week.

So...odds for Telluride:

Wilson 90%
Birth of a Nation 50%


American Honey trailer via YouTube

Distributor A24 has announced release dates for two films that both made last week's Ten Best list. Andrea Arnold's American Honey has been set for Sept. 30th and Barry Jenkins Moonlight has been set for Oct. 21st.  Both openings will be limited on those dates and expansions then planned for both films.

American Honey was listed at #6 and Moonlight at #7 last Friday on MTFB's first Telluride Ten Bets list.  A new Ten Bets list will be posted tomorrow.

The release dates for both out them in positions to play Telluride, Venice and/or Toronto.  That date for American Honey indicates that it's off the table for the B+New York Film Fest.  Moonlight's date leaves it in play for NYFF.

Coverage of the announcement is here-including's speculation that American Honey "may be a part of the Telluride/Toronto film lineups":

Meanwhile, the news broke yesterday afternoon that A24 had nabbed the distribution for Mike Mills' 20th Century Women.  That's a film I've mentioned a couple of times and this acquisition makes the film somewhat more Telluride-probable.  Here's a number of links to coverage of the buy, many of which suggest a fall fest play but I couldn't find a mention of Telluride specifically.


Ben Younger's Bleed for This has been a blip on my TFF #43 radar this spring into summer.  I'm aware of it and it's from Open Road which brought last year's Oscar winner for Best Picture, Spotlight, to Telluride.  It may be Open Road's best shot to return to The SHOW as its other big player is Oliver Stone's Snowden which is possible for Telluride but my feel for it at this point is that it's maybe more likely for TIFF/NYFF/AFI.  Anyway...

A trailer for the film came down the pike yesterday.  Here it is via YouTube:

Not for nothing is it noted that one of the executive producers of the film is Martin Scorsese who has had a common presence in Telluride as a producer in recent years.  The film is also dated to open on November 4th.  Possible?

Here are a series of stories that accompanied the trailer's arrival yesterday:

That's Thursday's blog post.  Come back tomorrow for a new Ten Bets for TFF #43

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Distribution: The Weinstein Company (and Variations) / Dardennes Re-Tool Unknown Girl / Trailering It's Only the End of the World

Good Wednesday World...


Tracking the Weinsteins as distributors at Telluride for the past decade shows us that they've been a part of The SHOW for a good long while.  Here's their Telluride slate as Miramax or The Weinstein Company or Radius-TWC since 2006:

2006: Venus, Indigenes
2007: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, My Enemy's Enemy, I'm Not There
2008: Happy-Go-Lucky
2009: The Road
2010: The King's Speech
2011: The Artist, Butter
2012: The Sapphires  (also was represented during the Marion Cotillard tribute by James Gray and 5 min. of The Immigrant)
2013: The Unknown Known, Salinger, Tracks
2014: The Imitation Game", "Escobar: Paradise Lost"
2015: Carol

18 films over the past decade including Best Picture winners in 2010 and 2011.  With an average of 1.8 films and a presence every year at the fest, TWC and its ancillary companies are the third most prolific distributor and one of the most consistently represented at Telluride over the past decade.

Let's look at The Weinstein Company's playlist as it is listed today in IMDb:

Wild Oats

At this point, these look like the only films in the line at TWC that might have a shot at playing. Clearly the most probable is Garth Davis' Lion which is dated for a Nov. 25 release.  The other two films seem as if they don't have a big chance.  I wouldn't completely rule them out though.  Wild Oats stars Jessica Lange and Shirley McLaine and they're enough to make you wonder at least a little about the film.  

One other note...the dating for the release of John Lee Hancock's (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) The Founder starring Michael Keaton has me scratching my head.  It's set to come out a full month before T-ride/Toronto on Aug. 5th.  This is a film whose pedigree would (and did at one point) make me think that it would be both a T-ride possible and maybe a part of the Oscar convo.  That Aug. 5 date, though, takes it off the fall fest circuit and, for me anyway, sends up a red flare of concern.


Lion 60%
Wild Oats 30%
Ballerina 15%

 Tomorrow we look at Fox Searchlight.


Reports surfaced yesterday that the Dardennes Brothers have re-edited their Cannes entry The Unknown Girl.  The film is reported to have been shortened by seven minutes and had 32 separate cuts since its screening in May in France.

The film was received in a lukewarm fashion from critics when it debuted.  The Dardennes actions are said to have been in response to those concerns and further, they claim that some critics have seen the re-vamped version and say that it has improved.

If you read yesterday's post, you'll know that I still regard Unknown Girl as a real Telluride possibility.  Additionally, I had it on last week's initial Telluride Ten Bets list at #4.  This news, I think, strengthens the case that The Unknown Girl makes an appearance in the SHOW.

Coverage of the announced editing is here:


Trailer for Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World via YouTube

Prior to the Cannes Film Fest in May, I would have regarded Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World as a near dead certainty to make the TFF #43 lineup.  Dolan has been on fire here at the start of his career including success at Cannes and Venice and a Telluride slot in 2014.   Additionally, a cast that include Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassels seems T-ride friendly.

The critics chewed the film up after its premiere in France in May, however.  It had a dismal 4.46 average critic rating on the Urban composite (

After that the film took a huge nose dive in as far as I was concerned in terms of its SHOW profile. Then, at the end of  Cannes, it was named winner of the Grand Prix award.  That knocked me back a little and kept the film on my watch list.

The film still lacks a U.S. distributor and release date, though the release of its trailer yesterday reminded us that it is scheduled for release in Quebec on Sept. 21.

Here are stories covering the release of the trailer:

That concludes MTFB for Wednesday...come back for more tomorrow

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Distribution: Sundance Selects and IFC / Let the Sunshine In: Aquarius' First Trailer

Good Tuesday's the latest on TFF #43...


Yesterday I posted the first of this summer's pieces examining film distribution companies that have had serious presence at Telluride over the last decade or so.  As such, I began with Sony Pictures Classics which has had the biggest presence averaging around five films each year at the fest for the past 13 years.

With that as our introduction, it seems logical to me to continue our examination of distribs by generally taking them in the order of their general prevalence at the fest over the last dozen years or so which leads to today's combo pack of distribution organizations.  I pair Sundance Selects and IFC (Independent Film Channel) as they are partners.  They have collectively averaged around three films at Telluride each year which puts them in the second spot among distribs at T-ride.  So, let's look at their history at Telluride for these past several years:

Sundance Selects/IFC Films has been at Telluride recently as follows:

2003: Touching the Void, Intermission
2004: Nobody Knows
2005: Three Times
2006: Deep Water, Indigenes, Day Night Day Night
2007: Secret Sunshine, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, Jar City
2008: Hunger, Gomorrah, Flame and Citron, Everlasting Moments, The Good, the Bad and the Weird
2009: Fish Tank, Red Riding Trilogy, Life During Wartime, Vincere
2010: The Princess of Montpensier, Carlos, Tabloid
2011: Into the Abyss, Pina, The Forgiveness of Blood, The Kid with a Bike, Goodbye First Love
2012: Frances Ha, The Central Park Five, Everyday
2013: Blue is the Warmest Color
2014: Two Days, One Night, Seymour: An Introduction
2015: 45 Years

I, Daniel Blake trailer from YouTube

For 2016 consideration here is what IMDb reports for these distribution partners:

Sundance Selects:

Things to Come
The Unknown Girl
I, Daniel Blake
From the Land of the Moon

IFC Films

Personal Shopper

Analysis:  If you read yesterday's post, you already know that I'm under the impression that Personal Shopper is unlikely.  in as far as the Sundance Selects portion of the slates, I'm discounting From the Land of the Moon which was lambasted critically at Cannes and I know zippity-do-dah about Dancer ( probably gets in and turns out to be the hit of the fest...).  The other four films have a real chance at making the T-ride lineup.

Things to Come has been in my sights since a successful play in Berlin.  Mia Hansen Love has also been to Telluride with Goodbye First Love...on the Sundance/IFC list above.  You might have noticed that I had it listed as being "close" to the "Ten Bets" list last Friday.

Graduation.  Critically well regarded at Cannes and also directed by a previous Telluride participant Cristian Mungiu who was in the SHOW in 2007 with 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days which you also see above as a past Sundance/IFC film.

I, Daniel Blake won the Palme which is enough for me to give it a serious look.  And finally...

The Unknown Girl which had a critically subdued reaction at Cannes but its from frequent Telluride players The Dardennes brothers which always makes a film a real threat to make the lineup.

As to IFC's Personal Shopper, if you saw my bit yesterday about Jeff Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere "hints", you'll know that it seems that the Olivier Assasyas film is probably not coming to T-ride.

Chances for these Sundance four:

The Unknown Girl 70%
Things to Come 65%
Graduation 50%
I, Daniel Blake 50%

Tomorrow's distributor: The Weinstein Company.


Aquarius starring Sonia Braga made a solid impression at Cannes in May.  Though it wasn't a winner in terms of prizes (many thought Braga would win Best Actress), it was universally lauded critically with the Reini Urban collective critical response putting it as the #8 film overall from all sections combined with a solid 7.22 average rating.

The film stars Braga as a woman who is the last hold out against a company that has bought all of the property surrounding the apartment in which she lives.

According to The Film Stage, Netflix currently has the U.S. distribution rights for the film which probably bodes well for a Telluride play as Netflix had its first presence at T-ride last year with Beasts of No Nation and Winter on Fire.

I had Aquarius just outside of last week's initial "Ten Bets" list.

The film's first international trailer appeared yesterday in a story from The Film Stage.  You can view it and peruse the story here:

That's a wrap for Tuesday...more from MTFB tomorrow...

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Looking at Distribution: Sony Pictures Classics / Wells Gives Us Hints / Osiason Updates His Predictions

Good Monday All...


Each year at about this time I begin to break down three categories of film makers to look at the most probable of Telluride Film Fest lineup choices.  Those categories being Overseas Producers, The "Usual Suspects"...people with a very clear history with the fest and Distirbutors.

Today I begin the breakdown of distribution companies that have had films play at Telluride.  It's worth noting that not every film that makes the lineup each year has a distribution deal in place when it screens in Telluride but most do and by looking at a distribs past record and what they have in their stable, we can try to make some educated guesses about what films might make the trip to southwest Colorado over the Labor Day weekend.

So we begin by looking at Sony Pictures Classics.

SPC has historically been the largest distribution presence at Telluride for more than a decade and it's really not even close.  No other company has as long and consistent track record of having films selected for The SHOW program as Sony Pictures Classics.

Here's what SPC has shown in Telluride in the last 13 years:

2015: Son of Saul (1)
2014: Foxcatcher, Leviathan, Red Army, Mr. Turner, Wild Tales, Salt of the Earth and Merchants of Doubt (7)
2013: The Invisible Woman, The Lunchbox, The Past, Tim's Vermeer and Jodorowsky's Dune (5)
2012: The Gatekeepers, At Any Price, Rust and Bone, No, Wadjda, Amour (6)
2011: A Dangerous Method, In Darkness, Footnote, A Separation (4)
2010: Incendies, Of Gods and Men, Tamara Drewe, Another Year, The Illusionist, Inside Job (6)
2009: The Last Station, The White Ribbon, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet, An Education (5)
2008: Waltz with Bashir, I've Loved You So Long, O'Horten (3)
2007: Brick Lane, When Did You Last See Your Father, Persepolis, The Band's Visit, The Counterfeiters, Steep! (6)
2006: Jindabyne, The Lives of Others, Volver, The Italian (4)
2005: Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, Cache, The Child (4)
2004: Being Julia, House of Flying Daggers, Bad Education, Merchant of Venice, Up and Down, Yes (6)
2003: The Fog of War, My Life Without Me, The Triplets of Belleville, Young Adam (4)

It was truly weird to see SPC with only one film on the Telluride list last year.  It's just uncharacteristic for a company that has averaged around five films at TFF over the past decade-plus. I suspect that last year will prove to be an anomaly and that SPC will be back to Telluride with a larger set of films.  Perhaps not the five that they have averaged, however.

So, what does SPC have and will those films play at Telluride?

According to IMDb these are the films that SPC currently has in place for distribution that seem most likely:

The Red Turtle
Toni Erdmann
All four of these films played Cannes in May.

Any other SPC films scheduled for 2016 have already opened or played Sundance.

My expectations are very high on both The Red Turtle and Toni Erdmann.  I had them on last Friday's first Ten Bets list for this year at #8 and #3 respectively.

Both Elle and Julieta could make the TFF #43 lineup as well but I feel both are less likely. Alomdovar hasn't had a film play TFF since 2006's Volver and despite Elle's critical reception at Cannes, which was very good, I still can't bring myself to buy into a Paul Verhoeven film at T-ride. Maybe I'm just a snob.

As to Toni Erdmann and The Red Turtle...I feel relatively confident that their critical reception at Cannes  makes them likely .

Toni Erdmann trailer with English subs via YouTube

Chances for each:

Toni Erdmann-80%
The Red Turtle-80%
Elle- 50%

Tomorrow a look at Sundance Selects/IFC Films.


I was looking through some posts here and there over the weekend and ran across two recent entries from Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere that give serious insight to at least one potential Telluride selection and maybe two.

First, in a post from June 20 titled Open Letter to Personal Shopper Loyalists Wells reveals that he has been told that TFF's directors weren't that keen on the film.  Quoting now from the post:

"...two or three days ago Tom Luddy and Julie Huntsinger of the Telluride Film Festival were telling me how they didn't care for it (Personal Shopper)".

Taken at face value, it seems that we aren't probably going to see that film at the Labor Day soiree in Telluride.

The complete post is here:

Additionally, in a post from HE on June 24 titled I Wasn't Much, Now I Feel Differently Wells talks about Ewan McGregor's directing debut American Pastoral.  The film was featured here on MTFB last week when it released its first trailer.

Wells suggests that the film might be Telluride material at the end of his piece.  I hadn't even had it really on my radar until last week's look.  Now I'm thinking that it's a real possibility.  

The Wells mention, the fact that it's under the Lionsgate banner for distribution...which doesn't make it a lock but also doesn't rule it out...the fact that Kris Tapley (InContention/Variety) mentioned last week on Twitter that he's "Been hearing this was amazing since like March" and that it "Could be a real surprise later this season."  Finally, the film is slated to open on Oct. 21st which would certainly allow for plays at any of the big fall fests : Telluride, Venice, Toronto, New York.

As of this post, I'm warming to the notion that American Pastoral is a now a real candidate for Telluride inclusion.

American Pastoral trailer via YouTube

Wells speculation is here:


Tower poster from IMDb

Last week I posted Telluride predictions from film fan and expert prognosticator Jason Osiason. Since then Jason has added a couple of films to his "Likely" for Telluride list.  His original list looked like this:

20th Century Women
Bleed for This
Fire at Sea
Manchester-by-the -Sea
The Eagle Huntress
The Red Turtle
The Salesman
Things to Come
Toni Erdmann
How to Talk to Girls at Parties

He also lists as "possible":

Good Time
My Life as a Courgette (just won the top prize at the Annecy Fest)
Nocturnal Animals
The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
The Meyerowitz Stories
The Son of Joseph
The Mercy
Birth of a Nation
Girl on a Train

Since that post, Osiason has communicated that he also feels that Andrea Arnold's American Honey is likely as is Keith Maitland's Tower.

That's a wrap for this Monday.  Tune in again tomorrow as I take a look at what Sundance Selects and IFC have that could make a play at this year's SHOW.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Day Has Come; First "Ten Bets" for TFF#43 / Two Outside Shots with Trailers

Good Friday everyone...


A couple of notes...

First, this will be the sixth year of the "Ten Bets" and on average this first list will name approximately six films that will actually be on the TFF #43 lineup when it's announced on Sept. 1. The best initial Ten Bets was the first in 2011 which git eight titles correct.  The worst was actually last year;s when only four films on the very first list made the T-ride lineup.

Also, keep in mind that I'll have weekly updates and the prognostication success rate gets better the closer we get to the Festival.

Third, if you've been reading much of the blog since the Oscars ended, the first Ten Bets won't/shouldn't be much of a surprise.

And finally, as David Letterman used to be fond of saying, "No wagering."

Here's the Ten Bets from MTFB on the last Friday in June, 2016 (Director, Distributor and U.S. release date-if known-in parenthesis)

10) Lion (Davis, TWC, 11/25)
9) Loving (Nichols, Focus, 11/4)
8) The Red Turtle (Dudok de Wit, SPC, TBA)
7) Moonlight (Jenkins, A24, TBA)
6) American Honey (Arnold, A24, TBA)
5) Fire at Sea (Rosi, Kino Lorber, TBA)
4) The Unknown Girl (The Dardennes, Sundance/IFC, TBA)
3) Toni Erdmann (Ade, SPC, TBA)
2) The Salesman (Fahradi, Amazon/Cohen Media, TBA)
1) Wilson (Johnson, Fox Searchlight, TBA)

Close: Things to Come, Aquarius, Birth of a Nation, La La Land, A United Kingdom, Journey Through French Cinema and Salt and Fire.


We had appearances yesterday for trailers for two films that have a slim chance of making this year's SHOW.  You'll notice that neither is on the above "Ten Bets" list nor the additional films that I have labeled as "close".  Nevertheless, both films could find their way into the Telluride lineup.

Christian Puiu's Sieranevada, which was critically very well received at Cannes in May dropped a trailer with french subtitles.  You can see that here thanks to YouTube:

This is the story from The Film Stage that reported the trailer's release:

Also appearing yesterday was a trailer for Ewan McGregor's directing debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth's American Pastoral.

The film is set for an Oct. 21 limited release and is in the distribution hands of Lionsgate.  Here's its trailer from YouTube:

Here are some posts from that reported the trailer's release yesterday:

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Visit from The Queen of Spain? / United Kingdom-Another Possible Scenario

Good Thursday Film Peeps...


Penelope Cruz in The Queen of Spain (still via IndieWire)

Universal/Spain released a teaser for Fernando Trueba's The Queen of Spain (La Reina de Espana) yesterday which got me to thinking that perhaps we should be thinking about that film as an addition to this year's Telluride lineup.

It might make some sense.

Trueba was a co-director of 2010's Chico and Rita, which played Telluride and, of course, the film's star Penelope Cruz was feted by T-ride in 2006 as one of its tribute recipients (along with a play of Volver which earned her a Best Actress nomination)

We also know that the film is dated for a Spanish release date of Nov. 25th which means that it might/could/probably would be ready for a screening at Telluride.

Check the teaser in either of these stories from The Playlist or IndieWire:


After posting on Tuesday the story about A United Kingdom (dir: Amma Assante) being chosen as the Opening film for the BFI London Film Fest I did a bit more checking.  The story that I linked from The Hollywood Reporter said that the film's presence there will be its "European" premiere which I took as an indication that it would almost have to play Telluride/Toronto or both.

I wanted to see the "European" premiere label from some other sources (and it appears in many places) but as I was doing that research a couple of things struck me.

First,  the BFI/LFF will open Oct. 5.  That tidbit smacked me in the face yesterday as I did some further research to find that...

Second, the New York Film Festival opens on Sept. 30.

Soooo...that means that A United Kingdom's "Euro" premiere status isn't as solid a clue as I first thought.  It's NOT ruled out for Telluride by any means but it COULD play Toronto and then the NYFF the first week of that fest and open BFI/LFF and meet the "European" premiere description. Or it could do all three North American fests.T-ride, TIFF and NYFF and then play BFI.

I'll need to gather more data.

PS-A United Kingdom won't be on tomorrow's Ten Bets list.

That'll wrap it up for this Thursday.  Come back tomorrow for the first Ten Bets for Telluride list for 2016.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Osiason's Take on Possible Telluride Films / Trailer for American Honey Appears / Also a New Trailer for Birth of a Nation

Good Wednesday to all...


Jason Osiason is a friend of MTFB and has one of the best predictive minds in all of film twitterdom. He won last year's Gold Derby Oscar contest.  He's really good.

Recently, he put together a list of films that he feels have a real shot at playing Telluride and shared that with me.  With his permission, I thought I'd pass that list along.

Here's what he lists as "Likely" Telluride films:

20th Century Women
Bleed for This
Fire at Sea
Manchester-by-the -Sea
The Eagle Huntress
The Red Turtle
The Salesman
Things to Come
Toni Erdmann
How to Talk to Girls at Parties

He also lists as "possible":

Good Time
My Life as a Courgette (just won the top prize at the Annecy Fest)
Nocturnal Animals
The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
The Meyerowitz Stories
The Son of Joseph
The Mercy
Birth of a Nation
Girl on a Train

Jason has a couple of other ideas but we'll let those percolate for now.  I think his "likely" list is very, very good/impressive.

And I guess this is as good a time as any to announce that MTFB will have its first "Ten Bets" list for 2016 up on FRIDAY, June 26.  It's about to get serious.


Andrea Arnold's American Honey had a trailer drop yesterday.  The film stars Shia LaBeouf and Sasha Lane and is distributed by A24 which was at Telluride recently with Room, Under the Skin and Ginger and Rosa.

Arnold has also been represented at Telluride with Fish Tank.

Here's the trailer from intrigues:

Linked coverage of the film and its trailer are here:


Nate Parker's Sundance sensation, The Birth of a Nation released a new, full length trailer yesterday as well.  I've flogged the notion that Telluride doesn't play Sundance films multiple times in this space but I've also frequently noted that they have had occasional exceptions.  Could this film be one of those rare exceptions?  

Some people think it could.

Here's the new trailer from YouTube:

Links to coverage:

That's the post for Wednesday...

A reminder that MTFB's forst Ten Bets list goes up on Friday.

Thanks for reading...Have a good weekend.

Contact MTFB at:

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wells Seconds the La La Land Notion / United Kingdom to Open BFI Fest / Moving Dates

Good Tuesday.  Summer officially started yesterday.  It felt like it here in the Oklahoma Panhandle and we were not remotely the hottest place in the country.  Air conditioning..thank you.


I wrote yesterday that the over-the-weekend announcement that Damien Chazelle's musical-La La Land as the opening film for the Venice Film Festival actually may boost its profile in as far as a play at Telluride is concerned.

I noted that 3 of the last six Venice openers have also made the trek to T-ride (Birdman, Gravity and Black Swan).

That notion got some support yesterday in a late afternoon post from Jeff Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere.  Wells, writing about what he perceives, at least at this point, a somewhat lackluster Oscar slate of films,  mentioned the Chazelle film and connected it to both Venice and Telluride.  It's the only mention of Telluride in the article.

Take a look at Wells' complete post here:


Still via The Hollywood Reporter

It was announced in Great Britain earlier today-Amma Asante's A United Kingdom will open the British Film Institute's Film Fest.  This is notable for a couple of reasons. 1) The opener the last two years has made its first showing at Telluride: Suffragette last year and The Imitation Game in 2014.  Additionally, the story from The Hollywood Reporter characterizes the screening as the film's European Premiere which probably signals a play at either Telluride. Toronto or both.

The film stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.  Oyelowo plays the King of Bechauanaland whose marriage to a white woman in 1947 resulted in fierce opposition from Britain and  South Africa.

Here's the link to the THR story:


photo via Screen Rant

News yesterday that some films that have been floating in and around my Telluride consciousness have been announced with shifts in release dates.  Most notably Warners' move up of to Ben Affleck's Live by Night to Jan. 13, 2017.  There is a good deal of speculation that it will likely get a limited run at the end of 2016 to qualify for Oscar consideration.  What had been a film that I thought might be a 2017 T-ride consideration now appears to be off the radar for 2016 as well.  Seems to me to be a very late debut for a film that would have to be ready to screen at T-ride almost four months before.  It's not impossible, but it's probably not making it to the San Juans.

Also, we learned that The Zookeeper's Wife from director Niki Caro has now been dated for Mar. 31, 2017 which truly takes it out of consideration for Telluride both this year and next.

I have linked a number of posts about the shift in dates:

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Monday, June 20, 2016

La La Land Will Open Venice-Boosts Its Telluride Profile / Wilson Creator Reveals Details / More News About 20th Century Women

Good Monday everyone...hope you had a great weekend.


Over the weekend the Venice Film Festival announced that Damien Chazelle's musical La La Land will open their festival on Aug. 31.  The film will also be in competition.

Chazelle wrote and directed and the film stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.  Of late, the opening film at Venice has about a 50/50 chance of also making a play at Telluride.

Since 2010 Venice openers Black Swan, Gravity and Birdman have doubled the two fests.  Everest opened Venice last year.

The announcement may actually mean a boost in the chances that we might see the musical in the mountains.  Up until now, I have had it on my radar, but at a low level.  This announcement will move it up in my estimation.

La La Land is scheduled to open Dec. 16 and is being distributed by Lionsgate which was last at Telluride in 2013 with All is Lost.  An additional comment here, however, is that Lionsgate partners Roadside Attractions (which co-distributed All is Lost)  and Saban Films have had a bigger Telluride profile of late: Mommy. The Homesman, '71.

Finally, the Indiewire piece linked below mentions the Telluride play possibility.


On the set of Wilson via Pioneer Press and The Playlist

Daniel Clowes, the creator of the graphic novel that forms the basis for his screenplay for Wilson, is on record now with some details about the film.  Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins) is directing the project.  Alexander Payne was originally scheduled to direct but ended up producing.

Its Payne's participation that leads me to believe that if the film is ready (IMDb lists it as completed), it will likely screen at Telluride.  Payne's last two films Nebraska and The Descendants showed at The SHOW.

Further, The Playlist post that is linked below and provides the details specifically speculates a potential Telluride play.  Additionally, Clowes revealed to Marc Maron which is were The Playlist story snagged the information, that Wilson will be released this fall.

Wilson stars Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern (her presence might also be a Telluride harbinger).

Here's The Playlist story:


On June 9th MTFB touched on Mike Mills' 20th Century Women as a accidental still release posted at Film Experience re-ignited interest in it as a potential film for TFF #43.  Now The Playlist has an expended post that speculates about the film's future.  Among its points are the lack of domestic distribution and a U.S. release date but it also reminds us that Annapurna Pictures is behind the film and suggests that a "fall festival" play could be in the cards.

Check The Playlist post here:

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Friday, June 17, 2016

TFF #43 Has a Guest Director / Tupac / Denial Undenied

Good Friday.  Hope everyone had a good week.  I know I did. I've spent this week in Salt Lake City at the National Speech and Debate tournament both as a coach with kids competing and as a part of the tournament staff.  It was a great time but ends today.


Many of you may have seen this yesterday.  I certainly re-tweeted the news a couple of times.  German film director Volker Sclondorff has been named as this year's guest director for TFF.  Here's the press release that was sent out yesterday:

BERKELEY, CA – Telluride Film Festival, presented by National Film Preserve LTD., is proud to announce its 2016 Guest Director, Volker Schlöndorff. The globally acclaimed German filmmaker, producer, writer and actor is set to select a series of films to present at the 43rd Telluride Film Festival running over Labor Day Weekend, September 2-5, 2016.

Festival organizers annually select one of the world’s great film enthusiasts to join them in the creation of the Festival’s program lineup. The Guest Director serves as a key collaborator in the Festival’s programming decisions, bringing new ideas and overlooked films to Telluride. In keeping with Telluride Film Festival tradition, Schlöndorff’s film selections, along with the rest of the Telluride lineup, will be kept secret until Opening Day.

“Volker is the type of person Tom Luddy and I dream about when we begin the Guest Director selection process,” said Telluride Film Festival executive director Julie Huntsinger. “His love and knowledge of the cinema allows for limitless possibilities; films we could never imagine being shown on the big screen again. What a truly unique experience we will have at the 43rd Telluride Film Festival with Volker in charge!”

One of the most significant and internationally celebrated German directors of our time, Volker Schlöndorff has a passion for bringing German and international literary classics to the screen and making them accessible to larger audiences. Volker began his filmmaking journey at the legendary film school IDHEC followed by his first debut feature, YOUNG TÖRLESS (1966). Decades later, having worked in Europe and America, his extensive body of work has garnered him an Academy Award, the Palme d’Or, and international accolades from Berlin to Venice to Telluride, where he received the Silver Medallion in 2014.

"Since 1981 Telluride has been part of my life, my favorite festival for the uniqueness of the location and the number of friends I met and made there,” said Schlöndorff. “It's not just about our love of movies, but of life and conviviality and good will for a lot of lost causes. Julie Huntsinger and Tom Luddy are in touch with me all around the year, exchanging funny links and gossip. Of all honours, it's one of the greatest to curate a program in the mountains."

Past Guest Directors include Rachel Kushner, Guy Maddin, Caetano Veloso, Michael Ondaatje, Alexander Payne, Salman Rushdie, Peter Bogdanovich, B. Ruby Rich, Phillip Lopate, Errol Morris, Bertrand Tavernier, John Boorman, John Simon, Buck Henry, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, G. Cabrera Infante, Peter Sellars, Don DeLillo, J.P. Gorin, Edith Kramer and Slavoj Žižek.


Open Road Films which had such great success last year at Telluride with Spotlight has three films that could possibly sneak into the Telluride lineup; Oliver Stone's Snowden, Ben Younger's boxing pic Bleed for This and Benny Boom's Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me.  The latter dropped a teaser trailer yesterday.  The trailer is here with coverage linked below:

All Eyez on Me Teaser from YouTube

All Eyez on Me is set for release on Nov. 11.


Yesterday, I wrote about the appearance and disappearance of a trailer for Mick Jackson's Denial. Now The Playlist has the trailer up and running in a post from yesterday that went up after I posted. Check the trailer (via YouTube) and the story here:

Denial opens on Sept. 30.

Thanks for reading...Have a good weekend.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Could Villenueve Return to Telluride? / Denial Trailer Denied

Good Thursday campers!  Welcome to MTFB!


Still from Arrival via Twitter (@MichaelNotCera)

Canadian film maker Denis Villenueve has made a strong impression at Telluride in the recent past with both Incendies appearing there in 2010 and Prisoners in 2013.  Then, last year, his Sicario was not on the Telluride bill but was at Toronto and one has to wonder if his Canadian-ness was a reason for that.  We don't know why Sicario wasn't on the program for TFF #42.

We have seen speculation that Villenueve's newest project, Arrival (formerly The Story of Your Life) will open in November in Great Britain.  Further, The Playlist, which provides the context for this story, flat out suggests a possible return for Villenueve to Telluride with the picture.

The synopsis sounds intriguing...aliens and humans trying to communicate with them... and it stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.  One fly in the ointment in terms of projecting it for Telluride is that it's in the Paramount stable for distribution and they don't often play at TFF, though they did play Telluride last year with Anomalisa.

The Playlist article is here:

 And Arrival's IMDb page is here:


Denial image via Indiewire

Mick Jackson's Denial hasn't appeared on my Telluride radar until the past few days.  An Indiewire post yesterday had, or appeared to have had trailer up for the film that stars Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall and Tom Wilkinson.

It seems that it could land a spot at T-ride based on its release date- Spet. 30th and that its distributor is Bleeker Street which got its foot in the Telluride door last year as a partner with Netflix distributing Cary Fukunaga's Beasts of No Nation.

Denial is based on the true story of the libel suit between author Deborah E. Lipstadt (Weisz) and Holocaust denier David Irving (Spall).

At any rate, the trailer is not labeled as "private" both in the Indiewire story and at YouTube.  My guess is that we'll see the teaser relatively soon.

The Indiewire story is here:

Denial's IMDb page:

That's wrap for Thursday.

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