Thursday, March 28, 2019

Indiewire's Cannes Wish List / Herzog on Gorbachev / More Country Music News

Welcome to Thursday...


As we edge closer to the official announcement of the Cannes Film Festival lineup Indiewire has published its list of 50 films on their wish list for the 72nd edition of the French film affair.

Again, Scorsese's The Irishman and other Netflix titles are off the list and also likely off the Cannes list is James Gray's As Astra.

Among the 50 films that are on the Indiewire's hopefuls are these that I think seem Telluride-possible.  Most of the following titles have now become repeat mentions from previous Cannes' speculation pieces.  Alphabetically, those films are:

Ahmed (The Dardennes Brothers)
Ema (Pablo Larrain)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt)
One Second (Zhang Yimou)
Radegund (Terrence Malick)
The Truth (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

The complete Indiewire list is here.


Herzog at the Kremlin (via The Orchard and Indiewire)

Indiewire's Christian Blauvelt sat down with legendary filmmaker and Telluride "Esteemed Council of Advisors" member (and who has a TFF theater named for him) Werner Herzog last week to talk about his latest documentary film Meeting Gorbachev which premiered at TFF #45 last September.

Herzog's exploration of the former Russian/Soviet leader is scheduled for a May 3rd U.S. release from The Orchard.

The Indiewire interview with Herzog also includes an exclusive look at a trailer for the film.

You can find that interview here.


The Tennessean reports that Ken Burns will donate a trove of the interviews that he and his crew have done for the upcoming PBS documentary Country Music to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Burns is currently in the midst of promoting the 8 part 16 hour doc before it screens on PBS on  September 15th.

Burns past extensive connection to Telluride and his frequent presence at the festival with various projects leads me to think that there is a better than fair chance that at least some of the doc will bow at TFF #46 over the Labor Day weekend.

The Tennessean reports that Burns will be donating all of the recorded interviews and transcripts from over 40 artists.

The complete Tennessean article is linked here.

That will do for today.  I'll have more on Monday.


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Monday, March 25, 2019

I'm Back / Netflix and Cannes: The Breakup Continues / Malick at Cannes and Then... / Schiller Talks Telluride and More / Lucy in the Sky Teaser / Burn's Country Music / New Pic of Hanks as Rogers

Spring Break has concluded...


After a ten day hiatus MTFB is back today after having spent Spring Break doing this and that.  Spent some of the break in NYC.  Saw Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird with Jeff Daniels.  It's nearly perfect.  Saw Bryan Cranston in Network...Cranston is phenomenal.  Did some other stuff.

It was good to step away for a few days, but I'm back now as we head our way to the announcement of the films that will play at Cannes which really does begin the Telluride speculation season on some earnest.   Here we go...


While I was away we found out that Netflix will again have zero films playing at the Cannes Film Fest in May.  The impasse that created that situation last year has not been resolved and as such, Netflix apparently will not be bringing any films to France in any of the programs.

That was reported in a  number pf places this past week including this from Variety.

In addition, as it turns out, the big fish in Netflix's barrel this season, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman reportedly wouldn't be ready anyway.  It seems that there is still far too much effects work to be done.  That according to Zack Sharf writing at Indiewire.

Sharf writes that a Venice premiere at this point seems the safest bet.  That would still seem to leave the door open for a screening at Telluride much in the way Netflix played Cuaron's Roma last year (and Searchlight did Shape of Water the year before).

My take is still some serious wariness.  Scorsese hasn't been at Telluride in decades.  I wouldn't be surprised if it played Venice and Venice alone or skipped fests all together. 

Still, Collider's Adam Chitwood suggests a run for the film through the Venice, Telluride, Toronto (maybe New York) gauntlet.


And speaking of Cannes...there's a growing consensus that  Terrence Malick will return to Cannes in May with his latest film Radegund.  It's a film I have been stalking for quite some time mostly because it's Malick doing a film with a reportedly more traditionally narrative structure that tells the true story of an Austrian conscientious objector during World War II.

I'm hoping, that after a spate of films that haven't exactly been embraced (since Tree of Life) that this will be the path back to critical success for the auteur. 

Charles Barfield writing for The Playlist suggests that Cannes will screen the new film. That story is linked here.

Should that come to pass, the questions would be: does it play any other fests and which distributor picks it up?

I'll keep an eye on it.


Friend of the blog and multi-hyphenate Christopher Schiller was featured this week on The Weekend Take podcast with Shawn Schaffer.  Schiller runs down a number of topics including a love letter to the Telluride Film Festival.

You can find Schiller's guest stint and The Weekend Take podcast at iTunes at this link.


Here's the teaser from YouTube:

The Hollywood Reporter

First Showing

The Playlist



The Asheville, NC  Citizen Times reports that Ken Burns is going to screen some moments of his new documentary on country music in Asheville next week (on April 2 on the UNC-Asheville campus).  It's yet another sign that, although the entire 16 hour doc may not be ready in its entirety, there's plenty of it to show to an audience.

This roll out in various parts in various places continues to make me think that a presentation of some of it over Labor Day weekend in T-ride  is a realistic possibility.

The Citizen Times article is linked here.


And to celebrate what would have been Fred Rogers 91st birthday, TriStar released a new photo from the set of A Beautiful Day in the neighborhood starring Tom Hanks as Rogers.

Here's the new photo:

The film is directed by Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and is set for U.S. release on Nov. 22nd.

That's your "Spring Break Is Over Return Issue" of MTFB.  I'll have more on Thursday.


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Thursday, March 14, 2019

A U.S. Trailer for Non-Fiction / A Bit More Thinking About Cannes / Out of Pocket

Welcome to Thursday...


Last week Sundance Selects dropped a new U.S. trailer for Olivier Assayas' latest film which ran the festival gamut last fall debuting at Venice then playing Telluride, Toronto and New York.  The film is scheduled to open here in the states on May 3rd.

Non-Fiction stars Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet.

Here's the new trailer via YouTube:

I have linked a story about the U.S. trailer release from Jordan Raup writing at The Film Stage.  That link is here.

Non-Fiction's IMDb page is linked here.

Assayas is currently filming his next film Wasp Network.


Jordan Ruimy writing at his blog World of Reel recently shared a couple of thoughts about films that could make the 72nd Cannes Film Festival lineup.  Chief among them is his claim that multiple sources are suggesting that Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie will likely make the lineup and may well play in competition for the Palme d'Or and could also be the opening night film.

Ruimy also tosses in a couple of other titles that I have my eye on as potential Cannes/Telluride crossovers The Dardennes brothers' Ahmed chief among them.

I have linked Ruimy's reporting here.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's IMDb page is here.

Ahmed's IMDb page is here.


That's your MTFB for this Thursday.  I'm going to be out of pocket for the next few days as I go on spring break.  MTFB will return in full force on Monday, Mar. 25th.


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Monday, March 11, 2019

The Cannes Speculation Begins / But Not This One? / And on a Related Note...Venice-Netflix? / Early Oscar Analysis

Welcome back for the weekend...Did you Spring Forward?  I sort of shambled forward...


With the Cannes Film Festival just a couple of months away, it's time to start thinking in a serious fashion what could play as part of their programs with an eye, then. to those films that could bow in France and then have their North American unveiling over Labor Day weekend in the Colorado Rockies.

To that end, you may have notice The Hollywood Reporter's analysis this week of 50 films that their authors say have a shot at making the 2019 Cannes lineup.

Casting an eye over that moderately extensive list of films, these are the titles that jump out at me as worth a glance as we look for films that could make the TFF #45 program (click on the title to go to its IMDb page):

Against All Enemies dir: Benedict Andrews

Ahmed dir: The Dardennes Brothers

The Truth dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Ema dir. Pablo Larrain

Radegund dir. Terrence Malick (admittedly more a wish than a prophecy)

First Cow dir: Kelly Reichardt

The Laundromat dir. Stephen Soderbergh

 Of course, there are a number of others listed in the THR article that intrigue and could certainly pop up both in France and Telluride.  The complete THR article is linked here.


One film listed in the preceding THR linked story is Martin Scorsese's much anticipated Netflix backed gangster drama The Irishman.  Interestingly, within a day of its publication, ShowBiz411 reported that The Irishman will NOT be ready to make an appearance at Cannes.

Roger Friedman headlines his story from Thursday with "Confirmed: No Irishman at Cannes".  In the body of the story Friedman writes "The film is shot...but the special effects will take months."  Friedman also implies that The Irishman might eschew fall fests altogether which would certainly fit Scorsese's recent M.O.

The complete ShowBiz411 post is linked here.


Eric Kohn wrote a piece this last week at Indiewire which explores where the Cannes/Netflix relationship is and may be headed.  In it he reports that the Venice International Film Festival may be following Cannes path in regards to screening of Netflix films as the battle over how various entities, Festivals and the Oscars particularly, deal with the films that are produced by the streaming giant.

Kohn reports that a recently signed law in Italy that would establish guidelines for theatrical distribution of films there that are similar to the laws in France which have been the central issue in the ongoing Netflix-Cannes confrontation.

Kohn writes, "The Lido may off limits to Netflix in the coming year".  Additionally, he speculates  that that turn of events could conceivably benefit Telluride (and Toronto) writing that it "could be very good" for both fests.

The full paragraph from Kohn is a s follows:

"Netflix doesn’t necessarily need a bump from the festival for its most anticipated films. “Roma” found plenty of acclaim at Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. The Lido may be off-limits to Netflix in the coming year, as Italy’s Minister of Culture Albert Bonisoli signed a law in November requiring theatrical windows in the country similar to the rule in France. But Telluride and Toronto, both of which declined comment for this story, continue to maintain close relationships with Netflix and remain tangible fall launchpads for awards-season hopefuls."

The complete Kohn story is linked here.


Also from Indiewire this week is a peak at early Oscar speculation from their resident Oscar guru Anne Thompson.  The article focuses specifically on directors that she perceives might be on the Oscar short list in the months after Telluride comes to a close but still gives us some good fodder for thinking about films that might make their way to the San Juans.

On her list that might be worth our contemplation (and, as above, linked to their IMDb page):

Noah Baumbach' Untitled Project (starring Adam Driver)

Greta Gerwig's Little Women

Noah Hawley's Lucy in the Sky

Marielle Heller's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Hirokazu Koreeda's The Truth (mentioned and linked above)

Dee Ree's The Last Thing He Wanted

Jay Roach's Fair and Balanced

Martin Scorsese's The Irishman (if it's ready and fall fests are even a part of its release strategy...see above)

Joe Wright's The Woman in the Window

Thompson's complete Indiewire story is linked here.

That's today's MTFB.  More on Thursday.


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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Fair and Balanced Has a Date...and Some Interest? / Amazing Grace Trailer and Poster

Welcome to your first Thursday in March 2019...


A number of outlets reported earlier this week that Lionsgate has dated Jay Roach's Fair and Balanced for release on Dec. 20th.  Fair and Balanced explores the world of Fox News and its former head Roger Ailes and the charges of sexual harassment that were raised by some of the women that worked there.

John Lithgow has been cast as Ailes with Charlize Theron plays Megan Kelly and Nicole Kidman plays Gretchen Carlson among an all star cast.

Of particular note here was a tweet from the Ioncinema account that suggested that the fall fests, including Telluride, are interested in the film.  Here's a shot of the tweet from Ioncinema:

But I also saw a couple of other mentions on social media that suggested that the film, with the Dec. 20th release date was more likely to skip all the fall fest circuit and go with the late 2019 release strategy a la Vice.

I have included a couple of articles here that provide some detail about the release date announcement.




The saga of Amazing Grace, the Aretha Franklin documentary that nearly twice played at TFF is coming close to a conclusion.  The film now has a trailer seen here from YouTube:

Additional we have a poster release as well: also announced yesterday that they would be partnering with NEON  as a distribution partner.  The announcement says that the doc will have its theatrical release this spring.

Time's Amazing Grace story

That is linked here

Additional coverage is linked here from


Entertainment Weekly


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Monday, March 4, 2019

Gone Like the Wind / Roma and the Oscars

Good Monday morning...


I grabbed this photo of the festival website on Friday morning at about 1:45 Central time (11:45 Pacific)

Almost the classic movie title but more descriptive about what happened on Friday morning when passes went on sale for the 46th Telluride Film Festival (Aug. 30-Sept. 2).  Over the past few years the window for getting passes before the sale ran out of them had gotten smaller and smaller.

Hearsay suggested that passes were gone in a week in 2017 and that it took a mere two days last year.  I watched the website in real time on Friday after getting mine secured in a sweat inducing, gut wrenching, nerve stressing 10 minute window as soon as the sale went live.  and, by my estimation, all level of passes were gone in under three hours.  Acme passes were gone first, then the Festival, then the Festival level and finally the Cinephile pass.

Patron Passes were done in a separate sale that occurred in December and, though I wasn't tracking it, seemed to also happen very, very quickly.

So, I have to suspect that, again this year, many past pass holders may have been shut out and I wonder if the fest will consider changes in structures and policies between now and next year when passes go on sale.  I contemplated the same thing last year but am not aware that any changes were made for this year's sale.

One thing is certain, the festival has become insanely popular.  I was messaging a Telluride friend about this and that including the rapidity of the sellout and he suggested that the fest has gotten "too popular". 


Indiewire's Anne Thompson undertakes to deconstruct Roma's Best Picture loss to Green Book in the context of the film being under the wing of streaming giant Netflix in an article over this weekend.

That article is here.

Personally, I think that was one of many of the factors that people mentioned and my guess, and it's only a guess, is that it was more a perfect storm of factors:

1) People really liked Green Book

2) Yup...there's a bias against Netflix...witness the news that no less a light than Steven Spielberg appears to be spear-heading an effort to have the Academy change rules that would make Netflix change some of its practices if it wants to continue to compete for Oscars.

But don't discount these other factors...

3) The foreign language bias.  No foreign language film has ever won the big prize and "It's got its own category" goes some thinking.

4) The black and white factor...maybe not a large consideration, but I don't think you can dismiss it.

5) The style and tone.  It's slow (especially the first half) and contemplative and very, very personal. 

Maybe it was all about the top two reasons above but maybe there were other factors as well.

That's your MTFB for this Monday...more on Thursday.


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