Monday, April 29, 2019

A Salute to Mark Medoff / First Teaser for Young Ahmed / One More Time for Apocalypse Now

Good Monday to everyone.


(Photo via Getty Images and The Wrap)

Mark Medoff-Oscar nominee and Tony Award winning writer died on Tuesday.  He was 79.

The disclaimer: to the best of my knowledge, Mr. Medoff had no connection to the Telluride Film Festival.

So why mention him here?

As many of you know, in real life I'm a high school speech/drama/debate/English teacher.  I've had students performing Mr.Medoff's work for a long, long time.  Sometimes as competition pieces individually or as duos.  Sometimes for play competitions (at least three times).  So, obviously, his work has made an impact in my life and the lives of my kids.

And he was a New Mexico guy.  He taught for many, many years in Las Cruces at New Mexico State University and though I'm not a New Mexico native, I've spent a lot of time there.  It's just down the might say.

So, Mr. Medoff, a salute to you, sir.  Thanks for the sharing your gift with the world, my kids and me.

Here's The Wrap's story about Mr. Medoff's passing.


High on my list of films from Cannes that I think are most likely to travel to Colorado for Labor Day weekend is the latest social drama from The Dardennes Brothers.  The Dardennes have had a rich history with both the Cannes Film Festival and TFF so, though it doesn't happen that their films do the Cannes/Telluride connection, it's occurred enough over the years that you'd be a little silly not to expect it to happen again.

The Dardennes film is Young Ahmed and its plot is described at IMDb as:  "A young Belgian hatches a plot to kill his teacher after embracing an extremist interpretation of the Quran."

Young Ahmed currently doesn't have U.S. distribution but prior to its screening at Cannes next month, the film's producers have released a teaser/trailer.

Here that is from YouTube:

Linked here is an accompanying story on the teaser's release from The Film Stage.

Young Ahmed's IMDb page is here.


Francis Ford Coppola screened what he is saying is the definitive version of his 1979 classic, Apocalypse Now, at the Tribeca Film Festival.  This latest version has been renamed Apocalypse Now: The Final Cut.  Coppola screened Apocalypse Now Redux as a part of TFF in 2014.

I am wondering if  Coppola might return again to TFF to screen the latest version.

The Wrap had this story about the Tribeca screening which includes the note that Coppola expects a theatrical release at some point later this year.  Depending on the timing for that and the interest level from the fest and Coppola...maybe.

I have linked the story from The Wrap here.

That's it for your MTFB on this Monday.  More for you on Thursday...


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Thursday, April 25, 2019

A Couple of Outside Shots / New Del Toro May Have DiCaprio / Fienne's The White Crow Opens This Weekend

Good Thursday morning to all...


Looks these last few days at two films that I have avoided including as TFF #46 possibilities are Ang Lee's Gemini Man and Robert Eggers The Lighthouse.

However, we got the first trailer for Gemini Man this week (from YouTube):

And Ang Lee has, though not for awhile, had a presence at Telluride and the film is set for release on Oct. 11th.  Paramount has it under its wing and has occasionally landed at TFF (the last time in 2017 with Downsizing and An Inconvenient Sequel).

Also, here's the story on Gemini Man from Indiewire

Also, we got the first still from Robert Eggers The Lighthouse.  It's from A24 which has been involved at Telluride quite a bit over the last five years or so.  Here's the still via Indiewire:

The Lighthouse was announced as one of the competition films in the Cannes sidebar section Director's Fortnight.  Sometimes films from DF make their way to T-ride.


(Photo via Rob Latour/Shutterstock/Variety)

Word is buzzing that Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio may sign on to an emerging Guillermo Del Toro project currently titled Nightmare Alley.  The film would be a remake of a 1947 film starring Tyrone Power.

Del Toro's play at TFF 44 with The Shape of Water and its win for Best Picture means we'd be wise to keep an eye on its development.


Sony Pictures Classics reminded us yesterday that the Ralph Fiennes directed film about the life of Rudolf Nuryev, which played TFF #45, opens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend.  The reminder came in the form of an email with a great poster for the film.

Here's a look at the poster:

The White Crow will expand to other parts of the country in the coming weeks.

That's your MTFB for this Thursday.  Thanks for playing.  More will be on its way to you on Monday!


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Monday, April 22, 2019

Narrowing the Field / Nuggets About The Irishman / Fremaux and Cannes' Insights

Welcome back from the holiday weekend...


I teased on my April 11th post that I have been asked to be a part of a "Best of the Decade" project and posted the list of 20 films I came up with to work from.

The completed project is set to come out next month sometime and as the organizer has let the cat out of the bag, I am assuming that I can too.

If you're on Twitter you may have seen this tweet the last week from Jordan Ruimy who runs the World of Reel website:

So...connecting the dots...yes, I'm one of Ruimy's "200".

As you may remember from my earlier post, these were my top 20 2010 films:

2010- True Grit
2011- The Tree of Life, Shame, A Separation
2012- Lincoln, The Life of Pi
2013- 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis
2014- Birdman, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel
2015- Son of Saul, Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road
2016- Moonlight, La La Land
2017- Lady Bird, Dunkirk
2018- Roma

And further...time to winnow my list down from 20 to 10.  Chronologically, here are my 10 best of the 2010's:

2010- True Grit
2011- The Tree of Life, Shame, A Separation
2013- 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis
2014- Birdman
2015- Son of Saul
2017- Lady Bird, Dunkirk

I'll have my top five soon...


Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese on the set of The Irishman (via Phillip Vaughn/Shutterstock and Indiewire)

Perhaps the most anticipated film of 2019 is Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.  The film is being produced by Netflix which gives at least some hope that it could possibly make the Venice/Telluride couplet in a few months.

Recently Indiewire's Zack Sharf wrote about an interview with one of the film's producers: Jane Rosenthal.  Rosenthal revealed some small bits of information and insight about the upcoming mob flick from the director of Goodfellas and The Departed.

You can find that story linked here.


Cannes Film Fest artistic director Thierry Fremaux had a conversation over the weekend with Indiewire's Eric Kohn about the 2019 lineup for the venerable festival. 

Among topics discussed: Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in ...Hollywood, The Truth and Rocketman.

And it should come as no surprise that there are further films that will be added to the various sections that make up the total program for Cannes #72.

The Kohn/Fremaux interview is linked here.

That's your MTFB for this Monday and I'll have more for you on Thursday...


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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cannes Lineups Announced / Anderson, VR and Cannes

Welcome to Thursday...Time to open the Cannes...



In the Palme d'Or competition:

Pain and Glory (Almodovar)
The Traitor (Bellocchio)
The Wild Goose Lake (Yinan)
Parasite (Joon-ho)

Young Ahmed (The Dardennes)
Oh Mercy! (Desplechin)
Fire Next Time (Diop)
Matthias and Maxime (Dolan)
Little Joe (Hausner)
The Dead Don't Die (Jarmusch)
Sorry We Missed You (Loach)
Les miserables (Yi)

A Hidden Life (Malick)
Nighthawk (Filho and Dornelles)
The Whistlers (Porumboiu)
Frankie (Sachs)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Sciamma)
It Must Be Heaven (Suleiman)
Sybil (Triet)

Un Certain Regard:

Invisible Life
The Swallows of Kabul
The Brother's Love
The Climb
A Sun That Never Sets
Room 212
Port Authority
Zhou Ren Mi Mi
Summer of Changsha

Special Screenings:

For Sama
Etre Vivant et le Savior
Family Romance LLC

Out of Competition

The Best Years of a Life
Too Old to Die Young
Diego Maradona
Le Belle Epoque

Midnight Screening:

The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil

The complete lineup is here from The Film Stage

My best guess-sight unseen-of Cannes' films that could make the jump to Telluride:  Young Ahmed, Family Romance LLC (Herzog), Matthias and Maxime, Sorry We Missed You and A Hidden Life.

Notable films that many thought might make the lineup but didn't (at least yet) :

The Truth, Midsommar, Wendy and First Cow.  Most noticeable was the absence of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood.  Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux said the film was not ready though did suggest that the door was still open should Tarantino finish before the festival kicks off on May 14.

And, as was true last year, Netflix will not have any films in any section of the fest.

The Hollywood Reporter covers omissions here.


One title that we had heard earlier this week that would play during the Director's Fortnight  is Laurie Anderson's Virtual Reality project Go Where You Look: Falling Off Snow Mountain.  The project will consist of three installations according to Michael Nordine writing for Indiewire.  The installations are: Aloft, Chalkroom and To the Moon.

Anderson has collaborated with Hsin-Chien Huang to create the project.

TFF #45 scored Eliza McNitt's Spheres VR presentation last year, which leads me to believe that another VR presentation could easily be part of the TFF #46 lineup and Anderson certainly has been involved with Telluride.  Her most recent TFF presence was in 2015 with her documentary Heart of a Dog.  Anderson also continues to be one of TFF's "Esteemed Council of Advisors".

Indiewire's story about Anderson's VR installation at Cannes is linked here.

More on Monday...


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Monday, April 15, 2019

Late Breaking: Cannes #72 Poster Honors Varda / Final Set of Program Dedications / Peterloo Arrives / More Cannes Spec / The Burns Country Tour Continues

Good Monday to everyone.  Writing on my phone today as I have been art showing in Texas.


Just released is the poster for the 72nd edition of Cannes featuring late film maker Agnes Varda.  Here it is:


Here’s the last set of program dedications from TFF that I can find.  It appears that the fest began the feature of dedicating programs in 1990.
So, to complete the list I begin sharing last week here are the first few dedications from 1990-1997:

#24 1997- James Stewart
#23 1996- Louis Malle
#22 1995- Kathleen Tynan
#21 1994- Dennis Potter
#20 1993- Gary Essert
#19 1992-Nestor Almendros and Marion Zunz
#18 1991- Joel McCrea
#17 1990- Michael Powell


Mike Leigh’s historical epic that played at TFF 45 last Labor Day opened in the United States Last weekend. As a result there has been a modicum of P.R. material appearing to coincide with it release.
The film was modestly received at T-ride and critically since then.

Leigh talked about the film in a recent post from J. Don Birnam writing for Awards Circuit.  You can find that interview linked here.


Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has a post up with more speculation/predictions about which films will be named Thursday to the lineup for the 72nd Cannes Film Festival.

Included among the titles is the first mention that I’ve seen that Cannes might include if Jay Roach’s examination former of Fox News head Roger Ailes.
The film, titled Fair and Balanced, is reported by IMDb as “expected Dec. 20th and stars John Lithgow as Ailes.
Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman also star.
Also mentioned in the Wells article Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield,  Pablo Larrain’s Ema, Danielle Lesowitz’s Port Authority, Cristi Puiu’s Manor House and Marco Bellochio’s The Traitor.

Any of those films might be part of a Cannes-Telluride one-two punch.
As many of you know, Cannes and Telluride will often share an average of 7-8 films so this week’s Cannes lineup announcement should give us a lot to ponder as we look forward to TFF #46.
Wells’ post can be found here.


(Photo of Johnny Cash from Episode 5 of Country Music via Sony Music Archives and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The Ken Burns Country Music Tour (at least that's what I', calling it) to bring attention to his forthcoming documentary about the history of country and western music in the United States is making another stop.  This time in Pittsburgh on Wednesday of this week.  As a part pf that stop, Burns did a solid interview with Scott Mervis for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Burns doc is scheduled to launch on PBS a couple of weeks after the Telluride Film Festival (Sept. 15th) leading me to think that Telluride might be the final stop on "the tour".

The Post-Gazette article can be seen here.

That's a wrap on your Monday MTFB.  I'll be back on Thursday.  That post may well come a little later in the day so that I can do a bit of an entry on the Cannes lineup which will largely be announced that day.


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Thursday, April 11, 2019

More Program Dedications from Past Fests / Best of the Decade / News from Cannes

Good Thursday film fans.


Spurred by the recent death of Agnes Varda and my speculation that we might find the 46th TFF program dedicated to her when we show up in the San Juans in late August, I began chronicling the people who have had past fests dedicated to them as far back as I can find them in the actual TFF programs.

In my last post I was able to list dedications for the last ten years of the festival (2009-2018).  Today that listing continues with a look at dedications from 1999-2008:

#35 2008- No dedication
#34 2007- Edward Yang and Ulrich Muhe
#33 2006- Jody Goodman
#32 2005- G. Cabrera Infante
#31 2004- Fay Wray
#30 2003- Stan Brakhage
#29 2002- Chuck Jones
#28 2001- Richard Farnsworth
#27 2000- John Berry
#26 1999- Albert Johnson

I'll have he next flight of program dedications in Monday's post.


I was recently asked to contribute to a survey of the best films of the decade (2010-2019).  So I have been pondering what might end up on my list.  I have been tasked with naming five films.  To that end, I have started the process by creating a list of 20 films to winnow down to the five.

As you might expect, the original list of 20 is heavy with films that played at Telluride but it's not exclusively TFF films.

Here's the working list at the moment listed chronologically by year:

2010- True Grit
2011- The Tree of Life, Shame, A Separation
2012- Lincoln, The Life of Pi
2013- 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis
2014- Birdman, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel
2015- Son of Saul, Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road
2016- Moonlight, La La Land
2017- Lady Bird, Dunkirk
2018- Roma

Of the 20 films seven of them are films the did not screen at Telluride.

Got to get it down to five...not going to be easy.


Ahead of next week's reveal of the bulk of titles that will play the Cannes Film Festival was the announcement this week that the venerable french film fest will open with the latest from Jim Jarmusch.  His film The Dead Don't Die will be the opening night film.  The film plays on Tuesday, May 14th to open the 72nd edition of Cannes.

The Dead Don't Die is described as a zombie comedy and stars Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny as well as Steve Buscemi and Tom Waits.

Jarmusch appears to have been involved with Telluride thrice in the past in 1984 with Stranger than Paradise; in 1989 with Mystery Train and in 1993 with Coffee and Cigarettes, the third short in the series was released that year.

The film has been off my Telluride radar for some time as it will open in the U.S. on June 14th.

I have linked the announcement news from Indiewire and the IMDb page for The Dead Don't Die is linked here.

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


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Monday, April 8, 2019

The TFF Program and Dedications / Trial by Fire Trailer and Release Date / Francis Ford Coppola Announces Megalopolis

Good Monday and welcome to the start of another week in April 2019...


With the passing of film legend Agnes Varda a few days back, MTFB has spent some time re-visiting her career. 

I wondered last week in this space if Varda might be honored by TFF with a dedication in the 2019 program.  I mentioned that the festival has done that before and cited 2018's program dedication to Pierre Rissient. 

And that got me to often has the fest dedicated the program?  When and to whom?  It seemed to me to be a natural extension to seek some answers to those questions especially since I have spent some time trying to put together some of the festival's past and preserve it here.  Sooo...

I have gone to the programs themselves to see what the record shows and here's what I have discovered from the past decade's programs...the following dedications:

#45 2018- Pierre Rissient
#44 2017- Sam Shepard
#43 2016- Paul Cox and Abbas Kiarostami
#42 2015- Peter von Bagh
#41 2014- Stanley Kauffmann and Peter O'Toole
#40 2013- Les Blank, Roger Ebert, George Gund, Donald Richie
#39 2012- Bingham Ray and Jan Sharp
#38 2011- Richard Leacock and Arthur Penn
#37 2010- Max Palevsky
#36 2009- Horton Foote and Budd Schulberg

I'll keep going back to older programs and continue this search for the next couple of posts.


Ed Zwick's Trial by Fire which was one of two films that played in Telluride last Labor Day inspired by articles written by David Grann (the other was The Old Man and the Gun) has a trailer and a release date-May 17th.  That according to both and

Here is the trailer linked from YouTube:

 Trial by Fire stars Jack O'Connell and Laura Dern.


Photo via Rob Latour/Shutterstock and Deadline

Over the weekend the film interweb was abuzz with the announcement from Francis Ford Coppola that he will begin filming a long gestating dream project entitled (at least at the moment) Megalopolis.  The film is characterized in reporting from's Mike Fleming Jr. as "a sprawling film as ambitious as Apocalypse Now.

Coppola is reported as saying the filming will begin this year.

With Coppola's fairly recent return to Telluride (with Apocalypse Now Redux and The Cotton Club) you have to wonder if a TFF screening of the new film might be something that could be a part of a future fest lineup.

The article is linked here.

That's this Monday's MTFB.  I'll have more on Thursday.


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Thursday, April 4, 2019

More on Agnes Varda / Report from CinemaCon: The Goldfinch / New Title for Radegund / Thanks to World of Reel for the Invitation

Good Thursday to all...


Photo via Indiewire

The death of film making pioneer Agnes Varda has continued to send reverberations through the film community and the honorifics and reminiscences continue to appear online and in major publications.  As I did on Monday, I have linked a few more of those here:

From the Cannes Film Festival official site

Manohla Dargis for The New York Times

Jude Dry for Indiewire with comments from female film makers including: Greta Gerwig, Ava Duvernay, Lena Dunham and a dozen others.


Part of the cast of The Goldfinch at CinemaCon (via Indiewire)

CinemaCon attendees got the first look at a trailer for John Crowley's adaptation of Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Goldfinch earlier this week.

The film is certainly on my watch list as a potential choice by TFF programmers for this year's fest.  The film is scheduled for U.S. release on Sept. 13th and is from the combination of Warner Bros. and Amazon Studios.  The combination of factors means that it could play any or all of the combination of Telluride, Venice and Toronto.

Kate Erbland writing for Indiewire filed this report from CinemaCon detailing the roll out of the first filmed images of the film.


Amid fevered speculation that Terrence Malick's new film will be announced as a competition film for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival on April 18th came news this week that its title has officially been changed. 

The film has been discussed for months with the working title Radegund.  However, Indiewire's Zack Sharf reported on Tuesday that the film will now be titled A Hidden Life.

The film follows the true story of World War II Austrian Conscientious Objector Franz Jagerstatter who was executed by the Nazis in 1943.

Sharf's story from Indiewire is linked here.

A Hidden Life is on my TFF #45 watch list.


I got a nice invite from Jordan Ruimy of the World of Reel website to participate in a project he is currently working on.  I don't want to give away what it is until Jordan is ready to unveil it but I did want to publicly give him a thank you and a shout out and tell you that something is in the works.

You can take a look at World of Reel by clicking here.

And thanks again for including me Mr. Ruimy.

That's today's MTFB.  Thanks for taking the time to give it a look.  More on Monday.


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Monday, April 1, 2019

Agnes Varda 1928-2019 / Garrone's Big Weekend

I hope it is a good day for you today...

AGNES VARDA 1928-2019

Hard news over the weekend as cinephiles the world over learned of and mourned the passing of  revered filmmaker Agnes Varda.

Varda was a giant of European cinema as one of the prominent voices that emerged with the French New Wave.

Varda was an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary for her 2017 collaboration with artist JR: Faces Places which played at TFF #43.  Varda also was a recipient of an Honorary Oscar.  She was among TFF's first tribute recipients being recognized at the 4th Telluride Film Festival.  Here's a snap of the entry for her tribute from the official TFF #4 program:

Tributes and reminiscences poured in from the film community from around the world over the weekend and I have linked several of those below:

It wouldn't surprise me that Varda could have the TFF #46 program dedicated to her in five months much like Pierre Rissient last year.  I had already thought that some version of her latest and last film, Varda by Agnes (listed by IMDb as a television series),  which screened at the Berlin Fest in February, might show up as a part of the TFF #46 program and with her death, I suspect that becomes even more likely.  That is unless the producers/distributors choose to release it in the U.S. before Labor Day weekend.

One other note...among my favorite things to stumble across as I was preparing this story was the IMDb entry for Varda's 1967 documentary short Uncle Yanco which featured none other than Tom Luddy.  Yes.  There's a picture and a credit and the description mentions that the two were friends.  Here's the pictorial evidence:



Word this weekend that Matteo Garrone's Dogman, which played TFF #45 fared very well at the David di Doantello Awards picking up nine trophies out of a total of 15 nominations including Best Picture, Direction and Screenplay.  The David di Donatello Awards are described by Varitey as Italy's equivalent of the Oscars.

Variety's coverage of those awards is linked here.

Meanwhile, almost simultaneously, we got our first glimpse of Garrone's next project...a live action version of Pinocchio starring Oscar winner Roberto Begnini.

Here's a pic of Begnini as Pinocchio's creator Geppeto:

Still via Greta De Lazzaris via The Hollywood Reporter

THR reports that Garrone plans to wrap principal photography by May... which could mean that with a quick turnaround...maybe people might see it as early as Labor Day...just saying...

Coverage is linked here from:

That's a wrap for this sad Monday.  I'll have more on Thursday...


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