Telluride deputizes Barbera

Fest looks to boost Italo presence

Former Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera will serve as a guest director at the 29th Telluride Film Festival, which runs Aug. 30-Sept. 2.

“Because Telluride’s dates often overlapped those of the Venice Film Festival, Italian cinema has not had a strong enough presence in Telluride over the past several years,” said Telluride co-director Tom Luddy.

“This year Venice’s loss will be our gain, and with Alberto’s help, the Telluride Film Festival will showcase several forgotten Italian film masters from the ’50s and ’60s, and we also hope to introduce one or more important new Italian features.”

Barbera was the chief film critic of daily La Gazzetta del Popolo from 1980-83 and hosted weekly television show “Cinema Scoop” from 1983-85. From 1987-89 he was the lead film critic of national Italo radio show “Hollywood Party.”

Each year, Telluride directors Bill Pence and Luddy invite a film aficionado to join them in creating the festival. The guest director serves as a key collaborator in all programming decisions. Previous guests have included Salman Rushdie, Peter Sellars, Peter Bogdanovich, B. Ruby Rich, John Simon, John Boorman and Errol Morris.

Among the titles that had their world or North American premieres at Telluride in the last two years are “Amelie,” “No Man’s Land,” “Lantana,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “The Devil’s Backbone.” Fest’s lineup is kept under wraps until opening day.

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