Telluride Film Festival unveils lineup

U.S. filmmakers are missing in action from fest

American pics are largely absent from the 35th Telluride Film Festival lineup, with films from only two U.S. filmmakers so far.

Paul Schrader will preem his drama “Adam Resurrected,” starring Jeff Goldblum, and Tim Disney will debut “American Violet,” with Alfre Woodard.

As usual, late announcements of additions to the fest are expected.

The dearth of American product has made way for a vibrant international selection. Pics making the voyage include Mike Leigh’s comedy “Happy-Go-Lucky” and Nandita Das’ “Firaaq.” Cannes imports include Bent Hamer’s “O’ Horten,” Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah,” Ari Folman’s animated docu “Waltz With Bashir,” Kim Ji-Woon’s Korean Western “The Good the Bad the Weird” and Steve McQueen’s Camera d’Or winner “Hunger.”

David Fincher will be on hand to accept the fest’s Silver Medallion and to screen his cut of “Zodiac.” Considering that 20 minutes of “There Will Be Blood” unspooled during Daniel Day-Lewis’ medal tribute, it’s possible Fincher could bring a portion of his unfinished “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which reteams Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the love story of a man who ages backward.

Several U.S. pics in last year’s Telluride class ended up as awards-season faves. Sneak screenings of “Juno” and “The Savages” added wattage to other indies “I’m Not There,” “Into the Wild” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”

This year, scheduling conflicts kept some U.S. films out of the mountain fest.

With limited slots over four days, the festival didn’t invite Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel Getting Married” or Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling.” Toronto title “The Wrestler,” from Darren Aronofsky, wasn’t submitted. Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road,” John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” Gus Van Sant’s “Milk” and Oliver Stone’s “W” weren’t finished.

“Last year was one of the strongest for American film,” said co-director Tom Luddy. “But this year I didn’t get any calls from Warner Independent, Picturehouse, Vantage. They’re gone.” Luddy also thinks the writers strike may have played a role in delaying projects.

“Ireland surprised us this year,” said Luddy, singling out Lance Daly’s Dublin tale “Kisses”; Cathal Black’s docu of a poet-undertaker, “Learning Gravity”; and Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s missing-child drama “Helen.” Luddy is also high on the fest’s unspooling of Max Ophuls’ restored masterwork “Lola Montes,” which debuted at Cannes.

Though tight-lipped on this year’s sneaks, Luddy characterized them as “medium- to high-profile.” Rumored pics include Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” and Marc Abraham’s “Flash of Genius,” featuring Greg Kinnear as an inventor taking on the auto industry.

Other Telluride events have guest director Slavoj Zizek screening three “neglected noirs”: “Nightmare Alley,” “On Dangerous Ground” and “Seconds.” Thesp Jean Simmons and Scandinavian filmmaker Jan Troell will receive Silver Medallions, while author and filmmaker Richard Schickel will unspool his Warner Bros. doc “You Must Remember This” and accept a Special Medallion.

Telluride runs today through Monday.

(Anne Thompson in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

“Adam Resurrected”
Directed by Paul Schrader, Germany-Israel l, 2008

“American Violet”
Directed by Tim Disney, U.S., 2008

“Everlasting Moments”
Directed by Jan Troell, Sweden, 2008

Directed by Nandita Das, India, 2008

“Flame & Citron”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen, Denmark, 2008

Flash of Genius
Directed by Marc Abraham, U.S., 2008

Directed by Matteo Garrone, Italy, 2008

Directed by Mike Leigh, U.K., 2008

Directed by Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, U.K., 2008

Directed by Steve McQueen, U.K., 2008

I’ve Loved You So Long
Directed by Philippe Claudel, France, 2008

Directed by Lance Daly, Ireland, 2008

“Learning Gravity”
Directed by Cathal Black, U.S., 2008

Directed by Bent Hamer, Norway, 2008

“Pirate For The Sea”
Directed by Ron Colby, U.K., 2007

“Private Century”
Directed by Jan Sikl, Czech Republic, 2007

Directed by Gotz Spielman, Austria, 2008

The Good, The Bad And The Weird
Directed by Kim Ji-Woon, South Korea, 2008

The Rest Is Silence
Directed by Nae Caranfil, Romania, 2007

Slumdog Millionaire
Directed by Danny Boyle, U.K., 2008

Directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy, Kazakhstan, 2008

Waltz With Bashir
Directed by Ari Folman, Israel, 2008

“With A Little Help From Myself”
Directed by Francois Duperon, France, 2008

“Youssou N’dour: I Bring What I Love”
Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Senegal-France, 2008

For all news and features regarding the Telluride Film Festival, please click here.

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