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Telluride offers award hopefuls

Slate includes 'Prophet,' 'Bad Lieutenant'

The 36th Telluride Film Festival will offer its usual early glimpse into awards season, bristling with an eclectic array of potential contenders screening over Labor Day weekend.

The lineup, unveiled Thursday, included several titles that will head to the Toronto Film Fest afterward, including Todd Solondz’s “Life During Wartime,” Lone Scherfig’s “An Education” and John Hillcoat’s “The Road,” based on the Cormac McCarthy novel.

Also screening are several pics seen at the Cannes Film Festival in May: Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner “White Ribbon,” Jacques Audiard’s Grand Prix winner “A Prophet,” Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” and Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank.”

The initial Telluride lineup did not include Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” despite rumors that the George Clooney starrer would be a last-minute addition. But a Paramount spokeswoman said Friday it would be included.

Fest director Tom Luddy said that the selections are designed to offer attendees as varied an experience as possible.

“People who come back every year will, I think, get the sense that our lineup actually feels familiar in terms of offering a mix of tributes, new films, foreign films and retrospectives,” he added.

Telluride’s drawn an impressive list of awards contenders in recent years, serving as the launching pad for “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Juno,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote” and “The Last King of Scotland.”

The festival begins a four-day run Friday. Special events include tributes to Anouk Aimee, Viggo Mortensen and Margarethe von Trotta; a celebration of film critic Manny Farber with a screening of Jean Renoir’s “Toni”; the presentation of a special medallion to Serge Bromberg with an unspooling of Bromberg’s “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno”; and the “Red Riding” trilogy made for British television.

Alexander Payne will serve as this year’s guest director and will introduce a trio of foreign-language pics — “El verdugo,” from Spain; “Daisan no kagemusha” (“The Third Shadow Warrior”), from Japan; and “Le ragazze di Piazza di Spagna,” from Italy. He’ll also present three “Forgetten Hollywood” titles — “Day of the Outlaw,” “The Breaking Point” and “Make Way for Tomorrow.”

Luddy noted that the list is subject to last-minute revisions.

He also admitted that the recession has cut into sponsorship this year.

“Like all other nonprofits, we’re seeing a decline in corporate sponsors, but we still expect 3,000 or 4,000 people here,” he added. “And I don’t think they will be disappointed.”

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