The Telluride Film Festival has attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood — from James Stewart and Jack Nicholson to this year’s guest director, Alexander Payne. Since 1974, festgoers have flocked to the Rocky Mountain hamlet every Labor Day weekend, nearly tripling the town’s resident population.
Yet part of the fest’s appeal isn’t the glitz and glam of A-list actors, but the homegrown charm of its passholders and their genuine love for the movies.
The mountain fest’s 36th edition will include a three-part tribute to the late film critic Manny Farber as well as a special film program from Payne. While its lineup won’t be released until opening day, passholders will undoubtedly fill seats, especially given that last year’s critical darling and eventual Oscar picture winner, “Slumdog Millionaire,” bowed there.
Payne, a first-time attendee, says he’s most excited for what the fest has to offer.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all sorts of films and meeting filmmakers,” Payne says, who is quick to include the six films he selected. “I went for films that are hard to see, that I’ve seen years ago and would like to see again.”
Co-director Gary Meyer praises Payne’s selection, saying, “Alexander has succeeded in programming a group of films with both rarity and variety.
“We have a sophisticated audience here at Telluride,” Meyer adds.
Robert Polito, editor of the book “Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber,” praises the fest’s tribute to Farber, which includes an interactive panel with those who knew him best. Polito describes the event as a must-see for all festgoers.
“He grew up in a moment when film appreciation was just taking off,” Polito says. “You can see elements and aspects of Manny in all of us.”
When: Sept. 4-7
Where: Telluride, Colo.