Telluride forecast is rainy yet sunny

Fest's schedule 'the most hopeful we ever had,' Pence sez

TELLURIDE, Colo. — If the 26th Telluride Film Festival, which begins today, has a theme, it might be: rainy days, sunny films.

The ski resort is at the tail end of its wettest summer in decades, with rain on each of the last 46 days. However, the rains tend to be short and followed by bright sunny skies.

And festival director Bill Pence vows that the films are equally sunny, describing his schedule as “the most hopeful we ever had.”

“Festivals tend to have films that are grim and serious at the expense of comedy and light entertainment,” Pence said. “It turns out that on the eve of the millennium we have films that are the reverse of apocalyptic.”

Pence pointed to David Lynch’s “The Straight Story,” Israeli director Amos Gitai’s “Kadosh” and Pip Karmel’s “Me Myself I” as examples of the festival fare’s optimistic nature. He also noted the enthusiasm of guest artistic director Peter Sellars for lightening the mood.

Rocky Mountain highlights

Highlights of the festival, which runs through Labor Day, include a screening of the restored 1931 “Dracula,” with a new score by Philip Glass performed live by the composer and the Kronos Quartet, as well as tributes to Catherine Deneuve and Lynch, both of whom will be on hand.

Among the feature films being shown are: “Orfeu,” directed by Carlos Diegues; “Black and White,” directed by James Toback; “Jesus’ Son,” Alison Maclean; “East Is East,” Damien O’Donnell; “The Girl on the Bridge,” from France’s Patrice Leconte; “Journey to the Sun,” Yesim Ustaoglu; and “Place Vendome,” the third film from Gallic actress turned helmer Nicole Garcia.

Also on tap are “Princess Mononoke,” the animated Japanese film from Hayao Miyazaki; “I’ll Take You There,” a road movie directed by Adrienne Shelly; “Mifune,” the third film made under the so-called Dogma 95 rules, helmed by Soren Kragh-Jacobsen; “Farewell, Home Sweet Home,” Otal Iosseliani; and “Time Regained,” from Raul Ruiz, the Chilean-born director who lives in France.

Most of the Hollywood contingent filled a 727 charter flight, which landed late Thursday about an hour away in relatively flat Montrose.

Those who arrived early by flying into Telluride’s 9,000-foot altitude, hillside airport seemed awed by the experience.

Disney publicist Michael Moses described the flight as a “death bullet where you come out of the clouds smack into a mountain.” Richard Farnsworth called the experience “beautiful but bumpy.”

“I come here for the timber and the mountains,” said “The Straight Story” star. “There’s no place like Telluride.”