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Telluride Film Festival Sells Out Passes in Record Time

With six straight best picture showcases and an Oscars shout-out, the Colorado event is more popular than ever.

Telluride Film Festival Sells Out Passes;
Courtesy of Telluride Film Festival

Passes for the 43rd annual Telluride Film Festival went on sale March 1, two days after best actress Oscar winner Brie Larson sang the Colorado event’s praises from the Dolby Theater stage at this year’s Academy Awards. Seven weeks later, they were completely sold out.

It’s by far the fastest the annual Labor Day retreat has reached capacity. Generally, there are still passes available after the Cannes Film Festival in May, but with the increasing popularity of the fest — which has played host to six straight best picture winners — they went like hot cakes.

So what can the cinephile crowds expect this time around? It’s a bit early for the annual guessing game, but there are many possibilities for this year’s lineup, which is always kept a secret until the day before the fest begins.

For instance, we could see “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” from director Ang Lee, who has attended with films like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Brokeback Mountain” and also received a Telluride tribute in 2000. Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” would make a lot of sense as well; Farhadi attended with both Oscar winner “A Separation” in 2011 and “The Past” in 2013. Telluride would also be a great place for the Weinstein Co. to launch Garth Davis’ “Lion,” an indie that will be looking for a splash outside of busier festivals.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. has treated Telluride as a launch pad for awards hopefuls releasing in September or October in recent years (“Argo,” “Gravity,” “Black Mass”), so Gavin O’Connor’s “The Accountant” — starring Telluride alum Ben Affleck — would be a solid guess.  And although Sundance films rarely play Telluride due to the festival’s North American premiere restriction, it might be difficult for the fest to pass up Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” particularly given Fox Searchlight’s commitment to a presence there in recent years.

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Then there are the likely Cannes carryovers from Telluride-friendly filmmakers like Andrea Arnold (“American Honey,” with distributor A24 no doubt sensing a bit of a good luck charm after “Room” last year) and the Dardenne brothers (“The Unknown Girl”).

But, again… it’s a little early for all of that.

The 43rd Telluride Film Festival runs Sept. 2 to 5.