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‘First Man,’ ‘Front Runner’ and ‘Roma’ Among 2018 Telluride Film Festival Selections

The 45th annual Telluride Film Festival will play host to the world premieres of new films from Joel Edgerton (“Boy Erased”), David Lowery (“The Old Man & the Gun”), Jason Reitman (“The Front Runner”) and Ed Zwick (“Trial by Fire”), programmers announced Thursday.

Also scheduled are new titles from Oscar-winning filmmakers Damien Chazelle, Alfonso Cuarón and even Orson Welles. Chazelle’s “First Man” will transition from a Venice opening-night bow to the mountains of Colorado alongside Cuarón’s “Roma” and Welles’ finally-completed swan song “The Other Side of the Wind.”

Highlights from the international festival circuit will include Ali Abbasi’s “Border,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War,” Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” (the first Cannes Palme d’Or winner to screen in Telluride since 2013’s “Blue is the Warmest Color.”)

Telluride co-director Julie Huntsinger calls the lineup of 60 feature films and shorts representing 22 countries “tender and fierce,” spotlighting examples like Karyn Kusama’s “Destroyer,” with Nicole Kidman, and Yann Demange’s “White Boy Rick,” with Matthew McConaughey.

The lineup also notably features a slightly wider representation of female filmmakers than similar events like the concurrent Venice Film Festival, which drew criticism on that front this year.

“It’s true that we work with what is out there, but you’ve just got to be a little diligent,” Huntsinger says. Kusama’s film joins Marielle Heller’s Melissa McCarthy vehicle “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s abortion documentary “Reversing Roe” among others on the slate.

Welles’ presence, meanwhile, will be felt far beyond his own film. Morgan Neville’s documentary “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead,” about the making of “The Other Side of the Wind,” will screen as a companion piece, while Ryan Suffern’s short documentary “A Final Cut for Orson: 40 Years in the Making” and Mark Cousins’ poetic ode “The Eyes of Orson Welles” will highlight a sidebar dedicated to behind-the-scenes portraits.

“He’s permeated all corners,” Huntsinger says of the cinema titan, who died in 1985. “[Producer] Frank Marshall has been saying for a long time, ‘‘Other Side of the Wind’ is going to be ready [for Telluride].’ When Netflix got behind it and gave the filmmakers the resources they needed to complete this thing, I knew it would be finished.”

Speaking of Netflix, the streaming giant serves as one of Telluride’s new sponsors this year. Of late, festivals like Telluride and Venice have been more welcoming of Netflix titles than Cannes, which ended up at loggerheads with the company after instituting a rule banning films without theatrical distribution in France from playing in competition there. That kept “Other Side” and “Roma” from making the trip to the Croisette this year.

“I feel badly for [Cannes director] Thierry Frémaux because I think he got the bad end of the stick,” Huntsinger says. “He loved those films and wanted to show them but he’s just hog-tied by the industry there. Netflix doesn’t want to be seen as some controversial thing. They’re not a cinema killer; they’re a cinema resuscitator. Cannes has to look at changing their rules.”

Reitman will be returning to the fest for the first time since 2013’s “Labor Day.” Huntsinger situated his latest, about politician Gary Hart’s ill-fated run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, in with a swath of zeitgeist-minded efforts like “Reversing Roe,” Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron’s human trafficking documentary “Ghost Fleet” and Charles Ferguson’s four-hour “Watergate — or, How We Learned to Stop an Out-of-Control President.”

“We feel like important, worthy topics should be explored,” Huntsinger says. “Same with ‘Trial by Fire.’ ‘Watergate’ is a good example of a film that is about everything; you can say it’s about the ’70s, but it’s also about hubris. The whole Gary Hart story has to do with these exact same things and human foibles that we’ve got to learn to get past. That’s what I love about the fest. People will be talking about all these topics all weekend.”

Finally, Huntsinger says there was no push to finally screen Sydney Pollack’s “Amazing Grace,” documenting two Aretha Franklin gospel concerts at Los Angeles’ New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in 1972, following the legendary singer’s death on Aug. 16. Programmers tried to screen the film in 2015 and 2016, but were blocked by Franklin and her attorneys each time.

“The last interaction we had with her legal team, it felt like it had evolved into something that became very personal,” Huntsinger says. “It was super tempting to try to do a Sunday screening, but it felt like it would have been the most disrespectful thing, to try to have a conversation now. It’ll wait.”

Alan Elliott, the film’s producer, says he has had no discussions about screening the film this year.

The festival will present tributes and Silver Medallion Awards, annually given in recognition of an artists’s significant contribution to the world of cinema, to actress Emma Stone (Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite”) and filmmakers Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”) and Rithy Panh (“Graves Without a Name”).

Additionally, the year’s Special Medallion, presented to “a hero of cinema who preserves, honors and presents great movies,” will go to film critic, journalist and researcher Dieter Kosslick, current director of the Berlin International Film Festival. Markus Imhoof’s “Eldorado” will screen in celebration as the Special Medallion film.

Other festivities will take place throughout the festival including a poster signing with 2018 poster artist Woody Pirtle; a special screening of “Return to Podor” (d. Kevin Macdonald, U.K.-Senegal, 2018) followed by a special appearance by Baaba Maal and Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons); Eliza McNitt’s three-part virtual reality series “Spheres”; 10th Anniversary screening of “Food Inc.” (d. Robert Kenner, U.S., 2008); a screening of Gregory Nava’s “El Norte” (U.S.-U.K.-Mexico, 1983); and an afternoon celebration of the life of Pierre Rissient.

The full 2018 Telluride lineup can be found below. The 45th annual event runs Aug. 31 – Sept. 3.


“Angels Are Made of Light” (d. James Longley, U.S.-Denmark-Norway, 2018)
“Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché” (d. Pamela E. Green, U.S., 2018)
“The Biggest Little Farm” (d. John Chester, U.S., 2018)
“Birds of Passage” (d. Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego, Colombia-Denmark-Mexico, 2018)
“Border” (d. Ali Abbasi, Sweden, 2018)
“Boy Erased” (d. Joel Edgerton, U.S., 2018)
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (d. Marielle Heller, U.S., 2018)
“Cold War” (d. Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland-France-U.K., 2018)
“Destroyer” (d. Karyn Kusama, U.S., 2018)
“Dogman” (d. Matteo Garrone, Italy-France, 2018)
“Dovlatov” (d. Aleksei German, Russia-Poland-Serbia, 2018)
“The Favourite” (d. Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland-U.K.-U.S., 2018)
First Man (d. Damien Chazelle, U.S., 2018)
“Fistful of Dirt” (d. Sebastián Silva, U.S., 2018)
“Free Solo” (d. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, U.S., 2018)
The Front Runner (d. Jason Reitman, U.S., 2018)
“Ghost Fleet” (d. Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron, U.S., 2018)
“Girl” (d. Lukas Dhont, Belgium-Netherlands, 2018)
“Graves Without a Name” (d. Rithy Panh, France-Cambodia, 2018)
“The Great Buster” (d. Peter Bogdanovich, U.S., 2018)
“Meeting Gorbachev” (d. Werner Herzog and André Singer, U.K.-U.S.-Germany, 2018)
“Non Fiction” (d. Olivier Assayas, France, 2018)
“The Old Man & the Gun” (d. David Lowery, U.S., 2018)
“The Other Side of the Wind” (d. Orson Welles, U.S., 1976/2018)
“Peterloo” (d. Mike Leigh, U.K., 2018)
“Reversing Roe” (d. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, U.S., 2018)
“Roma” (d. Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico, 2018)
“Shoplifters” (d. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2018)
“They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead” (d. Morgan Neville, U.S., 2018)
“Trial by Fire” (d. Ed Zwick, U.S., 2018)
“Watergate — or, How We Learned to Stop an Out-of-Control President” (d. Charles Ferguson, U.S., 2018)
“White Boy Rick” (d. Yann Demange, U.S., 2018)
“The White Crow” (d. Ralph Fiennes, U.K., 2018)\

Behind-the-scenes movies and portraits of artists, musicians and filmmakers.

“A Final Cut for Orson: 40 Years in the Making” (d. Ryan Suffern, U.S., 2018) + “The Eyes of Orson Welles” (d. Mark Cousins, U.K., 2018)
“Hal” (d. Amy Scott, U.S., 2018)
“Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America” (d. Brigitte Berman, Canada, 2018)
“It Must Schwing! The Blue Note Story” (d. Eric Friedler, Germany, 2018)
“The Ghost of Peter Sellers” (d. Peter Medak, U.K.-Cyprus, 2018)
“What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael” (d. Rob Garver, U.S., 2018)


“Angel” (d. Ernst Lubitsch, U.S., 1937)
“Bigger Than Life” (d. Nicholas Ray, U.S., 1956)
“Never Cry Wolf” (d. Carroll Ballard, U.S., 1983)
“The Tarnished Angels” (d. Douglas Sirk, U.S., 1957)
“The White Meadows” (d. Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran, 2009)
“To Be or Not to Be” (d. Ernst Lubitsch, U.S., 1942)

Additional film revival programs include “Christian Wahnschaffe, Parts I & II” (d. Urban Gad, Germany, 1920 – 1921), “Fieèvre” (d. Louis Delluc, France, 1921), “Coeur Fid Èle” (d. Louis Delluc, France, 1923) and “Remous” (d. Edmond T. Gréville, France, 1934).

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