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LIghts, Camera, Action: The 41st Telluride Film Festival

Labor Day is synonymous with the end of summer barbeques and getting together with friends over a long weekend.  In Telluride, it also means it’s time for  the Telluride Film Festival. 

Now in its 41st year, the Telluride Film Festival does not draw the paparazzi with camera flashes or glammed up stars striking a pose on the red carpet but it does attract a loyal following of cinephiles who come to this intimate festival to celebrate the art of film. There are probably behind the scene politics that occur with producers and directors vying for the best spots to create buzz about their films and snag a distribution deal but to the non industry person, the Film Festival seems quite laid back.

Year after year, the amazing staff of the Telluride Film Festivals transforms very ordinary and utilitarian spaces like a high school gym and a hockey rink into amazing theatres . The transformation is so drastic and complete that it’s easy to forget  you are watching a film, that could very likely go on to win an Oscar, on a basketball court. 

In fact, five of the last six “Best Picture” winners had their North American premieres in Telluride.. “12 Years a Slave,” “Argo,” “Juno,” “The King’s Speech,” and “Slumdog Millionaire” are just a few films to make their North American debut in Telluride. 

The Film Festival does not reveal the line up of films to the public until opening day of the festival so there is always an element of anticipation and excitement in the air and prompts many conversations about which celebrities will be in town While the festival does draw A-listers each year, they are often hard to spot in civilian clothing, sans make up, fully enjoying being a “regular” person for a few days. 

For those who do not have the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster, the Film Festival offers many freebies. Noon seminars in Elks Park; conversations in the County Courthouse; nightly movies in the Elk’s’ Park open air cinema; Filmmakers of Tomorrow; and films at the Backlot in the library are all free. 

Let’s see what films (and stars)  roll into town for this years’ Film Festival. Drink lots of latte’s this weekend as you never know who you will bump elbows with while standing in line at the coffee shop. 

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