Location, Location, LocationEither it’s too remote or it’s a perfect little island. Telluride Mountain Village toward summer’s end is a stunning mountain enclave that creates a cinematic crucible that may heighten your emotions at a nearly 9,000 foot elevation. The Telluride Film Festival is immersive, intimate, and inclusive in a location that’s been called the “Festival Capital of the Southwest” because of Telluride’s diverse events but primarily for the intense habitat it creates for festival-goers to connect. With mountains closely surrounding the town, you’ll feel like you’re in your own private room or womb, depending upon whether a particular film takes you back to childhood (often the case with Telluride films). Being surrounded by the world’s most avid film buffs creates a sense of community faster than jumping into a naked hot tub in the 1970s. You’re going to make friends here because everyone has an opinion on the film they just saw and they want to share it with you. Trust us, while it does seem a little too personal for some introverts, the level of conversation you’re going to have about films, and, more importantly, life in Telluride may prove to be transformational for you.
“What was Hot?” not “Who was Hot?” at the Telluride Film FestivalThe buzz out of many acclaimed film festivals is more about the red carpets, the insider’s parties, the paparazzi. Cannes, Toronto, Venice, Sundance, Berlin: these might be the 5 most influential film festivals in the world, and the annual events grease the wheels of industry that fuel Hollywood and Bollywood. But, the cinephile-friendly Telluride Film Festival feels purer, more focused on just the love of great art and the telling of story. This festival has also become more prestigious in the past few years, happening just before TIFF (Toronto) and Venice festivals, in premiering films that go on to win the Oscar less than a half-year later. The 2011-2013 Best Picture winners at the Oscars had their North American debuts at Telluride. Savvy programming is one of Telluride’s greatest strengths and it shows up in multiple ways beyond their ability to pick Oscar winners: erudite symposiums and panels, restored classics, tributes to film greats every morning, celebrated authors doing book signings, and a “Filmmakers of Tomorrow” program that features the next Steven Spielberg or George Lucas. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to fit it all in your schedule. Expect long, lovely days as you do three or four films and a panel or two.
Lots of Altitude, No AttitudeTelluride prides itself on being different than nearby Sundance. There are no audience awards and little competition so the the drama is left for what's on screen. There are no glitzy sponsor parties that are only available for the rarefied celebrities in the crowd. You’re likely to see more celebrities per capita at Telluride than any other festival, yet in this environment, they’re people just like you and me. The fact that the Telluride Film Festival starts with its annual Opening Night Feed street party and ends with a Labor Day picnic in the city park adds to the inclusive, casual nature of the whole event. And, for all these reasons, this film festival may have the most evangelic following of any film fest in the world—we’ve met folks who’ve gone to every one of the 40 annual film gatherings in Telluride. Think of this festival as almost being a college homecoming as many TFF attendees are more loyal to this festival than they are to their alma mater. Read more about why we think Telluride is the best film festival in the world.