The 46th annual Telluride Film Festival, often a harbinger of Oscar hopefuls, announced its full schedule Thursday morning, and as usual it includes an eclectic variety of films meant to put cineastes in hog heaven over the Labor Day weekend.
Among the Oscar-buzzed world premieres, perhaps the buzziest is James Mangold’s racing drama Ford v Ferrari, which stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Renee Zellweger stars as the immortal Judy Garland in Judy, and Zellweger will also be the subject of a festival tribute as well. Warner Bros, which has a slew of fall contenders, has chosen Telluride for the world premiere of Motherless Brooklyn, a filmmaking tour-de-force for Edward Norton who stars, directs, produces and wrote the ’50s -set period piece adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel.
A24 often comes to Telluride, where they first debuted the Oscar-winning Room and Moonlight. This year its offerings include the new Safdie Brothers film Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler, director Trey Edward Shults’ romantic drama Waves, and Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow.
The streaming services will be out in force as Netflix will unveil their much anticipated Marriage Story which stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, right on the heels of its debut in Venice. Driver is the subject of another Telluride tribute this year, which also includes his upcoming release from rival streamer Amazon Studios, The Report, the latter becoming the rare Sundance debut to also play Telluride. Netflix also has the world premiere of Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes starring Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins playing Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, respectively.
And although the streamer is holding the debut of his The Irishman for the New York Film Festival, Martin Scorsese will also be coming to the Rockies to participate in the tribute to the late Agnes Varda and her final film, the autobiographical docu series Varda By Agnes. As for Amazon, it will also be world premiering Tom Harper’s hot air balloon adventure The Aeronauts, reuniting Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, last seen together in the Oscar-nominated The Theory of Everything. Unlike Cannes, Telluride clearly is embracing the streamers, despite the fact that some of these films, including both Amazon titles, will be in theaters just two weeks before debuting on the service.
There will be lots of documentaries on view as always, and the usual bounty highlighted in Telluride this year continues with the likes of Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, which first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and is a must-see in my opinion. Telluride is also bringing in numerous North American premieres from last May’s Cannes Film Festival including Palme d’Or winner Parasite; Beanpole; Pedro Almodovar’s Pain And Glory; Terrence Malick’s Fox Searchlight pickup A Hidden Life; Portrait of a Lady on Fire; Family Romance, the inevitable latest entry from Werner Herzoz, the only still-living person to have his own theatre named after him at the Telluride festival; and the comedy The Climb which Sony Pictures Classics picked up out of its Un Certain Regard Cannes premiere.
Although Telluride doesn’t have a market, there will be titles coming in without distribution that are also looking for a sale. These include Dan Friedkin’s highly entertaining and exceptionally well-made period piece Lyrebird, a true story set just weeks after the end of World War II in which a soldier investigates a famed Dutch painter thought to be a Nazi collaborator. Claes Bang, Guy Pierce and Vicki Krieps star in a movie that looks like it would be catnip for the likes of Sony Pictures Classics or Fox Searchlight.
Another title for sale that I have seen could be among the most buzzed in town after its world premiere on Friday night due to its inspiration from one-time Telluride staple (at least his films), Harvey Weinstein. The cinema verite-like The Assistant is the narrative “fictional” debut for Australian documentary filmmaker Kitty Green and stars Ozark Emmy nominee Julia Garner in a remarkable performance as a junior assistant in an unnamed Tribeca film production company who discovers the head of the very successful company she is working for is a sexual predator (never seen on screen or mentioned by name). Among the producers is former Focus Features head James Schamus (see my separate story and interview with Green).
I will be on site covering the 46th Telluride Film Festival, which this year runs from August 30-September 2.
Here’s the full lineup:
- THE AERONAUTS (d. Tom Harper, U.S. – U.K., 2019)
- THE ASSISTANT (d. Kitty Green, U.S., 2019)
- THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM (d. Daniel Gordon, Australia, 2019)
- BEANPOLE (Kantemir Balagov, Russia, 2019)
- THE CLIMB (d. Michael Angelo Covino, U.S., 2019)
- COUP 53 (d. Taghi Amirani, U.K., 2019)
- DIEGO MARADONA (d. Asif Kapadia, U.K., 2019)
- FAMILY ROMANCE, LLC (d. Werner Herzog, U.S. – Japan, 2019)
- FIRST COW (d. Kelly Reichardt, U.S., 2019)
- FORD v FERRARI (d. James Mangold, U.S., 2019)
- JUDY (d. Rupert Goold, U.K.-U.S., 2019)
- A HIDDEN LIFE (d. Terrence Malick, U.S. – Germany, 2019)
- THE HUMAN FACTOR (d. Dror Moreh, U.K., 2019)
- INSIDE BILL’S BRAIN (d. Davis Guggenheim, U.S., 2019)
- THE KINGMAKER (Lauren Greenfield, U.S., 2019)
- LYREBIRD (d. Dan Friedkin, U.S., 2019)
- MARRIAGE STORY (d. Noah Baumbach, U.S., 2019)
- MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (d. Edward Norton, U.S., 2019)
- OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE (d. Ric Burns, U.S., 2018)
- PAIN AND GLORY (d. Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2019)
- PARASITE (d. Bong Joon-ho, South Korea, 2019)
- PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (d. Céline Sciamma, France, 2019)
- THE REPORT (d. Scott Z. Burns, U.S., 2019)
- TELL ME WHO I AM (d. Ed Perkins, U.K., 2019)
- THOSE WHO REMAINED (d. Barnabás Toth, Hungary, 2019)
- THE TWO POPES (d. Fernando Meirelles, U.K., 2019)
- UNCUT GEMS (d. Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, U.S., 2019)
- VARDA BY AGNÈS (d. Agnès Varda, France, 2019)
- VERDICT (d. Raymond Ribay Gutierrez, Philippines, 2019)
- WAVES (d. Trey Edward Schultz, U.S., 2019)
Also playing in the main program is COUNTRY MUSIC (d. Ken Burns, U.S., 2019); WOMEN MAKE FILM: A NEW ROAD MOVIE THROUGH CINEMA (d. Mark Cousins, U.K., 2019); and three short films: FIRE IN PARADISE (d. Zack Canepari, Drea Cooper, U.S., 2019), INTO THE FIRE (d. Orlando von Einsiedel, Iraq-U.K., 2019) and LOS AND FOUND (d. Orlando von Einsiedel, Bangladesh-U.K., 2019).
The 2019 Silver Medallion Awards, given to recognize an artist’s significant contribution to the world of cinema, will be presented to Academy Award winning actress Renée Zellweger (with JUDY), Oscar nominated actor Adam Driver (with MARRIAGE STORY and THE REPORT) and Oscar nominated Philip Kaufman (with newly restored THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING). Tribute programs include a selection of clips followed by the presentation of the Silver Medallion, an onstage interview and a screening of the aforementioned films.
Guest Director Pico Iyer, who serves as a key collaborator in the Festival’s program, presents the following revival programs:
- LATE AUTUMN (d. Yasujirō Ozu, Japan, 1960)
- THE MAKIOKA SISTERS (d. Kon Ichikawa, Japan, 1983)
- MR. AND MRS. IYER (d. Aparna Sen, India, 2002)
- UNDER THE SUN (d. Vitaly Mansky, Czech Republic-Russia-Germany-Latvia-North Korea, 2015)
- WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS (d. Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1960)
Additional film revivals include THE WIND (d. Victor Sjöström, U.S, 1928), and a new 35mm print of THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE (d. Victor Sjöström, Sweden, 1921).
Backlot, Telluride’s intimate screening room featuring behind-the-scenes movies and portraits of artists, musicians and filmmakers, will screen the following programs:
- 63 UP (d. Michael Apted, U.K., 2019)
- BILLIE (d. James Erskine, U.K., 2019)
- CHULAS FRONTERAS (d. Les Blank, U.S., 1976)
- THE GIFT: THE JOURNEY OF JOHNNY CASH (d. Thom Zimny, U.S., 2019)
- LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE (d. Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, U.S., 2019)
- NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN (d. Werner Herzog, U.S., 2019)
- SOROS (d. Jesse Dylan, U.S., 2019)
- UNCLE YANCO (d. Agnès Varda, France-U.S., 1967) + BLACK PANTHERS (d. Agnès Varda, France-U.S., 1968)