Thursday, July 18, 2024

Telluride Film Festival is a “Go” for September 3rd in Colorado Mountains, But Will Stars, Execs Make the Trip?


The Telluride Film Festival has decided to press on despite the pandemic. They’ll begin one day early, on September 3rd, to give everyone a chance to find chic enough masks to wear in the Colorado Mountains.

Telluride is a very private festival. They don’t announce their film list until you’ve plunked down a considerable amount of money. This is one festival where you pay for your press pass, and it’s expensive. Everything there is expensive, including the hotels and the airfare. But the upside is intimate private time with the stars and makers of films that may go on to win the Oscar.

Will all the players come this year? I’ll bet they will, simply because of a summer of boredom. Will they get sick? Some will say it would be worth it. Good luck to them. But I suppose the town of Telluride needs the revenue, so one way or another there’s got to be a festival. The dates, by the way, overlap with Venice and precede Toronto.

The New Yorkers and Hollywooders who fly into Telluride should know that Colorado has not been spared from the pandemic. The Rocky Mountain State has had 23,964 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,327 deaths so far.

Here’s the full Telluride statement:

From the very beginning, the founders of the Telluride Film Festival declined to call it an “annual” event. Like most things with the SHOW, this was intentional. There was an understanding that life is indeed full of uncertainty. Maybe there wouldn’t be a festival every year…and it has made each eventual Labor Day celebration that much sweeter.

We see clearly the obstacles that are cruelly, tragically and stubbornly in our way this year in orders of magnitude our dear founders might not ever have envisioned.

But there has been a determination to proceed, in large part fueled by the voices in our community. This community understands that movies really are empathy machines, that when we assemble to witness the glories of cinema together, something magical happens. We humbly suggest that our world needs the light of cinema and its beautiful by-products of compassion and emotional storytelling alchemy like never before.

We are not ignorant of the devastation facing the world. We feel the fear and distress too. This is why we are committed to observing all guidance as suggested by the consensus of voices of the scientific community with whom we are consulting now. This will not be a business as usual event. Things will look and feel very different.

We’re contacting you today to let you know we’re hard at work to provide a safe and joyous environment that will include an extra day to allow more space within and between screenings, along with all of the necessary safety tweaks and adjustments you’ve become very familiar with, regardless of where you call home.

The festival will begin Thursday, September 3, instead of Friday, and will end on Monday, as usual. We will have a charter from New York City, in addition to our usual charters from Los Angeles, to ensure easier and more controlled transit for our East Coast friends.

Your comfort and safety are the most important things to us. A defining characteristic of our community and especially of the dedicated volunteers who bring you the SHOW, is remarkable willpower – and grit. We promise to marshal these qualities to create the most secure environment possible for all of us.

For those of you who opt to not join us, we absolutely understand and support this decision. Your reasons surely involve heightened personal health concerns and you must do what is the very best for you. We trust and hope you’ll be back with us the next time we can provide optimal conditions for the SHOW. May that be soon.

In the meantime, we will let you know additional and specific information in the coming weeks.

For every gesture of support you have shown us, we thank you — very, very much.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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