The Telluride Film Festival may only reveal its lineup the day before it begins but intrepid festival watchers can largely figure out what’s going to world premiere here once the announcements for Venice, Toronto and New York are made.
This year, the quiet Colorado mountain town will bring the first looks at some major fall and winter films, and with it a gondola full of Oscar buzz. Lined up are: David Lowery’s The Old Man & The Gun, starring Academy Award winner Robert Redford (in his final acting performance) as an escaped con; Academy Award nominee Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, starring Academy Award nominee Hugh Jackman as presidential candidate Gary Hart; Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, starring Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman as the survivor of an undercover police operation; Yann Demange’s true-crime tale White Boy Rick, starring Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey; and Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased starring Lucas Hedges in the true story a young man forced to undergo gay conversion therapy, that also stars Academy Award winners Russell Crowe and (again) Nicole Kidman.
Netflix is making a big showing with Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and the final film from Orson Welles, The Other Side of the Wind, which makes its world premiere here. It will be a Welles overload as the festival will also be showing Morgan Neville’s doc about the making of the movie, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead; a documentary short produced by Frank Marshall, A Final Cut for Orson: 40 Years in the Making; and Mark Cousins’ doc The Eyes of Orson Welles.
Speaking of docs, non-fiction films will get some major play this year at Telluride with Free Solo, about the first person to succeed at a free solo climb of Yosemite’s El Capitan Wall, from Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi; John Chester’s doc The Biggest Little Farm about Molly Chester’s eight-year experience of creating her own farm; Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron’s Ghost Fleet, which follows Thailand human rights activist Patima Tungpuchayakul as she sets out to rescue fishermen who’ve been forced into virtual slavery. There’s also Telluride staple Werner Herzog with Meeting Gorbachev.
A handful of lauded Cannes award winners and favorites also pepper the field including official Oscar submissions like Belgium’s Girl (Camera d’Or winner), Colombia’s Birds of Passage, Sweden’s Border, and Japan’s Shoplifters (Palme d’Or). Italy’s Dogman (Best Actor) and Poland’s Cold War (Best Director) are also ready to give the American festival audience a look.
Major films making their debuts at Venice but showing up here and/or Toronto include Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite starring Olivia Colman and Academy Award winners Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle brings First Man.
Other highlights include the 35th-anniversary presentation of a restored version of Gregory Nava’s seminal immigrant story El Norte, which will get an outdoor screening.
As an awards watcher, each year brings us statistic and records that are either broken or keep holding. Last year we two major stats fall: a Best Picture winner from December (a 14-year record) and a Best Picture winner not nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Cast award (a 23-year record). Both of those, of course, were broken by Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. But, the one thing that held was that it played at the Telluride Film Festival. Since 2012, every Best Picture winner has hit Telluride as a part of their launching pad to the Oscars. From Argo to The Shape of Water. Eventually, this is a streak that will be broken too, especially with broader Academy inclusion and shorter Oscar windows. But for now, looking at what is here, we very well might have our next Best Picture winner.
The full list of the new features in Telluride’s main program:
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)
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)
FIRST MAN (d. Damien Chazelle, U.S., 2018)
FISTFUL OF DIRT (d. Sebastián Silva, U.S., 2018)
FREE SOLO (d. Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, 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)
MEETING GORBACHEV (d. Werner Herzog and André Singer, U.K.-U.S.-Germany, 2018)
NON FICTION (d. Olivier Assayas, France, 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)
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (d. John and Molly Chester, U.S., 2018)
THE FAVOURITE (d. Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland-U.K.-U.S., 2018)
THE FRONT RUNNER (d. Jason Reitman, U.S., 2018)
THE GREAT BUSTER (d. Peter Bogdanovich, U.S., 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)
THE WHITE CROW (d. Ralph Fiennes, U.K., 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)