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I had the pleasure to attend my first Telluride Film Festival this year. As a 9 year Colorado resident and a huge movie fan, this was very long overdue.  I saw quite a few movies and mingled with various industry types from well known directors to prominent members of the movie press. It was an unforgettable cinematic experience that I hope occurs every year.

 

Even though passes arrange in price and accessibility, there is a sense of equality and community among everyone who attends the festival. There is plenty to do for free this weekend. A highlight was watching Aaron Sorkin, Danny Boyle, Seth Rogen, and Kate Winslet discuss the unconventional Steve Jobs bio-pic which is reminiscent of a three act play instead of the traditional narrative structure.  This happened outside in Elks Park. I arrived 45 minutes early to secure a decent spot.

 

IMAG0450Aaron Sorkin, Danny Boyle, Seth Rogen, and Kate Winslet discussing Steve Jobs.

 

Another first for me involved taking part in a poll of movie critics who attended the Telluride Film Festival which was hosted by Michael’s Telluride Film Blog. I was along some big players including Anne Thompson & Eric Kohn of IndieWire, Kris Tapley of Variety, Sasha Stone of Awards Daily, and Tomris Laffly at Film Journal among many others.

 

Here is how I ranked each movie with the group average score in parenthesis:

 

1) Son of Saul – 5 (4.44)

2) Anomalisa – 5 (4.42)

3) Spotlight – 4 (4.41)

4) Steve Jobs – 5 (4.31)

5) Beasts of No Nation – N/A (4.27)

6) Carol – 5 (4.11)

7) 45 Years – 4 (4.06)

8) Taxi – N/A (4.00)

9) Black Mass – 3 (3.85)

10) Time to Choose – 4 (3.57)

11) Room – 4 (3.50)

12) Suffragette – 3 (3.49)

13) He Named Me Malala – N/A (2.83)

— Rams – 4 (N/A)

— Tikkun – 4 (N/A)

— Heart of a Dog – 4 (N/A)

 

Honestly, I wanted to give 45 Years, Room, and Spotlight a 4.5 but decided against it. I had given too many 5’s anyway. Since Taxi, Beasts of No Nation, and He Named Me Malala will play at my local Landmark in the coming weeks (plus Beasts will stream on Netflix), I focused on more hard-to-find-in-Denver movies to watch. It is tempting to decide between a big movie with an in-person appearance from a talented filmmaker playing at an easy to access venue or an obscure movie playing in a smaller venue that is difficult to get into.

 

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Playing this strategy paid off. I skipped higher profile movies for Son of Saul which is one of the best movies of 2015. The Hungarian Holocaust drama plays like the best of any thriller because it is consistently jarring and haunts audiences well after the ending. It grabs viewers and doesn’t let go. We watched it on 35MM and wasn’t disappointed. The frontrunner to win the Best Foreign Language Oscar, it deserves numerous awards nominations including Picture, Director, Cinematography, and Sound. I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Maybe I will review it in more detail in the coming weeks?

 

I will finish this with a shot of me on the gondola overlooking the beautiful Colorado landscape. I love living in this state!

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