It’s no secret that I love film festivals-I’m the happiest and most fulfilled in that environment. Every once in a while somebody asks me, “Which is your favorite?” My answer for the past 25 years has been the same: Telluride Film Festival. Nothing comes close. Nothing quite compares.
One of the things that make it so special is the journey to get there. It’s not easy. At 9,000 feet above sea level, flying in is scary. I prefer to drive up the million-dollar highway from Durango, Colorado, into this little town, where gorgeous, steep peaks surround Old West architecture. Once you arrive, the sheer beauty of the place takes your breath away-or is that altitude sickness? This place feels like home to me, with the mountains safekeeping the greatest film adventure of them all.
In this festival, it’s all about quality, not quantity. It only screens 35 films in four days. You don’t know the schedule beforehand. You have to form lines before every movie unless you buy a really expensive patron pass. They give you a place in line an hour before every screening-so you wait, turn to your neighbor, and talk movies. Though I’m ultimately shy, I will talk to complete strangers in Telluride because the subject is movies, from what we just saw to what we are about to see. It just doesn’t get any better.
It’s a festival filled with quirkiness, featuring a mixture of overlooked classics, unearthed treasures, the latest indie gems, and a handful of Oscar hopefuls. No film is presented without its artists. And there are no red carpets, so everybody is approachable.