Telluride Film Festival

This is my report from the Telluride Film Festival where I just spent five days going to films and making contacts for the project, several of which seem to have real potential.

Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back. All the action at this year’s Telluride film festival was once again based around the New Sheridan Hotel. The original hotel was a wooden structure built in 1891 four years after the town was founded and when it burned down three years later the hotel was rebuilt in brick in 1895 and renamed the “New” Sheridan Hotel. The early days of the Sheridan were splendid and the hotel was the center of social life in the town. The restaurant was considered to be on a par with the famous Brown Derby in Denver and featured large private tables designed for discreet conversations about either business or romance. The hotel was a landmark for years but with little upgrading it went downhill until 1994 when it underwent its first major renovation in 100 years restoring the hotel the restaurant and the bar to their original elegance. Today the hotel features twenty-six luxury   rooms and suites, a beautiful hand carved mahogany bar and a collection of Victorian era antiques and artwork. Thanks to the dedication of owner Joe Steinberg the New Sheridan is once again the place to go in Telluride and this is another story of man investing millions of dollars in a business that he will probably never recoup in order to save an historic place. I am hoping to have the opportunity to interview him and learn more about his vision for the hotel in the near future. I understand that he is also very involved with the planning and direction of the festival.

Sitting on one of the many benches in front of the New Sheridan it is common to see celebrities passing by such as George Clooney who was drawing a big crowd when I saw him out walking. His new film “The Descendants” got good reviews here and my report is that it will do well at the box office. Tilda Swinton who won an Oscar for her performance in “Michael Clayton” was also hanging out at the hotel regularly and the town was buzzing about her new film “We Need to Talk About Kevin”. I saw this film also and from the opening minutes you know that there is something creepy about this kid Kevin. I’m not going to give anything up but I predict that this will be another box office success.

One of my personal favorites that will certainly be a big hit with Beatles’ fans is Martin Scorsese and Olivia Harrison’s new film “Living In The Material World.” This is the life story of George Harrison which incorporates never before seen images and interviews with the famous guitar player from his youth up to the time of his death. I had a fluke introduction to Olivia and then had the opportunity to visit with her on a couple of different occasions. As you can imagine she was very kind and I observed that she was gracious to everyone who approached her. Here’s a couple of things she mentioned while we were visiting :

v     George was a packrat and kept all of his photos and video recordings.

v     He learned early on that fame and the money he made were not terribly important to him and he was much more interested in the spiritual aspects of life

v     Director Scorsese cried when he read the letters George had written as a youth

v     George wanted the film to be faithful to the facts of his life and it took 3 years to make.

I personally saw the film right after our last visit and it runs a full 3 ½  hours with interviews not only with Harrison but also with Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and many other famous friends who discuss their feelings about George as a man. The film also includes new, previously unheard, music composed by George. As you might guess this is a top of the line piece of work from a couple of nice folks who are devoted to preserving George’s  memory.

I also saw Glenn Close’s whose new film “Albert Nobbs” was getting a lot of attention as was  “The Island President” and the German film “Pina.” In my opinion the sleeper in all these new movies is called “The Artist” and believe it or not it is a silent film shot entirely in black and white. “The Artist” was made in France last year and stars Penelope Ann Miller, John Goodman and Jean Dujardin who won the best actor award at this yer’s Cannes Film Festival for his role.

There were many other films showing in different locations around town and you just can’t see ‘em all but it’s a lot of fun trying. This weekend there was another big event taking place at fashion designer Ralph Lauren’s 20,000 acre ranch just ten miles away. Three past Presidents are rumored to be in town, along with Johnny Depp, Oprah Winfrey and many more celebrities. Many locals have been hired to work at the event and I have been told that they all have signed confidentiality agreements. All I know for sure is that 27 year old Lauren Bush, the niece of  former President George W. Bush, will marry Ralph’s 39 year old son David at the ranch on Sunday and 200 people are invited.

You may think about going yourself next year so mark your calendar for Labor Day weekend 2012 for the 39th Telluride Film Festival.

Right now I’m burning up the highway to get back to Bartlesville’s own Oklahoma Indian Summer Festival which starts tomorrow at the Community Center. Dee Ketchum and the rest of the committee have worked hard to put together the 24th annual event which provides a showcase for Indian culture and history that is intended for the general public. This is going to be a great weekend and I guarantee that it will be well worth your time.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…..




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