Guest report from festival attendee Michael Patterson.
The day got off to an amazing start at the annual Patron’s Brunch. The Brunch affords Patrons and Sponsors access, as well as the Fest organizers and a number of the filmmakers a chance to meet and schmooze before any of the films have been screened. The food is fantastic and it’s always fun seeing who shows up. This year’s version did not disappoint. Highlighting the morning (for me) was the appearance of Francis Ford Coppola, reportedly here to introduce his granddaughter Gia’s film “Palo Alto” during the weekend. I actually got to shake the great man’s hand and thank him for the films he’s given us. I’m sure that for him it is a common refrain, but for me it was a very nearly transcendent moment. He was kind enough to stop a moment for a stranger.
Another incredible moment had actually occurred earlier in the morning. Robert Redford had arrived and the grounds of Gray Head (the name of the facility where the brunch is held) was alive with electricity. A few minutes later, Coppola appeared. Redford broke away from the crowd that had engulfed him to greet him. One legend greeting another, it was an incredible sight. Fortunately caught on camera by my wife Kristy.
(photo coming soon)
I also briefly met Bruce Dern this morning. He was also very kind and funny. He’s here starring in Alexander Payne’s highly anticipated film “Nebraska”. I’m planning to see that first thing in the morning. More about my planned schedule for tomorrow a bit later.
Then a long wait for a bus made me almost late for the first screening of the day, the Patron’s screening of Jason Reitman’s “Labor Day” starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. The story of a chance meeting between a single mom, her son and an escaping convict seems to have been generally well received in early reviews. My take: structural issues early in the film are a tough balancing act. I have some issues of credibility in terms of the rapid development of the relationship between the two lead characters and that credibility is crucial to the second half of the film. That said, the second half plays beautifully. Winslet is good and Brolin is outstanding. Child actor Gattlin Griffith is also very good as Winslet’s son.
Following the “Labor Day” screening we scurried over the mountain to my annual meet up with followers of my blog.
Then a quick dinner at the annual “Opening Night Feed.” There the Mrs. got a photo of the one and only Penn Jillette, here with the documentary “Tim’s Vermeer”.
(photo coming soon)
We concluded the night with a screening of “Inside Llewyn Davis” with a Q & A after with Joel and Ethan Coen, T-Bone Burnett and Oscar Issac. The film follows a week in the life of fictional folk singer, the Llewyn Davis of the title-played by Issac. He’s terrific. John Goodman and F. Murray Abraham are great. The music is terrific. I loved the film quite a lot. I think it speaks to anyone who has had any artistic aspirations and who hasn’t seen them fulfilled whether from lack of talent, lack of opportunity or the vagaries of life.
Day One was incredible.
On Day Two I’m currently planning to see “Nebraska”, “Tim’s Vermeer”, “All is Lost”, The Coens’ tribute ceremony and “The Past” if I have enough energy. Of course, that all could change with the announcement of the Friday TBAs (there could be some surprise announcements)! Seven slots to fill tomorrow afternoon and evening.
Michael Patterson has been writing about the Telluride Film Festival since 2008 at Michael’s Telluride Film Blog