I must say: my experience at the 35th annual Telluride Film Festival was WAY different from my experience at Cannes a few months ago. Not bad different, just different.
For starters, no one dressed up at Telluride – and thank god for that because a) many of its attendees, like me, spent their nights in tents at nearby campgrounds (evening gowns are not conducive to fire-building), b) it gets way too cold in the mountains to worry about looking pretty when you can easily throw on some jeans and a sweater (or five sweaters, in my case), and c) who wants to be confined to the streets in nice outfits when jeans and t-shirts mean you can go hiking in the middle of the day?? Needless to say, I look pretty awful in most of the pictures, but I don’t care one bit – I’ll pick comfort over style any day!
Second, I actually got to see a ton of movies this time around 🙂 At Cannes, it was possible to arrive hours before the movie started, wait on line, then get to the front only to be told there were no more seats for movie-lovers because they needed to save them for Buyers, Producers, Marketers, etc. AKA: If you don’t have money to give to the production, you’re outta luck. Now, this policy is fair, since for many of these independent films, the festivals are their main source of income, but I still don’t have to like it, right? On the contrary, my Cinephile pass for Telluride meant I could only see certain movies at certain times, BUT when I got to the line an hour before the film started, I was given a “Q,” which held my place in line. So if my “Q” was #14, I could go away, get breakfast, come back 15 minutes before the film started, and STILL be the 14th person to get inside the theater. Pretty neat huh? It was doubly cool if the film was being shown at the Chuck Jones Cinema, cuz then the “Q” is called a “W2,” which stands for “Wabbit Weservation,” in honor of the late animator’s most beloved Looney Toons creation, Bugs Bunny. It goes without saying that that was my favorite of all the venues. Then again, most of the films we saw happened to screen there…so maybe I’m biased? Check out all the films shown at Telluride
Thirdly, Cannes is beautiful, but at no time during my stay there did I get to have a moment alone to bask in its beauty or just to reflect on the fact that I – me! – was actually in FRANCE. Telluride is a tiny town (population 2,500) situated in a box canyon, which means the only way in is also the only way out, because it’s surrounded by mountains on three sides. The festival attracts tons of people to this remote location, but the landscape was so vast I always found unexpected time alone. Check out the pictures below to see what I mean.
Lastly, I spent so much time trying to beat the lines to get into venues to see movies at Cannes that I didn’t do much else. If I get to go back to France a second time, I vow to explore more of the region! I and my traveling companions (my boyfriend Eric and his parents, Karl and Susan) arrived in Colorado a few days before the festival, and we used it to explore the ancient Indian ruins in Mesa Verde National Park. It was the perfect way to acclimatize (get our sea-level lungs used to the higher altitude) and introduce ourselves back to nature before our total immersion in all things beautiful, cinematically and environmentally. Take a look!
A view of Cliff Palace, the largest Anasazi Ruin in Mesa Verde National Park, just before we went on a hike to tour it: Me, hiding amidst the creepy branches of a big tree that was lost in the wildfires of 2002:
Eric and I on line at the Chuck Jones Cinema:
Yes it really does get this cold at night in the mountains! Me all bundled up in my sleeping bag:…and then Eric trapped me in a really awesome old-school telephone booth:The tail end of a beautiful sunset: