Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Telluride Film Festival Diaries
Seminars and Special Programs

by Leslie Rigoulot

September 1, 1996

To enhance the festival experience and make it a 'learning experience' for aspiring filmmakers, Telluride offers seminars, interviews and special film programs. "Forgotten Silver" is a documentary on the brilliant life of Colin McKenzie, the forgotten New Zealand filmmaker. It was he in fact who developed sound-on-film, color process and who film an aviator in flight six months before the Wright brothers.

Ruby Rich, guest director of the festivals will interview Maggie Cheung, the Hong Kong star who is here to promote "Irma Vep". "Irma" takes a hilarious look at the French film industry, pretensions, life and art.

Trevor Nunn was to have spoken at the seminar on "From stage to screen: What can film actors and directors successfully borrow (steal) from theater?" His plane arrived late so it may be rescheduled. How appropriate it would have been! Nunn joked before the showing of Twelfth Night" that if you take the music out of his current Broadway production, it might make a good movie. Of course, his current show is "Sunset Boulevard".

The Filmmakers of Tomorrow series are shorts from film students and is sponsored by Steven Spielberg. The best of the lot, or at least the funniest is "Genre" directed by Don Herzfeldt of UC Santa Barbara. Although only five minutes long, the animator puts his rabbit protagonist in almost every genre of film from the buddy picture to disaster movie. I expect to see more from him.

Bill Everson, Telluride's co-director died within days of cowboy/actor Ben Johnson so a special tribute to the two is presented. Tom Thurman's film biography of Johnson, "Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy on the Right" will be shown. Tom Thurman, Harry Carey, Jr., and Leonard Maltin will attend.

Power Bar has planned two hikes to keep the blood circulating after sitting through one too many shows. And hiking in these beautiful mountains can't be too hard, can it? They are promising T-shirts and Power Bars to all who make it.

"Great Expectations" is a favorite of mine. Not the movie, the program! Three directors are chosen who are on the verge of making their feature films. Sergei Davydov escaped from Moldova after being expelled from the National Film School of Moldova. He is half Italian and half Russian, so he didn't qualify to be in the school any more. But he certainly has made a big impression with his 23 minute short, "Childhood". He will be participating in the AFI directorial program this year which should enhance his chances of hitting it big. I learned all of this while we waited in line for "Riot" and "Twelfth Night"! He is his own best publicist and that is what it takes.

Amstel Light is sponsoring the Labor Day Picnic on the mountain with lunch, ice cream and I'd imagine a few Amstels. The seminar to be held on the mountain is "Discovering new talent: Is the power in the stories or in the way they are told?"

It is heartening to see the organizers put so much effort into making sure that everyone comes away with something.

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