August 31, 2014 12:49am PT by Scott Feinberg
Telluride: A Film Fest That Knows How to Party
The Telluride Film Festival isn't just about screening movies. Attendees of the four-day event also find time to squeeze in a number of receptions and parties, most of which take place on Saturday afternoon and evening, and all of which feature conversation about which films are most worth seeing and which company is said to be close to acquiring something, amid other chatter and gossip. Here is a recap of this Saturday's gatherings.
The Hollywood Reporter and UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Party
This late-afternoon cocktail party at the Telluride Art Gallery drew a number of folks associated with films at this year's fest, including Steve Carell (who is almost unrecognizable in Foxcatcher), Quincy Jones (producer of Keep on Keepin' On), Morten Tyldum (the Norwegian filmmaker here with his English-language debut The Imitation Game), Wim Wenders (here with The Salt of the Earth), Gabe Polsky (the popular doc Red Army), Fred Roos (producer of Apocalypse Now, which is here celebrating its 35th anniversary), Alan Hicks (director of Keep on Keepin' On) and Paula DuPre Pesmen (producer of Keep on Keepin' On). Also present were Telluride Film Festival co-directors Julie Huntsinger and Tom Luddy; AFI Fest director Jacqueline Lyanga; Savannah Film Festival director Christina Routhier; UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television dean Teri Schwartz; Columbia University director of undergraduate film studies Annette Insdorf; Brandeis University film, television and interactive media studies chair Alice Kelikian; Loyola Marymount University school of film and television dean Stephen Ujlaki; Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences communications director Teni Melidonian; and Telluride regular/How to Train Your Dragon 2 producer Bonnie Arnold. (See more photos here.)
Photo (l-r): Schwartz, Melidonian, Lyanga and Routhier
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Party
The Academy, which is one of the fest's major sponsors, hosts an annual gathering for its many members who live in or descend upon Telluride for the fest. (The event is only open to members and their +1s; a couple of other journos and I gained entrance thanks to the kindness of members who invited us to be their guests.) This year's impressive turnout included Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, plus numerous people with films at this year's fest: Steve Carell, Quincy Jones, Wim Wenders, Fred Roos, Reese Witherspoon (star of Wild, who was accompanied by her husband, CAA agent Jim Toth), Hilary Swank (star of The Homesman and recipient of a festival tribute), Bennett Miller (director of Foxcatcher), Steve James (director of the Roger Ebert doc Life Itself), Chaz Ebert (who is featured in Life Itself), Gael Garcia Bernal (star of Rosewater), Bill Pohlad (producer of Wild), Jean-Marc Vallee (director of Wild), Laura Dern (scene-stealer of Wild), Megan Ellison (producer of Foxcatcher), the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (co-directors of Two Days, One Night), John Milius (making a rare public appearance in support of the 35th anniversary of Apocalypse Now, which he wrote), Carroll Ballard (here with several shorts), Ethan Hawke (director of the doc Seymour), Xavier Dolan (director of Mommy), Yann Demange (director of '71) and Tom Bernard (the co-chief of Sony Pictures Classics, which has many films at the fest). Also in attendance: Bryan Lourd (partner, managing director and co-chair of CAA), Nancy Utley (co-president of Fox Searchlight and member of the Academy's Board of Governors), Jonathan Sehring (IFC/Sundance Selects chief currently riding high thanks to the success of Boyhood), Howard Cohen (co-president of Roadside Attractions), Julie Huntsinger, Tom Luddy and Bonnie Arnold.
Photo (l-r): Toth, Witherspoon and Isaacs
Sony Pictures Classics Dinner
The company, which always comes to the fest with a handful of films and often leaves with one or two more, hosted its annual intimate dinner at La Marmotte, where it commandeers several different tables. SPC co-chiefs Michael Barker and Tom Bernard were joined by representatives from each of their seven 2014 Telluride entries: Foxcatcher (Miller, Carell and Channing Tatum, opposite whom I was fortunate to be seated); Mr. Turner (writer Mike Leigh and actress Marion Bailey), Red Army (Gabe Polsky), Leviathan (Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev), Merchants of Doubt (director Robert Kenner), The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders) and Wild Tales (director Damian Szifron).
Fox Searchlight Party
For the second year in a row, the specialty division took over the New Sheridan Hotel's bar and backroom for a celebration of its films and filmmakers. This year's gathering began immediately after the North American premiere of Searchlight's Birdman, and guests received posters of that film and the company's other film that's playing here, Wild. In the house when I stopped by were Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, as well as Gael Garcia Bernal, Megan Ellison, Quincy Jones and Justin Kauflin, the piano-prodigy subject of Keep on Keepin' On (who will be performing a concert in the park tomorrow evening).
Photo (l-r): Tyldum and his wife Janne Tyldum