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Telluride: 'Wild' World Premiere Will Kick Off Fest

Reese Witherspoon's Oscar hopeful takes the "Patron Preview" slot

Reese Witherspoon Wild Still - H 2014
Fox Searchlight
Reese Witherspoon in Jean-Marc Vallee's 'Wild'

Fox Searchlight's highly anticipated Oscar hopeful Wild will be the first film to screen at the 41st Telluride Film Festival, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The fest's organizers have picked it to be the film at the center of this year's "Patron Preview," a special screening that is open only to the fest's biggest spenders, who usually only learn the identity of the film they will be seeing once they are already seated in the Chuck Jones Theatre.

The screening of the drama, which was directed by Dallas Buyers Club helmer Jean-Marc Vallee and stars Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon as a troubled young woman who embarks on a dangerous solo hike, will immediately be followed by a Q&A with Vallee and Witherspoon. (THR will post a full report about the entire gathering shortly after it ends.)

Wild also stars Telluride regular Laura Dern (who attends the fest even in years in which she is not associated with a film) and has been likened to another Searchlight film that premiered at Telluride in 2010 (Danny Boyle's 127 Hours). It will screen several more times in Telluride this weekend before heading north of the border for a Sept. 8 gala screening at the Toronto International Film Festival en route to a platform release commencing on Dec. 5.

The high-profile "Patron Preview" slot has previously been accorded to films that have gone on to great awards season success (i.e. Ben Affleck's Argo two years ago) and none at all (i.e. Jason Reitman's Labor Day last year). A Fox Searchlight film last occupied this slot three years ago, when The Descendants kicked things off with star George Clooney in tow.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg