Telluride fest taps Payne

'Sideways' filmmaker to serve as guest director

Filmmaker Alexander Payne will serve as the 2009 guest director of the 36th Telluride Film Festival, which runs Sept. 4-7 in Telluride, Colo.

Payne, an Oscar winner for the screenplay of "Sideways," which he also directed, will be involved in the fest's programming decisions and will be selecting several overlooked films for the program.

"Alexander has succeeded in programming a group of films with both rarity and variety," said fest co-director Gary Meyer. "We have a sophisticated audience at Telluride, and he has met the challenge and exceeded our highest expectations."

"I have had the pleasure of knowing Alexander for many years -- from the time he was a Stanford student who came to see rare films at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley and throughout his career," added co-director Tom Luddy. "Our partnership with him on this year's festival has been seamless."

Payne's directorial credits also include "About Schmidt," "Election" and "Citizen Ruth."

In keeping with Telluride tradition, Payne's film selections, along with the rest of the Telluride program, will be kept secret until announced on the fest's opening day.