Telluride Film Festival Unveils Lineup: Adam Driver, Martin Scorsese, Renee Zellweger and More

Renee Zellweger in Judy - Publicity - H 2019
David Hindley

Driver and Zellweger will be treated to tributes at the Rocky Mountain event that often functions as a launchpad for Oscar movies.

Only the Telluride Film Festival could bring together Kylo Ren, Martin Scorsese and Bill Gates at the same Labor Day picnic. 

The trio will all be traveling to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains for the 46th annual event, which kicks off Friday, runs through Monday and serves as the stateside starting bell for the fall awards season.

Scorsese, whose new film The Irishman doesn’t premiere until next month at the New York Film Festival, will be on hand to pay tribute to director Agnes Varda; Gates will be in attendance for a screening of Davis Guggenheim’s documentary series about the businessman, Inside Bill’s Brain; and Star Wars star Adam Driver is set to receive a festival tribute featuring his other two upcoming movies, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Scott Z. Burns' The Report.

Telluride will also unveil such world premieres as James Mangold’s Ford v. Ferrari, which stars Matt Damon as auto designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as race-car driver Ken Miles; Rupert Goold’s Judy, featuring Renee Zellweger as a late-career Judy Garland; Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems, with Adam Sandler as a scam-artist jeweler; Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn, an adaptation of the 1999 Jonathan Lethem detective novel starring Norton and Bruce Willis; and Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts, featuring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne as a pair of adventuring hot air balloonists.

Fall festival season is arriving in the midst of what has been a dismal year at the box office for many movies geared toward the grown-up cinephile audience Telluride serves. “I hope everybody gets inspiration and we all keep committed to making movies like this,” says festival director Julie Huntsinger, who programs Telluride together with Tom Luddy. “Every time I worry that it is not going to happen and everything is just going to become giant superhero movies. I love giant superhero movies, but we can't just eat steak. I get worried that people aren't going to make Coquille St. Jacques, too.”

Movies that bowed earlier in the year at Cannes will have their first public screenings for stateside audiences, including Bong Joon-Ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite, Celine Sciamma’s historical drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Terrence Malick’s World War II drama A Hidden Life.

Significant documentaries appearing at Telluride include Lauren Greenfield’s Imelda Marcos movie The Kingmaker, Asif Kapadia’s sports yarn Diego Maradona and Ken Burns’ newest series, Country Music.

Of the 30 new feature films screening, five are directed by women, including Kitty Green’s The Assistant, starring Julia Garner as a powerful executive’s aide; Kelly Reichardt’s frontier tale First Cow; and Varda’s autobiographical Varda by Agnes.

Also planned are Silver Medallion tributes to Zellweger and director Philip Kaufman, alongside a restoration of his 1988 drama The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Guest director Pico Iyer has programmed an array of international films, including Japanese helmer Yasujiro Ozu’s Late Autumn (1960), Indian filmmaker Aparna Sen’s Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002) and Czech director Vitaly Mansky’s Under the Sun (2015).

Though Huntsinger and Luddy always say they program without regard to awards, Telluride had a remarkable streak, screening the eventual best picture winner every year for eight years in a row starting in 2010 until last year’s best picture winner, Green Book, which premiered in Toronto.

“Last year was a weird year and everybody had something to say about everything,” Huntsinger says. “When you have that kind of cacophony, I don't think there is consensus. I felt like we had the best movie of the year last year, and I know that we have the best movie of the year here this year.”

The full list of the new feature films in Telluride's main program is below.

A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, U.S.-Germany, 2019)
Beanpole (Kantemir Balagov, Russia, 2019)
Coup 53 (Taghi Amirani, U.K., 2019)
Diego Maradona (Asif Kapadia, U.K., 2019)
Judy (Rupert Goold, U.K.-U.S, 2019)
Family Romance (Werner Herzog, U.S.-Japan, 2019)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, U.S., 2019)
Ford v. Ferrari (James Mangold, U.S., 2019)
The Kingmaker (Lauren Greenfield, U.S., 2019)
Lyrebird (Dan Friedkin, U.S., 2019)
Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, U.S., 2019)
Motherless Brooklyn (Edward Norton, U.S., 2019)
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Ric Burns, U.S., 2019)
Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 2019)
Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea, 2019)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Celine Sciamma, France, 2019)
Tell Me Who I Am (Ed Perkins, U.K., 2019)
The Aeronauts (Tom Harper, U.S-U.K., 2019)
The Assistant (Kitty Green, U.S., 2019)
The Australian Dream (Daniel Gordon, Australia, 2019)
The Climb (Michael Angelo Covino, U.S., 2019)
The Human Factor (Dror Moreh, U.K., 2019)
The Report (Scott Z. Burns, U.S., 2019)
The Two Popes (Fernando Merirelles, U.K., 2019)
Those Who Remained (Barnabas Toth, Hungary, 2019)
Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, U.S., 2019)
Varda by Agnes (Agnes Varda, France, 2019)
Verdict (Raymund Ribay Gutierrez, Philippines, 2019)
Waves (Trey Edward Shults, U.S., 2019)
Women Make Film (Mark Cousins, U.K., 2019)