Telluride 2012: Sights and Sounds at the Saturday Parties

Telluride Film Festival Main St - H 2012
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Telluride Film Festival Main St - H 2012

The Telluride Film Festival isn't just about screening movies. The compact, four-day festival also finds room to squeeze a number of receptions and parties, most of which took place on Saturday afternoon and evening. Of course, they were full of talk about which films were worth seeing and which company is close to acquiring something -- amid all sorts of other chatter and gossip. 

The Hollywood Reporter and UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television Party

The Hollywood Reporter helped to kick off the weekend with a late-afternoon cocktail gathering at the Arroyo Art Gallery and Wine Bar. Among those in attendance were Hyde Park on Hudson star and Telluride local Laura Linney; B-movie king/festival honoree Roger Corman; Sapphires director Wayne Blair; Ginger & Rosa star Alessandro Nivola; festival co-directors Julie Huntsinger and Tom Luddy; author and festival guest director Geoff Dyer; UCLA film school dean Teri Schwartz; MOMA chief film curator Ranjendra Roy; and Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent. Amid a group of well-wishers, Corman explained why he had motioned to the crowd to stop applauding the night before when director Ken Burns presented him with one of the festival's Silver Medallions. Asked, "Do you simply believe in short takes like the ones in your movies?," Corman replied, "The applause builds to a peak and then dwindles. You gotta cut it off. Go out on top, I figure."

Film Society of Lincoln Center Party

The organization that puts on the annual New York Film Festival, which kicks off Sept. 28,  hosted an afternoon gathering at the restaurant 221 South Oak. Frances Ha star Greta Gerwig and that movie's writer/director Noah Baumbach were there -- their film next goes on to Toronto and then New York -- as were Ginger & Rosa 's Nivola and the film's writer/director Sally Potter. Marion Cotillard dropped by and mingled with Rose Kuo, executive director of the Film Society, Scott Foundas, executive program program director, THR film critic Todd McCarthy, who serves on the selection committee of the New York Film Festival, and New York Times critic A. O. Scott. James Gray, who was a surprise guest at the festival's tribute to Cottilard, was on hand since the actress is starring in his next, untitled movie. Actress Colleen Camp, accompanied by Linney, arrived from a screening of Michael Haneke's Amour, and was so visibly moved that Alexander Payne, who'd recommended the film to her, had to console her, while writer Kim Morgan tried to cheer her up by asking her about her role as one of the Playboy bunnies in Apocalypse Now.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Party

The Academy, which is one of the sponsors of the festival and knows that many of its members attend it each year, hosted an early evening members-only gathering at a private residence. It drew an impressive turnout of bold-faced names, including Argo director/star Ben Affleck and his wife, actress Jennifer Garner; No star Gael Garcia Bernal; Dern, Camp and Gray as they all made the rounds; the party-hopping Nivola; Focus Features chief James Schamus; and producer Ron Yerxa, the new co-head of the Academy's foreign language film committee.

Sony Pictures Classics Dinner

The company, which always exhibits a number of films at the fest (and often leaves with one or two more), hosted its annual dinner at La Marmotte, where it commanded several of the intimate restaurant's tables. SPC co-chiefs Michael Barker and Tom Bernard were joined by representatives from four of their five 2012 Telluride entries: Rust and Bone's Cotillard; At Any Price star Dennis Quaid; Bernal and his No director Pablo Larrain; and Dror Moreh, director of the documentary The Gatekeepers. (SPC is also releasing Amour, which picked up more raves at Telluride, although its filmmakers were not able to make the trek to the festival.)

At one table, journalists switched seats throughout the dinner in order to converse with Bernal and Cotillard, who were seated at opposite ends. Upon arriving, the two European stars hugged and proudly showed each other iPhone pics of their young children. Both had to leave a little early -- Cotillard to receive her career tribute, which was moderated by THR's McCarthy, and Bernal, with Larrain, to introduce the second screening of No, which was held at a nearby outdoor venue.

Bernal talked about a recent incident with his son that reminded him of the magic of the movies, and exuberantly complimented Moreh on the carefully-manipulated pacing of his doc, saying Moreh kept a firm hand on the reins and then sped up excitingly at the end. Moreh agreed the film's finish was like a thoroughbred horse going full gallop in the last stretch of a race. Moreh also touted his own documentary film fest in Mexico, asking Barker and Bernard which territories they cover so that he could pitch it to them. Cotillard, meanwhile, chatted about Ronald Reagan's Kings Row, in which he plays a character who loses his legs, explained the technique used so that she would look an an amputee in her film, and talked about how difficult she has found it to learn other languages -- especially Italian -- for films that she has made outside of France.

Barker told THR that he believes Amour will be up for best picture and that the awards prospects of the film's stars will also benefit from the fact that many Academy members are familiar with their early work in many important European films. "They remember Jean-Louis Trintignant from Z and The Conformist, and Emmannuelle Riva is incredible," said Barker, who noted that the film's Palme d'Or win at Cannes boosts its chances. Asked what he liked at Telluride and whether SPC was thinking of buying any additional films at the fest, he demurred, but said, "Well, I really liked Frances Ha." The German film Paradise: Love is also still without a distributor, and its Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ed Lachman was a guest at the dinner, so perhaps that offers a clue about that film's future.