Telluride: Robert Redford's 'The Old Man & The Gun' to Kick Off Fest (Exclusive)

The fest's 'Patron's Preview' showing helped to catapult films like ‘The Descendants,’ ‘Argo,’ ‘Wild’ and ‘La La Land’ into past Oscar races.
Courtesy of TIFF
'The Old Man and the Gun'

The Old Man & the Gun, a David Lowery dramedy starring Robert Redford in what the screen legend has said will be his last performance on film, will kick off the 45th Telluride Film Festival on Friday afternoon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The festival, which takes place high in the Rocky Mountains, revealed its lineup and schedule on Thursday, with films set to start screening on Friday. As always, though, there is an off-the-books "Patron's Preview" showing on Friday afternoon for sponsors and press — a highly coveted slot that has helped to catapult films like The Descendants (2011), Argo (2012), Wild (2014) and La La Land (2016) into past Oscar races, but which has also showcased films that more or less failed to launch, such as Labor Day (2013), He Named Me Malala (2015) and Downsizing (2017).

Fox Searchlight, which is distributing The Old Man & The Gun, was also behind The Descendants, Wild and He Named Me Malala, and arrives at this year's fest with two other films as well: The Favorite, which is coming from Venice, and Can You Ever Forgive Me?.

Lowery and his producers were seen around town on Thursday, and Redford is expected to join them on Friday. He last attended the fest five years ago, when he was the subject of a career tribute attached to a screening of All Is Lost. The 82-year-old has since appeared in the features Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), A Walk in the Woods (2015), Truth (2015), the Lowery-directed Pete's Dragon (2016), The Discovery (2017) and Our Souls at Night (2017).

The Old Man & the Gun, which is based on David Grann's 2003 New Yorker article about Forrest Tucker, a man who escaped from San Quentin prison at the age of 70, will be released in theaters on Sept. 28.

This year, for the first time in many years, the Patron's Preview screening will not take place at the Chuck Jones Cinema in Mountain Village. Instead, it will be held in town at the Herzog Theater, which can accommodate 150 more moviegoers (650 seats versus 500 seats).

The Telluride Film Festival enters this edition having screened each of the last eight and nine of the last 10 best picture Oscar winners — Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The King's Speech (2010), The Artist (2011), Argo (2012), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Birdman (2014), Spotlight (2015), Moonlight (2016) and The Shape of Water (2017) — programming feats that can be matched by no other film festival.