So, here we are at Day 3 of the Telluride Film Festival, and surprisingly, the hottest buzz of the fest seems to be all about Juno, which sneak-previewed to a sold-out house yesterday and is playing TBA screenings tonight and tomorrow. Tonight's screening at The Nugget, which holds only 186 fest-goers, was sold out as well -- I heard from folks who were in line that there were some 150 Patrons in line for the screening, which included a Q&A with director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, and that pretty much everyone else was out of luck. The folks I talked to on the gondola waited in line for three hours (!) only to get turned away. Fortunately, they were given queue cards for tomorrow's screening, which will be at a bigger venue (and which likely will also be packed).
Other films I'm hearing good buzz about include The Counterfeiters (loved it, and will be reviewing it maybe later tonight if I'm not too wiped after my last screening) and Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn, who is here in Telluride and participated in two panels. The filmmaker, who has a reputation for being a bit surly, must really love the mountain air (or perhaps his mood is up because his film is getting raves), because at both panels he was warm, inviting, funny and penetratingly intelligent. Today's panel was about Into the Wild and as well as Penn, included Jon Krakauer, the author of the book on which the film is based, and director Werner Herzog, whose film Encounters at the End of the World is also playing the fest. Into the Wild is based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who, after graduating from college, gave all his worldly possessions and money to charity and went to live in the Alaskan wilderness. I'm hoping to catch this film at a TBA tomorrow.
Some lesser-known films I'm hearing good-to-mixed buzz on are Secret Sunshine, for which the lead actress, Do-yeon Jeon, won Best Actress at Cannes, Jar City, Wind Man, Brick Lane and Blind Mountain. With only one day to go on the fest, I won't be able to catch all of these, but as soon as tomorrow's TBAs are out I'll start planning my day. I plan to cram in four films around the big Labor Day picnic. Another thing I'm hearing is an awful lot of passholders complaining about not being about to get into screenings, even after waiting in line for hours. I can understand the sentiment -- a Festival Pass to Telluride costs almost $700, and for that kind of change, you want to be able to see some serious movies.
I talked to folks yesterday, Day 2 of the fest, who'd only been able to see a couple films so far because of lines and so many Patrons and Sponsors lining up at the smaller venues (Patrons and Sponsors get in first, and then regular passholders). I don't know what the fest can do about this other than build more and bigger venues (I believe they're building one or have plans to already) or limit the number of passes even more than they do now, which would cut into the revenue that makes the fest possible, but there are an awful lot of frustrated passholders.
I did three interviews today: with Alison Eastwood, director of Rails & Ties, Tom Luddy, fest co-director, and Diablo Cody, screenwriter of Juno. All three interviews were interesting, and I'll get them transcribed and available for you to read as soon as possible. Also today I saw Secret Sunshine and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, both of which I'll be reviewing. One more screening tonight, of Cannes winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and then writing until I'm too tired to see straight. Stay tuned ...