If Hollywood Elsewhere was to run the Telluride Film Festival, I would make it into an actual four-day festival instead of what it actually is — a three-day if not a two-and-a-half-day festival for a good majority of out-of-towners with tight travel schedules and a pile of deadlines.
If you’re reviewing you’ve got at least 10 hot-ticket movies to see in the space of two and a half days (29 films screened during the 2016 festival, of which maybe 10 or 11 were essentials) and if you can manage to tap out more than four or five graphs per film, you’re the Six Million Dollar Man.
This year everyone will arrive on Thursday, 8.31 — two and half weeks hence. They’ll pick up their passes, square away their lodgings, pick up some groceries and have a nice dinner somewhere. With Friday morning being mainly about the Patron’s picnic, the festival won’t actually start until mid-Friday afternoon with the first Patrons’ screening at the Chuck Jones.
On top of which Telluride often schedules the highest-interest films against each other so you’re always missing out on Peter in order to see Paul. The Telluride schedulers know exactly which films are going to be the hottest tickets, and yet they always arrange things so you’ll miss the first viewings of this or that all through the festival. Shuffling around, running around.
Two or three films on Friday, three or four on Saturday and maybe the same on Sunday. Sure, you can see five per day on Saturday and Sunday, but not if you have to file. Eight times out of ten I’ll have to blow off a couple of hotties and catch them in Toronto instead.
And then it’s Monday before you know it, when everyone has to check out of their rental by 11 am. I’ll sometimes manage to catch a final film in the late morning or early afternoon before driving back to Durango or Albuquerque, but you also have to file your sum-up assessment so that’s never easy.
HE solution to Telluride gridlock: With everyone arriving on Thursday afternoon, the festival should begin on Thursday night with hottie screenings at all the venues (Chuck Jones, Werner Herzog, Palm, Galaxy, Pierre, Backlot) starting at 7 pm and then again at 9:30 or 10 pm. Hell, stage a midnight screening or two. And then more hottie screenings on Friday morning starting at 8:30 or 9 am. Those who wish to attend the Patrons picnic could squeeze it in around 11 or 11:30 am, but a full load of screenings would continue for those who’d rather catch films than eat.
By launching early on Thursday night and starting screenings early on Friday morning, four or five fresh opportunities to catch the must-sees would be on every visiting critic’s plate. And for those who might prefer to take a more leisurely, old-time approach, they can still start things off with the picnic and then the first Patrons screening at the Chuck Jones at 2:30 pm, and no harm done.
Now doesn’t that make sense?