Last night Telluride Film Festival p.r. director Shannon Mitchell declared that “no photography [will be] allowed inside the theaters at any of the George Clooney events — i.e., the Tribute and screenings, intros and q & a’s of The Descendants.” But that’s over now. Photos are okay, sez the Clooney camp. All is cool. Snap away.

Mitchell later wrote, apparently in response to joshing complaints, that “I’m getting a lot of funny comments about this but do want to be clear that this is not a request made by Clooney or his publicists. It’s a decision by festival organizers to try and keep

things sane inside the theaters and focused on the event. Clooney is still very much, as one journalist put it, a ‘man of the people!’

11:05 am update: Clooney’s publicist Stan Rosenfield just called to reiterate that he and Clooney knew nothing about this, that this isn’t how they roll, and that they’re asking the festival to “rescind” the no-indoor-photos request.

Previously: Telluride is not Cannes or Toronto. It’s low-key and artist-friendly and about the art of it. I totally respect and admire that. But at the same time Mitchell is essentially saying no shots of Clooney at any event whatsoever unless you happen to run into him on the street or in a store or on a hiking path in the hills. She’s basically saying, “Please treat his presence here as a non-physical, non-tangible thing, and focus only on his inner aspirational qualities.”

If I was Mitchell I would rephrase the edict as follows:

“During the 2011 Telluride Film Festival we are insisting upon photographic boundaries regarding George Clooney, specifically that he be treated and in fact regarded as The Un-Clooney, as a non-physical being, as The Man Who Isn’t Really There. An entity of spirit and longing and power and creative satisfaction but not molecular composition, as a kind of ghost or spectral presence…an idea in the mind of God. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.”