Festival on a Budget

This festival is characterized by its small size and friendly atmosphere. If there were a few key words to describe Telluride, they might include 'intimate' and 'down home,' just as easily as 'monumental' and 'important.'
– Elise Berlin, Boulder Daily Camera

There is no better way to attend Telluride than as a passholder. There's no hassle: one purchase in advance entitles you to seating at the theatres, films and events on a first-come, first-served basis. Year after year, cinephiles with appetites for champagne movies brave the Festival on a light beer budget. If the Festival Pass is not affordable for you, there are two options: a Cinephile pass for $390 giving you admission to a special menu of Festival morsels, and the Acme Pass, priced at the special rate of $580. The Acme offers nearly the full Festival experience in one of our best venues — Chuck Jones' Cinema.

Here's the scoop on attending on a real 'show' string:

  • The noon Seminars in Elks Park are free
  • The 'Conversations' in the County Courthouse are free
  • The four film screenings — one each night — in the Open Air Cinema are free
  • The three ‘Filmmakers of Tomorrow’ programs are free
  • Films at the Backlot, located in the Library are free
  • The LATE SHOW PASS, the last film at two different theatres each day, four films for $60. This is quite a bargain, bearing in mind that individual film tickets cost $25 each.

Note: All eight indoor theatres put individual tickets on sale ten minutes before showtime if there are seats available after passholders have been seated.

Reasonably priced campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Telluride has more than its share of gourmet dining, but it also has great pizza, ribs, burritos, salads, burgers and plenty of popcorn!

How to fest without a pass, click here for guidelines (PDF). Visit the Hospitality Center in Brigadoon during the Festival for a detailed handout of shows and tips.


While most festivals offer sightings of filmmakers as well as films, the population of Telluride — festival and town — is small enough that the ratio of auteurs to filmgoers may be higher than anywhere in the world.
– Godfrey Cheshire, the New York Press

… the undisputed gem of American film festivals."
– William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer