Telluride stands alone. The Festival worked another seeming miracle by assembling a slate of consistently entertaining motion pictures and retrospectives in its coterie of makeshift theatres miraculously transformed into high tech film palaces. Like Cinderella of fairy tale fame, this bucolic old mining town again transformed into a film world mecca.
Nearly a century ago, immortal talents such as the Marx Brothers, Sarah Bernhardt, Houdini and Lillian Gish journeyed to the remote mining town of Telluride to entertain the miners in the Sheridan Opera House. Today, the venerable Sheridan still stands and welcomes the show people of our times. In this restored, historic, antique gem beats the heart of the Telluride Film Festival: it is that building’s antique sign, reading simply "SHOW," that inspires so many of our traditions. We took that as a direct order.
Since the Opera House is one of only three existing year-round theatres in the town, seven more must come alive each Labor Day weekend for the Festival: The Werner Herzog Theatre in Town Park with its state of the art visual and audio capabilities, a Victorian-flavored theatre emerges from the town’s Masonic Hall, the middle school gym morphs into the Meliés-inspired Galaxy, intimate spaces on opposite sides of town form the Pierre and Backlot Theatres, and the Mountain Village Conference Center puts on its bunny ears to become Chuck Jones’ Cinema. There’s even an open-air cinema built in Elks Park to enjoy the hot new films in the cool mountain nights. Out of necessity, we’ve built them, but we’d like to think that each theatre has its own special character; unique spaces that infuse the films we show there with a little extra zest. Each venue is distinct, and like great character actors, each fleshes out the whole of the film-going experience. That’s just another part of The Show.
Telluride is God’s own multiplex!
The town’s theatres are filled with the famous, the infamous, and the anonymous, seated side by side in a joyful camaraderie of discovery.