Program Guide

The films at Telluride, like the fresh mountain air, provide a kind of oxygen, renewing one’s faith in the idea that movies, like all great art, can still turn us inside out and make us see the world with fresh eyes."

Steve Wasserman, Los Angeles Times

It’s a secret.

What's playing in the Telluride program is not revealed until you reach the mountains. In what has become our tradition, three distinguished artists will be honored with a silver medallion, one presented each night of the Festival. We sometimes honor the well-known: Francis Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Catherine Deneuve. But more often than not, we also like to spring a real surprise and pay tribute to those you may have forgotten, or never even knew: Abel Gance, D.A. Pennebaker, Harriet Andersson, Alexander Sokurov, Philip Glass, Joel McCrea, Andrei Tarkovsky.

And then, picture seeing a movie before anyone else…before the ubiquitous critics, the in-laws, your local film snobs. Imagine viewing a new film without an ounce of prejudice because it is the first screening and you are its first audience. Telluride movies are always discoveries. BLUE VELVET, STRANGER THAN PARADISE, EL MARIACHI, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, EL NORTE, TALK TO HER, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CAPOTE, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, JUNO, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE LAST STATION, UP IN THE AIR, and THE KING'S SPEECH all debuted to the surprise and delight of Festival-goers.

We also like to rediscover the treasures of cinema’s past: the pioneering works of the Lumière Brothers, the restored GREED, a range of newly restored silents with live orchestral accompaniment, the unseen films of Walt Disney, a cache of Cinerama, of 3-D classics… that’s the modus operandi of Telluride, the past bumps up against the present as the Festival provides a context for current cinema from what’s gone before. Trust us. When the secret’s unveiled, there’s no program anywhere quite like The SHOW.

For detailed information about Telluride Film Festival programs of the past, visit our History section.

…a first rate proving ground for new pictures and a chance to discover lost genius…

Kenneth Turan, Washington Post

Up in the mountains, in a little mountain town, a film festival can only be savoured. Describing it loses its intense pleasuring in the cinema: watching films, talking films, discovering new and old films, meeting filmmakers whose work we have admired…

Shyam Benegal