1996 Telluride Film Festival Diaries
Farewell to Telluride
September 3, 1996
The makeshift theater in the high school gym is already in pieces The charter
flights have taken off. The remaining few T-shirts and posters have sale
prices. Tellride's year round residents are happy with their profits and
the renewed ability to find a parking place. The prairie dogs, chipmunks,
rabbits, beavers and other local fauna are equally happy with the decrease
in traffic and are congratulating themselves for surviving another festival.
Actually, there is a lot of that going around.
I left a message for Marianne on the 'rides needed' bulletin board so that
she could call if she still needed transportation to Colorado Springs.
Instead Elise Schein called. She arrived in Montrose with poster, Kodak
cap, duffle bag and her film, "I Steal Happiness", which had been
chosen for the Filmmakers of Tomorrow sequence. "I've been awake for
two days, so forgive me if I don't make any sense." she wearily explained.
But no explanation was needed. After only four days the festival's underlying
pressure had gotten to everyone. "We had so little time to connect
with people, to renew acquaintances and of course, to make deals."
Elise intoned as we winded through the Gunnison National Forest. "I
saw Oliver Assayas again. Hadn't seen him since San Francisco, four years
ago and he was here with his film, "Irma Vep". I'm hoping to
work with him. So talented. What did you like?" she asked. "I
didn't see much I didn't like but "Riot" stands out." I replied.
"No one liked "Riot" among the filmmakers. It must have
been accepted as a favor. You know, all the young filmakers adored Mike
Leigh's "Secrets and Lies" but to make it in Hollywood you have
to have secrets and lies. It is the only way to get all that money. I
just want to make films but funding is so difficult. I'm living in Prague
now but I think it is time to move on to Paris. I was going to work with
Oliver Assaayas but his whole company changed and the assistant who promised
me work was no longer there. Who did you interview?" "Carroll
Ballard," I interjected "I heard he is very cynical about Hollywood
and movie making." Elise was saying as we entered the San Isabel National
Forest. "Well, he has a reputation as an animal movie director and
he'd like to do more, do westerns." I explained, "If "Fly
Away Home" does okay, he'll get to make another movie, but if it hits
the high money marks, he'll be able to do the kind of movie he wants to
do." "I won't sell out to Hollywood and those emotionally manipulative
movies. Who cares if Demi Moore screwed all the Brat Pack, who cares about
the stars? I left the US and Brad Pitt was all anyone could talk about.
Now it is this Matthew McCoaughey. Stars are disposable."
I didn't want to tell her that directors are too as we bid Telluride farewell.
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