September 4, 2007

Two Film Festivals in One Small Town

September 4, 2007I've just spent the weekend working for Telluride Film Festival. I should say "working": ushering at a theater is mostly fun. I gotta tell you, it's great to be able to enjoy a festival in an underling position and to look at the festival programming from an outsider's perspective, without any of the nerves associated with being one of the core group responsible for putting the festival on.I discovered Telluride six years ago when I was chosen for the student program at TFF (the shortened acronym for Telluride Film Festival), so I have a particular soft spot for the festival. Telluride has now been my home for two years, and my experience with TFF played a large role in getting the job I now have at Mountainfilm. The connection between the two festival staffs goes much deeper: many Mountainfilm staff members also have roles in TFF, and quite a few of the current TFF managers once held important roles in this organization, as well.It does seem quite odd, at first, that a town as small as Telluride (year-round population of around 2500 people) can support two film festivals, but a lot of factors come into play to make both Mountainfilm and TFF highly successful. In fact, both festivals are among the upper echelon of festivals in their respective worlds.Telluride Film Festival is always listed next to Sundance, Cannes & Toronto as one of the top film festivals in the world, and Mountainfilm is America's oldest and most reputed festival highlighting the genre of mountain film (which has expanded far beyond just adventure and mountaineering films to encompass environmental & humanitarian films). This year TFF celebrated its 34th festival, and Mountainfilm is just slightly younger at 30 years.Any way, I had a great time at TFF this weekend. I think I'm in the right profession; I am completely enamored of films of all sort and I think people involved in the film industry are endlessly fascinating.Posted by Emily Long