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Telluride Day One

I took Thursday's charter flight from L.A. to Montrose, Colorado. The flight was packed with such Telluride vets as producer Lisa Henson, Larry Gross and Rose Kuo, ICM's Ron Bernstein, attorney Linda Lichter, producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, studio indie execs Laura Kim, Megan Colligan, and Claudia Lewis, director Allan Arkush, and critics Leonard Maltin, Joe Morgenstern, Scott Foundas and Todd McCarthy, who will show a bit of his upcoming documentary about Cinema Influential Pierre Rissient at a presentation Friday night renaming Telluride's Mini Theatre Le Pierre.

Also on the plane was director Mira Nair (Vanity Fair), who will introduce her adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake to Telluride and Toronto audiences; Fox Searchlight pushed the movie back to March to give it more time to build awareness.

Director Kevin MacDonald and Forest Whitaker are bringing to Telluride The Last King of Scotland, which I saw Wednesday night in L.A.. It's a vivid and gritty, aurally rich, almost hallucinogenic depiction of Uganda dictator Idi Amin's reign of terror, told from the point of view of a Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) who adores the charismatic leader until he can no longer avoid facing the brutal truth. Whitaker is equally charming and terrifying as Amin and could earn some Oscar-worthy notices.

Werner Herzog decided to go to Telluride sans a movie. He couldn't get a print made in time, he said, of his just-completed feature, Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale as Deiter Dengler, the American pilot whose story was told in Herzog's 1997 docu Little Dieter Needs to Fly.

Peter Bogdanovich not only plays Bennett Cerf in Infamous, but he has refurbished his 45-minute John Ford documentary, 1971's Directed by John Ford, which was never released due to clips clearance issues. Bogdanovich has added interviews with Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese and Walter Hill. The new material is being added to Bogdanovich's original interviews with John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Ford, and a narration by Orson Welles. "This one is better," said Bogdanovich. After the movie debuts here, it will screen at the AFI Fest in November before it airs on Turner Classic Movies. Producer Frank Marshall, an old friend of the director from UCLA, put the movie together.

After the flight everyone piled into rented cars or shuttle vans for the drive over the Rockies to the village of Telluride, nestled in a small valley between spectacular peaks. Ask anyone what it's like to land at tiny Telluride Airport and they shudder. Babel director Alejandro Gonazalez Inarritu, who dislikes flying, chose to drive from L.A. with his family.


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