Monday, September 23, 2013


The Telluride Film Festival is one of the hardest festivals in the world to get into.  I've been entering for 30 years now, and only had a film accepted 3 times - that's once every 10 years!

This year, they programmed my new short "Drunker Than a Skunk" - yeah!  So we all went to Telluride this year - not only is it hard to get a film in, but it's equally hard to get to the damn place - it's in the middle of the Colorado Rockies, 2 miles above sea level.

But, once you arrive it's Nirvana - all the best films, all the great filmmakers.  No agents, PR people, or Hollywood sleaze, just the people who create the films.

I was lucky enough to have my film shown before the great Alexander Payne's "Nebraska", starring Bruce Dern.  So, I was guaranteed a packed house for every show.  Alexander said some really nice things about me and my film.  We'd met before and he remembered me.

I was able to see some other great films - "The Unknown Known" by Errol Morris (disappointing...), "Under the Skin" by Jonathan "Sexy Beast" Glazer (terrible...), Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" (bland), "Gravity" by Alfonso Cuaron (amazing) and of course "Nebraska" (fantastic!).

I was able to witness a wonderful panel with Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, and T-Bone Burnett talking about music in their films, which is very important to me right now, as I'm selecting music for my new feature film "Cheatin'".

Obviously, I was too busy to see all the films I wanted, but I could tell which other films were the hot tickets - "Prisoners" by Denis Villeneuve, "12 Years a Slave" by Steve McQueen, and "Inside Llewyn Davis" by the Coen brothers.

The parties were amazing - I especially loved the midfest brunce on the top of the hills.  Included were Michael Moore, Alexander Payne, Leonard Maltin, Francis Ford Coppola, Salman Rushdie, Werner Herzog, and Robert Redford.

That's what's special about Telluride - it's a very intimate festival so you can approach these big stars and directors without dealing with press agents, bodyguards or paparazzi.

With Leonard Maltin and Alexander Payne.

We were also invited to the Academy party, and as my wife and 1-year-old son and I waited for the elevator to take us up, Brad Pitt appeared and the elevator operator pushed us aside, saying, "Make room for Mr. Pitt."  But as Brad walked by he looked at our son, Lucas, and said, "I'm not going to deprive this cute baby his place in the elevator."  So, he invited us to ride up in the elevator with him, and as we rode up he was very friendly, chatting with us.  When we reached the floor with the party, of course he was immediately mobbed, and that's the last we saw of Mr. Pitt.

However, 10 years from now, we can tell Lucas about his encounter with Brad Pitt -

I'm now working on a new short, and I pray it gets into Telluride, so I can come back again.

With Linda Jones, daughter of Chuck Jones.

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