Telluride Lineup Includes World Premieres of ‘Saltburn,’ ‘The Bikeriders’ and ‘Rustin’ With Tributes for Yorgos Lanthimos and Wim Wenders

The 50th Telluride Film Festival official lineup has been announced, revealing multiple world premieres including Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn,” George C. Wolfe’s “Rustin,” Jeff Nichols’ “The Bikeriders” and Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers.”

In addition, the festival will pay tribute to Oscar-nominated director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose film “Poor Things” will debut Stateside after premiering at the Venice Film Festival. Other tributes include three-time Oscar nominated filmmaker Wim Wenders, who has two films playing after debuting at Cannes — the documentary “Anselm” and the narrative feature “Perfect Days,” which won best actor in France for Kôji Yakusho. An Oscar nominee last year for best live action short (“Le Pupille”), Alice Rohrwacher, whose Italian film “La Chimera” will screen, will also be honored by the festival.

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Major premieres also include Apple’s “Fingernails” with Riz Ahmed and Jessie Buckley and Netflix’s “Nyad” with Annette Bening and Jodie Foster.

Other Venice titles making the trip over after their debuts include a slew of international titles such as Pablo Larraín’s “El Conde,” Nikolaj Arcel’s “The Promised Land” and Saverio Costanzo’s “Finally Dawn.” Alongside the films vying for attention on the international circuit are Palme d’Or winner “Anatomy of a Fall” and Sony Pictures Classics’ German contender “The Teacher’s Lounge.”

After premiering at Sundance, the programmers opted for Roger Ross Williams’ “Cassandro” starring best actor hopeful Gael García Bernal.

With 50 years of rich history that has paved the way to best picture winners such as “Spotlight” (2015) and “Moonlight” (2016), Julie Huntsinger, executive director of Telluride, says this is one of the festival’s strongest lineups yet despite the ongoing Hollywood strikes that will prevent many of the big stars from attending.

“I want every to fall in love with these movies,” Huntsinger tells Variety. “It’s such an incredible program and none of them are obvious ones you would think are as amazing as they are.”

The longtime festival head cites standouts in the lineup such as Andrew Haigh’s “All of Us Strangers” saying, “It’s the one I just can’t get over how outstanding it is.” In addition, she touts Colman Domingo’s transformative performance into gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin in George C. Wolfe’s biopic “Rustin” as the one to beat in the best actor race this year. “I just thought there’s no way anybody will outshine him.”

For the first time, the festival isn’t listing who will be in attendance on the program due to the continuing changes due to the strikes. Still, all of the film’s directors are expected to attend except for one, Aki Kaurismäki for the Finnish film “Fallen Leaves.” Other special guests and expected attendees include actor Casey Affleck and directors Barry Jenkins, Jason Reitman and Chloé Zhao.

In the preferential ballot era since 2009, only four movies have won best picture without a stop at Telluride — “The Hurt Locker” (2009), “Green Book” (2018), “CODA” (2021) and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2022). Huntsinger, an Academy voter, thinks the best picture winner of the 96th Oscars could be among her lineup.

Founded by Tom Luddy (1943-2023), Bill Pence (1940-2022) and Stella Pence and James Card (1915-2000), to whom the festival is dedicated this year, Telluride has become the premier destination in the industry for awards season. However, it has also become one of the most expensive festivals to attend, with inflation costs and price gauging, something Huntsinger directly addressed.

“What’s hit many people the hardest is the lodging,” she says. “I have been fighting. I know the townspeople are tired of hearing about it. During the pandemic, it was more popular than ever. Everybody came here because they couldn’t go to these other sexy places in Europe. They just kept charging more, and more, and more.”

She adds: “Price gouging is not sustainable. It kills communities. It’s happened all over the world. If I have my way I’ll talk to the governor of Colorado. I think surge pricing is the most un-American thing. You are ripping people off, many of whom are on fixed incomes. You cannot say this room is $100 on one day and then charge $800 on another. It’s going to bite them in the ass.”

Telluride is screening over 80 feature films, short films, and revival programs representing 29 countries, along with filmmaker tributes, conversations, seminars, student programs, and festivities. Telluride Film Festival’s 50th anniversary edition runs from Thursday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 4.

Main Program

  • “All of Us Strangers” (d. Andrew Haigh, U.K., 2023)

  • “American Symphony” (d. Matthew Heineman, U.S., 2023)

  • “Anatomy of a Fall” (d. Justine Triet, France, 2023)

  • “Anselm” (d. Wim Wenders, Germany, 2023)

  • “Baltimore” (d. Joe Lawlor, Christine Molloy Ireland-U.K., 2023)

  • “Beyond Utopia” (d. Madeleine Gavin, U.S., 2023)

  • “The Bikeriders” (d. Jeff Nichols, U.S., 2023)

  • “Cassandro” (d. Roger Ross Williams, U.S., 2023)

  • “Daddio” (d. Christy Hall, U.S., 2023)

  • “El Conde” (d. Pablo Larraín, Chile, 2023)

  • “Fallen Leaves” (d. Aki Kaurismäki, Finland, 2023)

  • “The Falling Star” (d. Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, France-Belgium, 2023)

  • “Finally Dawn” (d. Saverio Costanzo, Italy, 2023)

  • “Fingernails” (d. Christos Nikou, U.S., 2023)

  • “Food, Inc. 2” (d. Robert Kenner, Melissa Robledo, U.S., 2023)

  • “High & Low-John Galliano” (d. Kevin Macdonald, U.K., 2023)

  • “The Holdovers” (d. Alexander Payne, U.S., 2023)

  • “Hollywoodgate” (d. Ibrahim Nash’at, U.S.-Germany, 2023)

  • “Janet Planet” (d. Annie Baker, U.S., 2023)

  • “La Chimera” (d. Alice Rohrwacher, Italy-France-Switzerland, 2023)

  • “The Mission” (d. Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss, U.S., 2023)

  • “The Monk and the Gun” (d. Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan, 2023)

  • “Nyad” (d. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, U.S., 2023)

  • “Occupied City” (d. Steve McQueen, Netherlands-U.K.-U.S., 2023)

  • “Orlando, My Political Biography” (d. Paul B. Preciado, France, 2023)

  • “Perfect Days” (d. Wim Wenders, Japan, 2023)

  • “The Pigeon Tunnel” (d. Errol Morris, U.K., 2023)

  • “Poor Things” (d. Yorgos Lanthimos, U.S.-Ireland-U.K., 2023)

  • “The Promised Land” (d. Nikolaj Arcel, Denmark-Germany-Sweden, 2023)

  • “The Royal Hotel” (d. Kitty Green, Australia, 2023)

  • “Rustin” (d. George C. Wolfe, U.S., 2023)

  • “Saltburn” (d. Emerald Fennell, U.S., 2023)

  • “The Teacher’s Lounge” (d. Ilker Çatak, Germany, 2023)

  • “Tehachapi” (d. JR, France, 2023)

  • “Thank You Very Much” (d. Alex Braverman, U.S., 2023)

  • “Tuesday” (d. Daina O. Pusić, U.S.-U.K., 2023)

  • “Wildcat” (d. Ethan Hawke, U.S., 2023)

  • “The Zone of Interest” (d. Jonathan Glazer, U.S.-U.K.-Poland, 2023)

Documentary Shorts

  • “If Dreams Were Lightning” (d. Ramin Bahrani, U.S., 2023)

  • “Incident” (d. Bill Morrison, U.S., 2023)

  • “The Last Repair Shop” (d. Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers, U.S., 2023)

  • “The Last Song from Kabul” (d. Kevin Macdonald, Afghanistan-Qatar-Portugal-Germany, 2023)

Guest Director Program
(selections of Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Curtis, Ethan Hawke, Rachel Kushner, Steve McQueen, and Mira Nair)

  • “Juvenile Court” — (d. Frederick Wiseman, U.S., 1973)
    Selected and presented by Rachel Kushner

  • “All That Jazz” (d. Bob Fosse, U.S., 1979)
    Selected and presented by Ethan Hawke

  • “Jonah Who Will be 25 in the Year 2000” (d. Alain Tanner, France-Switzerland,
    Selected and presented by Alfonso Cuarón

  • “The Long Good Friday” (d. John Mackenzie, U.K., 1980) Selected and presented
    by Adam Curtis

  • “Zéro de conduite” (d. Jean Vigo, France, 1933)
    Selected and presented by Steve

  • “The Music Room” (d. Satyajit Ray, India, 1958)
    Selected and presented by Mira Nair

Additional film restorations playing throughout the Festival include “The Unknown” (d. Tod Browning, U.S., 1927); “My Grandmother” (d. Kote Mikaberidze, Soviet Union, 1929) with Finnish music ensemble Cleaning Women performing a live score; Abel Gance’s “La Roue” (France, 1923) shown in four chapters; and two films remembering TFF 21 Special Medallion recipient Ninón Sevilla: “Víctimas del Pecado” (d. Emilio Fernández, Mexico, 1951) and “Llévame en tus brazos” (d. Julio Bracho, Mexico, 1954).

Special screenings and festivities include Pedro Almodóvar’s short film “Strange Way of Life” (Spain, 2023); Ross White and Tom Berkeley’s short “The Golden West” (Ireland-U.K., 2023); a live performance by Jon Batiste following Thursday’s screening of “American Symphony,” Tina Satter’s “Reality” (U.S., 2023); Agnès Varda’s art installation, Patatutopia; and festival poster signing by Luke Dorman.

(Telluride’s intimate screening room features behind-the-scenes movies and portraits of artists, musicians, and filmmakers is showing the following programs):

  • “Aka Mr. Chow” (d. Nick Hooker, U.S., 2023)

  • “All That is Sacred” (d. Scott Ballew, U.S., 2023) with TARPON (d. Guy de la
    Valdene, Christian Odasso, U.S., 1973)

  • “Angel Applicant” (d. Ken Meyer, U.S., 2023)

  • “Carol Doda Topless at the Condor” (d. Marlo McKenzie, Jonathan Parker,
    U.S., 2023)

  • “Cinema Has Been My True Love: The Work and Times of Lynda Miles” (d. Mark Cousins, U.K., 2023)

  • “Kim’s Video” (d. David Redmon, Ashley Sabin, U.S.-U.K.-Italy, 2023)

  • “Little Girl Blue” (d. Mona Achache, France, 2023)

  • “Musica!” (d. Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, U.S., 2023)

  • “Notes From Sheepland” (d. Cara Holmes, Ireland, 2023)

  • “Room 999” (d. Lubna Playoust, France, 2023)

  • “ZINZINDURRUNKARRATZ” (d. Oskar Alegría, Spain, 2023)

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