After my incredible backpacking trip with Katherine around Europe, it was time to head back to America. I flew from Paris to Washington DC. Right before I boarded the plane that would take me back to Cleveland, Ohio, I checked my email. Before I was officially accepted to intern at Cannes, I applied for the Telluride Student Symposium. I was worried I wasn’t going to get in, so I wanted to apply for another opportunity just in case. Sad to be heading back to Cleveland and really missing Cannes, I was accepted to participate in the 2011 Student Symposium with 49 other students in Telluride, CO. Worried that I wasn’t going to be able to afford the trip, I applied to Denison’s Horizon Fund for a scholarship and was accepted. With the $200 stipend given to the students from TFF, and the $500 scholarship from Denison, this experience was possible. I am so grateful.
After only being at Denison for about 5 short days, I hopped on a plane to Denver, CO and then another to Montrose, CO, before driving another hour and a half to Telluride with three other students. Thankfully, I have amazing professors who let me take off the first few days of class to attend the festival.
I arrived in Telluride in the morning and dropped my stuff off in my condo. There’s a group of about ten of us in one condo, but it’s pretty big and has enough bathrooms, plus we have a deck on top which is great. It’s not like any of this matters though because we’re all just going to be out seeing films all day and night long. After we picked up our passes, free poster, and free T shirt, we went to orientation. There are about fifty students from all over the world, but of course, I’m the only one from Ohio. There are a lot of people from Colorado too, but I’m not really surprised there. We received our schedule and there are a fair amount of films on there that I wanted to see anyway, so I’m pretty excited. Two of them are films that I actually wanted to see in Cannes, but never got the chance, so that’s great. Those two are The Kid With a Bike and Le Havre. One of the coolest things we get to see is unfortunately not The George Clooney Tribute and the new George Clooney/ Alexander Payne film, but the TILDA SWINTON TRIBUTE. After the Tilda Swinton tribute, we get to meet and speak with Ramsey and Swinton about We Need to Talk About Kevin (which is included in the tribute). I can’t stop thinking about what I want to ask them though. I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY!
We learned the rules and guidelines of the festival, which are much different than Cannes. There isn’t much in the way of press here and the actors, directors, producers, etc. are encouraged to “not hide” because of it. Therefore, we are not allowed to take pictures or videos of them if we see them either on the streets or at a Q&A or Introduction. It’s different, but nice that I’ll never have to make my way through a bunch of paparazzi here.
It’s going to be great to actually talk to the filmmakers after I see the films too. We highly encouraged to speak to them, but I’m nervous because I like to be able to think about films before I actually talk about them.
What is also great about this program is the FOOD we get. All of our meals are provided and paid for which is great. They fed us dinner and we sat in groups. A lot of film talk has been happening, and although I do enjoy it (don’t get me wrong) it sometimes becomes frustrating for me. This happened in Cannes too, so I’m not really surprised. There are a lot of film students here who might not appreciate film as a whole despite the fact that it is not their own personal taste. I find it to be very prominent in the debate between mainstream film vs. independent film. Sorry, I’m not sorry I like mainstream film. I also don’t understand why people just can’t like films because it entertains them and that’s it. Isn’t that the point of some filmmaking? I understand some filmmakers do not make projects with that goal in mind, but I don’t think that I should be looked down upon because I like to be entertained, especially since I want to work in Children’s film or TV. Obviously, there should be a “lesson” learned, but entertainment is key. I appreciate that everyone has different taste, but I just wish everyone respected that. Film is such a diverse subject, not everyone is going to have the same opinion. I think every film made is an accomplishment.
We had some time before our first screening so I went back to take a nap. I don’t know if the worst headache in the world came from the altitude or the fact that I’ve been getting a lot of headaches recently, but I really needed to sleep. After my short nap, a few of us walked over to the high school theatre for a special staff/student screening. I had a feeling it would be The Artist, and then it actually turned out to be. I was really excited because it wasn’t on the schedule and I got to see it again. I was struggling to not to fall asleep, but I managed to stay awake..
We stopped at a bar on the way back to our condo and I, of course, was the only one who is not 21 and even though the bar wasn’t carding, I didn’t feel like getting a drink. I would probably either get really drunk on one because of the altitude or be really hungover because I’m the worst drinker in existence. Again, a lot of film talk at the table. The students here are all pretty old, so I feel like I’m one of the youngest. Most are seniors, have graduated, or are in graduate school. There are actually a few who are getting a PhD too. After the bar, we went back to the apartment to get some sleep. Our programming doesn’t start until 2:30 and the films do not start until the evening so they gave us the morning to catch up, check out the town, or go for a hike if we wanted.