By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 4, 2009 at 12:22PM
As I stood in line to board the charter from LAX to Telluride Thursday morning, a young man and an older woman, complete strangers, were comparing notes on how much they love to plot their weekend strategy when they get the program on the plane. The guy was meeting his family, as they've done for seven years, and the woman has been attending for 15 years. "It's like a military campaign," the guy said, "2 PM at the Galaxy, then 5 at the Palm..."
Also on the charter yesterday were Telluride home owner Laura Linney and guest-programmer Alexander Payne (who has programmed some cool obscure movies, including the Andre De Toth western Day of the Outlaw, which inspired Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven), writer Larry Gross and AFI Fest's Rose Kuo, attorney Linda Lichter, LA Weekly critic Scott Foundas, the LAT's John Horn, ex-Academy president Sid Ganis, Fred Ward, Leonard and Alice Maltin, and Roadside's Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff.
I too figured out my schedule on the plane, half-listening to ICM agent Ron Bernstein chatting with Payne, who must have a portrait in a closet somewhere. I've seen many of the films at Sundance or Cannes. New must-sees for me are British TV's Red Riding Trilogy (IFC), Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime, which was reviewed at Venice, and Michael Hoffman's German-financed The Last Station, a period piece starring Christopher Plummer as Leo Tolstoy, Helen Mirren as his wife and James McAvoy as his acolyte (M.J.Peckos and Robbie Little are selling). It won't be playing in Toronto, oddly enough.
Thursday night IndieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez and I ran into Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard at the New Sheridan bar on Colorado Street; they have four films here, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet , White Ribbon and An Education. Barker's got a list of 17 films he's checking out in Toronto. These guys stay close to the films and talent and decision-making. No corporate layers.
At the gorgeous Patron's Brunch Friday high in the mountains were tributee Margarethe Von Trotta, IFC execs Arianna Boccho and Ryan Werner, An Education's Carey Mulligan (top, waiting for the picnic shuttle bus), producer Ron Yerxa, the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Mara Manus, jazz critic Gary Giddins, who programmed some cool jazz films, and Bill Pohlad of Apparition, a Telluride sponsor who has come for the past three years. He's skipping Toronto, where partner Bob Berney will be chasing acquisitions, in favor of NYFF. Roger Ebert is still wary of Telluride's high altitude, reports his wife Chaz, but will attend Toronto.
The full line-up is here.
[Photos: directors Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank), James Marsh (Red Riding 2) and Julian Jarrold (Red Riding 1), and IndieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez]