The Telluride Film Festival is the perk of perks, the most civilized, best-curated small film festival in the world. (Here's the new Telluride poster from animator Ralph Eggleston.) It takes place every Labor Day weekend high in the Colorado Rockies and I would ordinarily never consider going somewhere else instead.
But this year the Venice International Film Festival beckons: September 1 to 11, with the promise of several key world premieres from the likes of Sofia Coppola (Somewhere), Terrence Malick (if he decides to finish The Tree of Life) and Julian Schnabel (Miral). While director Marco Muller's program for the 67th festival won't be revealed until July, we do know that Quentin Tarantino heads the main competition international jury and Iranian Shirin Neshat and German Turk Fatih Akin chair the Orrizonti and debut film juries, respectively. And Venice is awarding John Woo a well-deserved Golden Lion lifetime achievement award.
If I show up on the Lido this year, I can post first reports. Besides, I've never been to Venice (or Italy, for that matter). Tough decision. Telluride often screens many of the same movies at the same time that they debut in Venice, but can't always get talent to be two places at once. And Toronto will screen many other Venice titles later in September. UPDATE: Sydney's Buzz lists films tipped for Venice and Toronto.