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Telluride Lands World Premieres From Emerald Fennell, Alexander Payne, Andrew Haigh

The Telluride Film Festival has revealed a strong lineup that includes world premieres from filmmakers Emerald Fennell, Alexander Payne, Jeff Nichols, Andrew Haigh, and George C. Wolfe.

As per tradition, the festival doesn’t announce its titles until the day before the Colorado-based event begins. This year marks Telluride’s 50th anniversary, and the festivities will run one day longer than usual, from August 31 to September 4.

All eyes, as usual, are on the Main Program lineup, which once again features a slew of awards-season hopefuls. World premieres include Fennell’s hotly anticipated follow-up to Promising Young Woman; Saltburn follows an outsider (Barry Keoghan) who is invited to spend the summer at an opulent English estate. Payne’s new film, The Holdovers, which reunites him with Sideways star Paul Giamatti, will also have its world premiere.

Haigh, the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed 45 Years and Weekend, will debut All of Us Strangers, a metaphysical love story starring Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott. And another off-kilter relationship story will premiere with Fingernails, Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou’s drama starring Jessie Buckley, Jeremy Allen White, and Riz Ahmed in a love triangle.

Other world premieres include Nichols’s ’60s-set The Bikeriders, a star-studded drama starring Austin Butler, Jodie Comer, Tom Hardy, and Michael Shannon; Nyad, a narrative feature from Oscar-winning documentarians Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, starring Annette Bening and Jodie Foster; Wolfe’s Rustin, starring Colman Domingo as activist Bayard Rustin; playwright Annie Baker’s feature directorial debut, Janet Planet, starring Zoe Ziegler and Julianne Nicholson; and Ethan Hawke’s latest directorial effort, Wildcat.

“As we’re watching the movies this year, I’m like, Oh, bro, sex is back, and it is back in a big way,” says Telluride Film Festival executive director Julie Huntsinger with a laugh. But in all seriousness, Huntsinger sees a through line in the stories in the Main Program that includes a lot of provocation. “People were saying, ‘It’s a pandemic, shouldn’t there be a lot of great art that comes out of it?’ I think there has been, there’s been good filmmaking, but for a while it felt like, ‘Oh, are we going to be just kind of lovey-dovey and earnest and openhearted?’ This feels like we’re going back to a ‘holy crap!’ There’s some stronger, darker emotion and a lot of sex.”

The festival’s main lineup also features several buzzy Cannes titles, including The Zone of Interest, Anatomy of a Fall, La Chimera, and Occupied City. There are also some titles, including Thank You Very Much and Poor Things, that will jump to the mountains after debuting at Venice. Says Huntsinger, “I really hope everybody takes a chance and sees as much as humanly possible because there are some incredible gems.”

Telluride also bestows several actors and filmmakers with its Silver Medallion Awards every year; due to the ongoing actors strike, however, it will focus those awards on filmmakers this go-round, honoring Poor ThingsYorgos Lanthimos, La Chimera’s Alice Rohrwacher, and Perfect DaysWim Wenders.

The festival will also hold several special screenings and events, including Pedro Almodóvar’s short film Strange Way of Life; Ross White and Tom Berkeley’s short The Golden West; a live performance by Jon Batiste following Thursday’s screening of American Symphony; Tina Satter’s Reality; and the Agnès Varda art installation Patatutopia.

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