By MCN Editor


June 30, 2010
BERKELEY, CA – Telluride Film Festival (September 3-6, 2010), presented by National Film Preserve LTD., is proud to announce its 2010 Guest Director, Michael Ondaatje. The celebrated writer has been invited to select a series of films to present at the 37th Telluride Film Festival. The Guest Director program is sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Each year Festival directors Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer and Julie Huntsinger select one of the world’s great film enthusiasts to join them in the creation of the program lineup. The Guest Director serves as a key collaborator in the Festival’s programming decisions, bringing new ideas and overlooked films to Telluride.
“When we first met with Michael to invite him to be our Guest Director, his enthusiasm was infectious and we knew we had made a perfect choice, ‘ said Tom Luddy.
Michael Ondaatje, best known as a novelist and author of The English Patient, has a body of work also encompassing memoir, poetry, music and film. He published a volume of memoir, entitled Running in the Family, in 1983. His collections of poetry include There’s a Trick With a Knife I’m Learning To Do (1979); The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left Handed Poems (1981); The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems (1989); and Handwriting: Poems (1998). His first novel, Coming Through Slaughter (1976), is a fictional portrait of jazz musician Buddy Bolden. The English Patient (1992) won the Booker Prize for Fiction and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1996. In 2000, Ondaatje was awarded the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, the Prix Medicis, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, and the Giller Prize for his novel Anil’s Ghost. Ondaatje’s most recent non-fiction work is The Conversations: Walter Murch & the Art of Editing Film (2002). His latest novel is entitled Divisadero (2007). He has directed two documentaries, Sons of Poetry (1970) and The Clinton Special: A Film About The Farm Show (1971).
Julie Huntsinger remembers, “The ideas were already flowing in that first meeting. In the following weeks he asked us to help secure prints for him to screen movies fondly remembered as well as those he had heard about and was curious to consider.”
“The range of Michael’s choices will present audiences with an enthralling program of surprises and discoveries that cover an incredible range of styles, eras and subjects. His introductions promise to be enlightening, “ added Gary Meyer.
Past Guest Directors include Alexander Payne, Salman Rushdie, Peter Bogdanovich, B. Ruby Rich, Phillip Lopate, Errol Morris, Bertrand Tavernier, John Boorman, John Simon, Buck Henry, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, G. Cabrera Infante, Peter Sellars, Don DeLillo, J.P. Gorin, Edith Kramer and Slavoj Zizek.
In keeping with Telluride Film Festival tradition, Ondaatje’s film selections, along with the rest of the Telluride lineup will be kept secret and unveiled on Opening Day, September 3, 2010.
Festival passes are now available.
For more information about Telluride Film Festival, visit:
About Telluride Film Festival
The prestigious Telluride Film Festival ranks among the world’s best film festivals and is an annual gathering of cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers, critics and industry insiders. It is considered a major launching ground for the fall season’s most talked-about films. Co-founded in 1974 by Tom Luddy, James Card and Bill and Stella Pence, Telluride Film Festival, nestled in the beautiful mountain town of Telluride, Colorado, is a four-day international educational event celebrating the art of film. The Festival’s long-standing commitment is to join filmmakers and film connoisseurs together to experience great cinema. The exciting schedule, kept secret until Opening Day, consists of film debuts with filmmakers presenting their works, special Guest Director programs, three major Tributes to guest artists and remarkable treasures from the past. Festival headquarters are in Berkeley, California.
About Our Sponsors
Telluride Film Festival is supported by Turner Classic Movies, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Starz Entertainment, NBC Universal, Omaha Steaks, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Stella Artois, New Sheridan Hotel, Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, Chamisal Vineyards, National Endowment for the Arts, Telluride Alpine Lodging, Kodak, Telluride Foundation, Time Warner Cable, The Hollywood Reporter, Boston Light and Sound, among others.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon