The Telluride Film Festival was founded in 1974, which is an interesting coincidence, because that is the same year that I was founded. Only one of us is located in a picturesque Colorado mountain town and frequently visited by Werner Herzog, however!*
This is my first trip to Telluride, and I can already tell that it is in many ways the opposite of Sundance, which I've been to like a hundred times. Both festivals take place in former mining towns -- Telluride, Colo., and Park City, Utah -- that are now populated by wealthy ski enthusiasts, and each festival's largest venue is the local high school's auditorium. Both fests regularly show high-profile films destined for Oscar glory and box-office failure.
But while Sundance has become hectic, hyped, and paparazzi-heavy, Telluride remains relaxed, quaint, and Paris Hilton-free. Unlike just about every other festival, Telluride keeps its lineup a secret until the day before it starts. This reduces the publicist-manufactured pre-buzz that plagues a lot of fests.