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Telluride Film Festival Names Joshua Oppenheimer Guest Director

Variety logo Variety 6/20/2017 Dave McNary
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The Telluride Film Festival has selected documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer as its guest director for its 44th festival, running over Labor Day weekend on Sept. 1-4.

Oppenheimer received two Academy Award nominations for best documentary for his 2012 film “The Act of Killing” and 2014’s “The Look of Silence” — both which screened at Telluride. He will select a series of films to be presented at the festival.

“The guest director program is one of the most essential and wonderful parts of our festival,” said executive director Julie Huntsinger. “Joshua has been a part of the show with several of the incredible films he has made in the past, and now as our guest director. His rare combination of intelligence and down-to-earth understanding of humanity will make for a remarkable presentation of films our audience will not want to miss.”

“The Look of Silence” premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI award, and went on to receive an Independent Spirit Award, the IDA Award for Best Documentary Feature and a Gotham Award. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2014.

“You stumble from a cinema into Telluride’s thin air, touched in ways you never imagined possible,” said Oppenheimer. “You turn to a total stranger to share a thought unthinkable only two hours before. What happened? In the mirror of a great film, you confronted truths from which you normally avert your eyes. You recognized yourself in those delicate, mysterious moments that defy words yet make us human. Telluride’s movies are empathy machines, inviting us to find ourselves in people we’d never otherwise know.”

Past guest directors include Volker Schlöndorff, Rachel Kushner, Guy Maddin, Caetano Veloso, Michael Ondaatje, 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 Žižek.

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