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Circuit Q&A: What’s Your Favorite Telluride Film Festival Debut?

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf play a daughter and mother who clash and connect in Lady Bird.

**Circuit Q&A’s are our daily community question, posed to the readers of AwardsCircuit that cover various topics from film and television to general wonderings and for instances**

On August 30, the fall festivals will kick off with the renowned Telluride Film Festival. Formed in 1974 near the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Telluride showcases some of the best films 2019 has to offer. The weekend long spectacle gives a spotlight to the filmmakers and their projects on the road to awards season.

A major showcase for roughly 50 years, some memorable movies have come in and out of those mountains. Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise,” David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” and Louis Malle’s “My Dinner With Andre” premiered with widespread accolades. They brought prestige to the festival and had audiences talking long after they premiered. “Brokeback Mountain” was able to take its praise from Telluride and carry it to multiple Oscar nominations later that year.

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Telluride has also given a voice to emerging filmmakers and transformed them into stars. Michael Moore’s career as a documentarian began with the premiere of “Roger and Me.” Robert Rodriguez made himself known with “El Mariachi,” the first film in his Mexico trilogy. And in 2017, Greta Gerwig captivated the festival’s attendees with “Lady Bird.” Momentum from Telluride pushed the film to earn a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars later the same year.

Over the last few years, Telluride has turned into the place where fall Oscar campaigns begin. Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” and Barry Jenkins’s “Moonlight” impressed with stellar opening nights. Both films went on to land Best Picture wins in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Last year, we didn’t see any premieres land a spot in the Best Picture category. But Marielle Heller’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” received three nominations including Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Adapted Screenplay. It will be interesting to look back at the 2019 line-up in a year and see what captivated audiences and started campaigns to eventual Oscar nominations.

Telluride has introduced audiences to new cinematic voices, awards contenders and directors latest additions to their filmography. In a matter of days, we will get first reactions from the festival. Once those come out, awards season will become clearer and audiences will know what to look forward to later this fall.

What is your favorite Telluride film festival debut? Let us know in the comments below!


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Written by Ryan McQuade

Ryan McQuade is a film-obsessed writer located in South Texas. Raised on musicals, westerns, and James Bond, his taste in cinema is extremely versatile. He's extremely fond of independent releases and director passion projects. When he's not watching movies, he's watching and rooting for his Dallas Cowboys, Texas Longhorns, or San Antonio Spurs.
Follow him on Twitter @ryanmcquade77.


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