Telluride: Film Fest Proceeding with Caution, Organizers Will Take Over Academy Party (Exclusive)

Lest anyone be spooked by Saturday’s Deadline report that a small contingent of officials from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have decided to skip the upcoming Telluride Film Festival “out of an abundance of caution” given the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, festival organizers want to make it clear to all others slated to attend that the festivities are proceeding full speed ahead and that they are taking every possible precaution to ensure that the Labor Day weekend gathering will be as safe, smooth and fun as ever.

Indeed, in addition to requiring all attendees to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test taken no more than three days prior to arriving in the Rockies, the festival has also added an extra day to this 48th edition — it will run from Thursday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 6 — which will enable it to offer more screenings with fewer attendees at each. (Former Telluride programmer turned Oscar winner Barry Jenkins is serving as the fest’s guest director this year and has been helping Julie Huntsinger and Tom Luddy to program the lineup, which will be announced on opening day.)

“AMPAS will be sorely missed this year,” the fest tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The organization has been, and will continue to be, strong supporters and friends of the Festival, and we can’t wait to welcome them back in 2022. We will continue in their absence with the annual cocktail party [hosted in recent years by the Academy], this year called the Filmmaker Reception, with the same exclusive guest list full of Oscar voters, filmmakers, talent, and Hollywood executives. We will be moving to a bigger venue: a beautiful private home with an abundance of outdoor space and all the same Festival-mandated Covid safety protocols.”

The Hollywood Reporter can also confirm that no distributors have backed out of their plans to attend or screen their films at the fest, and several have already begun reaching out to journalists to ask them to hold time-slots for COVID-safe receptions and media opportunities.

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