Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer will be the 2017 Guest Director of the upcoming Telluride Film Festival. The award-winning documentarian is set to select a series of films to present at the 44th Telluride Film Festival running over Labor Day Weekend, September 1-4, 2017.
Festival organizers annually select one of the world’s great film enthusiasts to join them in the creation of the Festival’s program lineup. The Guest Director serves as a key collaborator in the Festival’s programming decisions, bringing new ideas and overlooked films to Telluride. In keeping with Telluride Film Festival tradition, Oppenheimer’s film selections, along with the rest of the Telluride lineup, will be kept secret until Opening Day.
“The Guest Director program is one of the most essential and wonderful parts of our festival,” said Telluride Film Festival 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. Further gilding the lily, FilmStruck has joined us as the sponsor of this selection. We are beyond fortunate with this terrific combination of cinematic genius.”
Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer was born in the US in 1974 and studied filmmaking at Harvard University. Oppenheimer is best known for The Act of Killing (Telluride 2012) and The Look of Silence (Telluride 2014). The Act of Killing (2014 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary) was named Film of the Year in 2013 by the Guardian and the Sight and Sound Film Poll. It won 72 international awards, including a BAFTA, a European Film Award and an Asia-Pacific Screen Award. The Look of Silence (2016 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary) premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI award, and went on to receive another 70 prizes, including an Independent Spirit Award, the IDA Award for Best Documentary Feature, a Gotham Award, and three Cinema Eye Honors. His early shorts have recently been re-released online and on DVD, including The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase, which premiered at Telluride in 1997. Joshua Oppenheimer was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2014. Oppenheimer is a partner at Final Cut for Real in Copenhagen, and Artistic Director of the Centre for Documentary and Experimental Film at the University of Westminster in London.
“You stumble from a cinema into Telluride’s thin air, touched in ways you never imagined possible,” commented 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. Julie Huntsinger and Tom Luddy’s annual selection is driven by such curiosity and humanity that you cannot leave Telluride without feeling the responsibility and pain and love that comes with compassion. We emerge connected, reminded that self-absorption ultimately leaves us isolated and fearful. There is no greater privilege than joining Tom and Julie as this year’s guest director, sharing with Telluride’s audience the films that give me the greatest courage, and teach me to practice the widest empathy.”
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.