In the words of one studio boss: "I have no idea what's going to be there, and if I did, I couldn't tell you."
Thanks to our moles, though, we have learned that the festival--Sundance's older, quieter and less-hyped brother--will feature several big-name, big-buzz films, including Oliver Stone's latest, U-Turn.
Stone's film, set to debut nationally in October, is a hard-boiled, noirish, star-saturated adaptation of John Ridley's novel Stray Dogs. Sean Penn, Billy Bob Thornton, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Claire Danes and Joaquin Phoenix chew the scenery.
Some other notable screenings include: Gummo, the directing debut of Kids screenwriter Harmony Korine. John Sayles' Spanish-language Men with Guns, an action flick starring Mandy Patinkin and Federico Luppi that won't hit theaters till March. Washington Square, a costume drama based on Henry James' novel, directed by Agnieszka Holland and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Ben Chaplin. Affliction, based on a novel by Russell Banks about a middle-aged man's disintegration, written and directed by Taxi Driver scribe Paul Schrader and starring Nolte. (Unlike most movies here, this film does not yet have U.S. distribution.) The Sweet Hereafter, another adaptaion of a Banks book, courtesy of stylish Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan. Two Girls and a Guy, written and directed by Bugsy screenwriter James Toback. Welcome to Sarajevo, Miramax's cinema verité examination of the war-torn city with Woody Harrelson. Love and Death on Long Island, directed by Richard Kwietniowski. John Hurt and Jason Priestley star. A documentary from Werner Herzog.
About 30 films in all will be screened, half of which will get their U.S. or world premieres in the shadows of the Rockies.
Telluride got its start in 1974 as a way for independent exhibitors to show off for their peers. Organizers stopped announcing the film slate three years later, to prevent the press from fixating on celebrities and hype and keep the focus on the films.
Like Sundance, it takes place in a Western ski resort (the skiing's a bit slim in August, natch), features a slate of indie and arty studio features and is crawling with celebs. But unlike Robert Redford's Utah blowout, Telluride is a festival that eschews competition and dealmaking.
Among the films launched there in recent years: Sling Blade, Swingers, The Crying Game, The Piano and Secrets & Lies.