The official website of the Telluride Film Festival claims there is no better way to attend the event than as a passholder. Further, it states there is "no hassle" with a pass. True. Sorta kinda.
Here's why. Your pass entitles you to seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Even then, not so much, because passholders are not created equal.
Especially for big buzz movies in the smaller venues (the Sheridan Opera House, the Masons and The Nugget) first-come, first-served means if you are a plain vanilla passholder, your lanyard may not get you in unless you arrive super early, as much as 1 1/2 – 2 hours in advance of the scheduled screening. Even then, remember you are behind sponsors, patrons, students, and Hollywood entourages, who can show up when they wish and jump the queue. When that happens, your treasured numbered Q becomes just another piece of paper to recycle.
One way to be sure you wind up on the right side of the velvet rope, especially early in the long weekend when films are showing for the first time, head for the larger venues – The Palm, The Chuck Jones and The Galaxy – again way ahead of the scheduled time. Bring along reading for when you tire of buzzing — and snacks and water. In Telluride, film is a contact sport. You'll need to hydrate.
And remember the free films at the Open Air Cinema. There are more of them than ever this year. Most of the films in Elks Park are the same as the ones lighting up the indoor screens. Hobnobbing with the masses is fun, you still get the buzz, and it's a great way to scratch one more title off your list while chowing down on some of the great food served at the vending carts in the area.