Chance Encounter: Linda Clough Jones On Film Fest And Dad’s Legacy

Once the cat is out of the bag  – the directors of the Telluride Film Festival are notorious for keeping their selections top secret – and the weekend is in full swing, the “buzz” drives the traffic. Perfect strangers become fast friends chatting on line and at venues all over town about what’s hot and what’s not.

At a Monday morning screening of Götz Spielmann’s classic-in-the-making “Revanche” (see Views below), the elegant woman next to me introduced herself to talk the talk. “My name is Linda Clough. I am Chuck Jones’s daughter,” she said.

Turns out I had done a telephone interview with Linda in 2002, the year the Festival transformed the Telluride Conference Center into a movie house honoring her legendary father’s memory. (I still have the notes from our chat.)

Linda asked if I had seen John Canemaker’s film, “Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood.” I had not. I asked about her favorite film so far. “I really liked Mike Leigh’s ‘Happy-Go-Lucky.’ I think his protagonist, Poppy, is as highly evolved as a human being can be. This could be Leigh’s defining movie.”

Since we agreed on the subject of Leigh and his cockeyed optimist, I was eager for more dirt. Linda’s response was to steer our conversation in a whole new direction. “For the record, I would rather talk about the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity.”

“Telluride Inside and Out” is all about a fairly animated town and its people, so why not… Besides, any project associated with the man who peered into his belly button and discovered the essence of Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote and Bugs Bunny is something we all need to know more about.

“Dish,” I said.

“Children nowadays are robbed of opportunities to develop their imaginations,” she suggested. “Everything in their lives, including ‘free time,’ is packaged and programmed until they turn 21 and go off to work. Using my father’s drawings, films and writings as inspiration, our Center is a place for young people and adults to channel their creativity. We believe is never too late to have a good childhood.”

Chuck Jones Center for Creativity offers art classes, animation workshops and creativity workshops through partnerships with area collages, universities, museums and other nonprofits.

The Center also features a permanent exhibit at the Chuck Jones Archive in Orange, California, and supports traveling museum exhibits.

For more information, go to ChuckJonesCenter.org.

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