By Angela Peavey
The acclaimed Telluride Film Festival is coming to West Michigan when the Saugatuck Center for the Arts presents a “Taste of Telluride” on Friday, March 24, at 7 p.m. Reserved tickets for this special evening of film ($10/each; cash bar available) can be purchased at sc4a.org or 269-857-2399.
Hailed by Movie Maker Magazine as, “One of the Top 25 coolest film festivals in the world,” the SCA is presenting its “Taste of Telluride” screening as part of its special 15th Anniversary programming.
“The SCA is the only place in Michigan for people to experience films from Telluride,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “We know West Michigan audiences love film; we’re really thrilled to bring this event to Saugatuck.”
Armstrong said the SCA collaborated with the Telluride Film Festival to curate the films selected for its “Taste of Telluride” event. “Audiences are going to be blown away by these incredibly inspiring stories, including extreme sports and adventure, our environment, and foreign arts and culture.”
Films at the “Taste of Telluride” include “Angel Annihilates Alaska” (extreme skiing), “Ace and the Desert Dog” (backpacking and friendship), “When We Were Knights” (base jumping), “The Super Salmon” (environment), and “Mile 19” (marathoner & veteran Johnnie Jameson).
The Telluride Film Festival bills itself as a celebration of the best in film — past, present and future — from all around the world. Guest Directors have included luminaries like Salman Rushdie, Buck Henry, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, and Peter Sellars. Telluride audiences were the first in the world to laugh with “Juno,” to observe “The Lives of Others,” to visit “Brokeback Mountain,” to learn the secret of “The Crying Game,” and to experience “Blue Velvet.” As Roger Ebert said, Telluride is, “…like Cannes died and went to heaven.”
The SCA’s relationship with the Telluride Film Festival has grown over the past five years as the two organizations have collaborated via the SCA’s Children’s Film Festival. “Our film festival for young viewers began 15 years ago,” Armstrong said. “In 2014 we reached out to the Telluride Film Festival to see if we could bring their award-winning films for young viewers to our festival. They loved the idea of reaching students in West Michigan so they agreed – and we’ve been growing our relationship ever since.”
Thanks to support from sponsors, the SCA makes its Children’s Film Festival available to West Michigan schools cost free, even including “bus money” if schools cannot afford transportation funding. “We typically serve 1,500 K-12th grade students during a week of screenings at the SCA,” Armstrong said. “This year we’re excited to announce a new partnership that is expanding the festival’s outreach tremendously.”
The Children’s Film Festival, which runs March 20-24 for partner schools, is going “on the road” to the Allegan Public Schools Performing Art enter for a day. As a result, an additional 1,100 students will experience the Festival, and in total more than 2,500 students from Allegan, Ottawa, Kent, and Van Buren Counties will participate in the 2017 Children’s Film Festival.
Armstrong notes that SCA Education and Exhibition coordinator Whitney Valentine has created post-festival resources for educators so students can continue to benefit from the film festival experience long after the screening.
The Children’s Film Festival is a vital part of the SCA’s three-pronged mission of education, entertainment, engagement, Armstrong said. “The Children’s Film Festival hits all three of our key focus areas. The topics matter, and the experience gets kids thinking and learning in a different way.”
Reserved tickets for the “Taste of Telluride” screening and additional information can be found online at sc4a.org.