TFF

Film festival attendees David Levy and George Stone, outside the Telluride Outside Friday afternoon. (Photo by Leslie Vreeland/Telluride Daily Planet)

Not all who are visiting Telluride this weekend are here for the 46th Annual Film Festival.

But everyone interviewed by this reporter on Friday — admittedly a random, highly unscientific sampling — was in a friendly, mellow mood.

And all who were outdoors pronounced themselves delighted by the weather.

Sherman Oaks, California, resident Brewster Gray was taking in the scene in the company of his 5-year-old Chihuhua, Katie. “I’ve done all this,” Gray said of film festivals in general. “My girlfriend was an actor for 20 years.”

Gray was not in town for this particular fest. Indeed, he didn’t even know it was on; he was just in from Moab. Even so, he had an opinion about it.

Gray’s a veteran attendee of the Cannes Film Festival. “And if you go to Sundance” — which takes place in January — “the weather’s all snowy and icy,” he said.

The major difference between other festivals and Telluride, Gray opined, came down to one of mood.

“It’s a lot more relaxed here,” he said. “Everyone is happy. They really are.”

“We see so many clients that we haven’t seen all year,” Telluride Gallery of Fine Art employee Christin Marcos said. The gallery is exhibiting a trio of photographs by Lauren Greenfield, whose film “The Kingmaker” screens Sunday morning. Of the vibe just outside, Marcos said, “Everyone’s excited about film fest — and it translates to their demeanor on the street.”

Festival attendees Nancy Fagan and Kathy Sollgenberger seemed happy to be out on the street, period. “We just love getting out of the heat,” said Fagan, who’s been attending the festival for five years now. “It’s awful in Scottsdale” this time of year.

The friends were looking forward to seeing “A Hidden Life,” “Ford v. Ferrari,” and, especially, “Judy.” (“I’ve seen the previews for it several times,” Sollgenberger said. “Renee Zellweger “nails it.”)

On Friday, local celebrities — like Country-Americana artist Jim Parker, who was to perform at Music on the Green in Reflection Plaza later that afternoon— were taking in the scene (Parker had a street-side table at the Sheridan Chop House).

New Yorkers David Levy and George Stone could have been relaxing at Levy’s vacation home in breezy Mountain Village. Instead, they were sitting on a stiff bench outside the Telluride Outside, watching the world walk by. Levy said he was inspired to purchase the Mountain Village aerie because he’s a regular attendee of the festival (this is his 10th year).

“Town is small, everyone’s eating together and sitting together, and the access is incredible,” Levy said of Telluride. “It has a quaint feel that’s very unique; very different from Sundance. It will really get buzzy starting tonight, right through Sunday.”

While everyone watched and waited, Hollywood stars seemed in short supply on the street. But the ones in the sky were not far away — at least, if you glanced in the direction of the Tony Newlin Gallery, where a celestial nightscape of the Milky Way over Wilson Peak graced the window. Newlin captured it several years ago, on a crystalline night with a long-exposure lens. It seemed a harbinger of evenings to come. On Friday afternoon, celebrities were out there, somewhere. Soon, their images would illuminate theater screens all over town — and they would briefly appear at local talks and Q&As. 

Meanwhile, if the forecast holds — just like in Newlin’s photo, taken a few short miles from downtown Telluride — thousands of real stars should be visible every night. That is the convenient thing about a film festival set in a box canyon. To see true incandescence, all you have to do is look up.