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How to Attend the Telluride Film Festival as a Film Critic

How to Attend Telluride Film Festival as a Film Critic and get Media Accreditation is a simple process. There are two reasons why attending the Telluride Film Festival is important to a movie critic and a webmaster: 1.) New movies are shown for the first time there before nation wide releases. This allows you to see and review films months before other film critics that do not attend the Telluride Film Festival. 2.) The Telluride Film Festival is an opportunity to network, advertise yourself, your website, and your brand amongst other media professionals in the same field.

Background on the  Telluride Film Festival:

Operated by the National Film Preserve, “The bulk of the program is made up of new films, and there is an informal tradition that new films must be shown for the first time in North America to be eligible for the festival. Telluride is well-situated on the international film festival calendar for this: shortly after the Cannes Film Festival, but just before the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. This insistence on premieres has led to Telluride’s being associated with the discovery of a number of important new films and filmmakers.

Each festival also features three tributes. Typically one has been devoted to an important figure in contemporary Hollywood, another to a major historical figure, and a third to someone who is either not well known to American audiences or who has been misunderstood by them.

It also offers movie-goers a chance to learn about the film industry, with in depth seminars on most aspects of independent filmmaking.”

The Pass

Press e.g. movie critics and/or film website webmasters attending the Telluride Film Festival have to purcahse a pass to see the films presented there.

The types of passes and what each offers (click to enlarge):

Telluride Film Festival Passes

Telluride Film Festival Passes

Media Accreditation

Requirements for obtaining Media Accreditation at the Telluride Film Festival:

To assist working press, the festival does maintain a Press Desk before and during the event. Accredited members of the press who need information about individual films, filmmakers, or general festival info will be given ample support by our helpful staff. Please note that some restrictions may apply to the media, particularly regarding photography inside our theaters.

Media accreditation begins May 1 and runs through August 1. No early or late submissions will be accepted.


You must purchase a festival pass here Indicate you are a press member on the pass order form.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Media must purchase a pass that is “Festival” level or higher to be eligible for press accreditation.


If you were an accredited press member at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival, please submit your coverage as well as current contact information, to Shannon Mitchell to be considered for accreditation in 2012.


If you are a new applicant, please fill out the Telluride Film Festival Press Accreditation Request Form.

Press accreditation requests must be submitted by August 1. E-mail your completed application to Shannon Mitchell

Please submit the following with your request form:

  • Recent coverage of a film-related story, including your byline.
  • A letter of assignment on company letterhead from your assignment editor.

After receiving your application, the Press Office will review your request. You will be notified, via e-mail, on the status of your request. If your application is approved, details will be sent to you stating how and where to pick up your pass. One applicant per request form, please.

The Expense Continues

Once you have selected a pass, the cost of attending the Telluride Film Festival does not end there. There is: the cost of the plane ticket, travel from the airport to the hotel, the hotel room’s cost, and food and water costs. Peter Sciretta of Slashfilm had this to say about the inherent costs associated with the Telluride Film Festival:

So to get from Los Angeles to Telluride, it’s probably easiest to fly into Durango, Colorado. Flying direct from LAX is not possible, so you’re either catching a connection in Denver or Phoenix. The second leg is usually on a small plane which holds less than 50 people. Once you get into Durango, it’s a 110 mile drive into Telluride. The windy road to Telluride runs through the mountains and can take three hours.

We stay at a ski resort outside of downtown, over the mountain. To get into downtown Telluride, we take a relaxing 20 minute Gondola ride and walk a half mile to mile to the various movie venues spread around town.

And it isn’t cheap. A festival pass will run you $780, which means that if you are lucky to cram in an average of four movies a day (first and last days are half days), you’re paying almost $50 a movie. Hotels and bed and breakfasts in town are very expensive (and hard to come by). We save money by booking a room in the previously mentioned ski mountain resort over the mountain, which is still a couple hundred bucks a night. Don’t even try to figure out the math as to how much each movie costs you after hotel and travel, I don’t even want to know.

To make things more complicated, the line-up for Telluride is a closely guarded secret which isn’t revealed until the day before the festival begins. Everyone who attends books flights, hotels, passes and car rentals without even knowing what movies will play.

Before deciding to attend the Telluride Film Festival, make sure your revenue stream can handle this decrease in available funds.

What the Telluride?

Ever wonder why you see posts and articles on movie websites or media outlets that include “Telluride” or “Telluride [Year]” somewhere in the title of the article?

Telluride 2012 Post Example

Telluride 2012 Post Example

I believe it is because of this line from the Media Accreditation section:  “If you were an accredited press member at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival, please submit your coverage”. By including “Telluride” or “Telluride [Year]” in the post title, your coverage is easily identifiable.

Closing Thoughts

I, like many cinephiles and webmasters, would love to attend the Telluride Film Festival if it were not for the costs associated with attendance. Over $50 per movie is obscene but if your website or you are flush with capital, seeing a movie first and writing it up before others makes your website more valuable. By doing so, you would have something that others do not: a review for a movie that will not be out for months.

Sources: Telluridefilmfestival, Wikipedia, Slashfilm

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A cinephile who started ProMovieBlogger to educate others on what he had learned through trial and error. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook (, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions.

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