With Friday's kickoff of this year's Telluride Film Festival, Telluride and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) are entering the second year of an unusual partnership called FilmLab.
The custom-designed program was proposed to TFF co-director Julie Huntsinger by the dean of TFT, Teri Schwartz, and was launched in 2011 with a special program that gave selected UCLA graduate film students a VIP workshop experience at Telluride.
The FilmLab experience is being offered again this year, but TFT and Telluride have also told TheWrap that they will extend their collaboration to a jointly curated film program on the UCLA campus in Westwood.
The point, Schwartz said, is "to build a series of joint educational programs," and to "celebrate excellence in cinema by investing in the elevation and education of cinema and humanistic storytelling through our combined leadership and resources."
Last year, FilmLab was launched with a program for 10 selected UCLA graduate students in TFT. The students' Telluride program included meetings and workshops with Rodrigo Garcia and Glenn Close, director and star/producer of "Albert Nobbs," and with Alexander Payne, director of "The Descendants" and a graduate of TFT.
This year's students, who are spread out across the school's Producing, Producing/Directing, Screenwriting, Animation and Critical and Media Studies programs, will meet with "Argo" director Ben Affleck, whose film was not on the original program but will screen in a "sneak preview" slot.
Their five-day program will also include sessions with actress Laura Linney, producer Bonnie Arnold, theater director Peter Sellars and documentary filmmakers Ken Burns, Errol Morris and Joshua Oppenheimer, among others. Filmmaker receptions, seminars and special screenings are also on the agenda.
After the festival, said Schwartz and Huntsinger, the FilmLab collaboration will continue with "For the Love of Movies," a series of special screenings curated by Telluride and TFT and presented on the UCLA campus to inner-city students. The program will be managed by a student group, Elevate.