This September, Phillip Brogdon '12 and Corbin Eule '12 lived a cinephile’s dream in Telluride, Colorado.
For the past 38 years, Telluride—known for its skiing and festivals—has been home to one of America’s largest and most prestigious film festivals, the Telluride Film Festival.
Each year, the festival invites fifty students (undergraduate and graduate, film and non-film majors) to spend four days screening and discussing a huge number of films. This year, Brogdon and Eule were both invited to attend.
During their time in Telluride, they participated in conversations and panels with filmmakers, artists, and other festival guests led by the symposium’s faculty. They watched so many movies that both Brogdon and Eule said “I only got about 4-5 hours of sleep a night!”
The two first heard about the symposium from their films professor, Terri Geller, who encouraged her students in her Film Analysis and Film Genres classes to apply for the program. Brogdon, an economics major, and Eule, a Spanish and biochemistry double major, may not seem like typical film aficionados on paper, but a chat with them reveals much more.
MG: Tell me about your application to the film festival.
PB: The prompt was to write three to four pages on: “If you could bring one movie to a desert island, what movie would you bring and why?” I chose the movie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, which is a movie about dance marathons in the Great Depression directed by Sidney Pollack. It’s pretty dark, but I really like it.
MG: What did you do this summer?
CE: Pharmacology research at Case Western Reserve University. Yeah, nothing to do with film.
MG: Were you worried about not being a film major at this event?
CE: We were two of six or seven non-film related majors, but it didn’t really matter. It was such a great opportunity because the movies shown started from the days of silent film—we didn’t just watch recent movies, so we really got a sense of how movies have changed and grown over time and got a lot of background.
PB: I wasn’t worried. We got to sit in rooms with directors and screenwriters and just ask them questions. Most presenters wanted to dedicate most of their time to Q&A, so we really had the chance to learn and interact with people who have dedicated their lives to film. I learned so much.
MG: What do you think people should know about movies?
CE: People don’t approach movies the way they approach other forms of entertainment. It’s easy for less well-known other forms of media to make it into the hands of the public, but because the price of distributing films are so expensive, most people don’t get to see the most interesting of films. I think people should keep that in mind and seek out those films that aren’t box office hits.
MG: Do you have any movie recommendations? What was the last thing you saw in theaters?
PB: Gosh, all I do is watch depressing movies! I think people should see Network. It’s about reality TV before reality TV happens. I think it’s really relevant.
CE: This is embarrassing, but the last thing I saw in the theater was Bridesmaids. It was hilarious and I definitely recommend it.
MG: What were your final thoughts about the experience?
PB: Within the past 6 months, I’ve been to Europe and Yosemite National Park and neither of them compare. Hopefully I’ll go back there every year to volunteer.
CE: I was worried everyone would be super artsy or maybe pretentious, but that wasn’t the case at all. Everyone was so sincere and truly loved film. I highly recommend anyone who is even a bit interested in film to apply to the program.
By Mona Ghadiri '11
Photo courtesy of Phillip Brogdon '12