Telluride manager: “I no longer think this film festival is special”
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: As many of us are preparing to enter the fall film festival circuit, one woman just made a very public exit.
And not just any woman, either. Jennifer Ammann served as production manager for the Telluride Film Festival, and is walking away from the annual event. But not before recording and posting a bitter screed against the fest and its organizers on YouTube.
“I no longer think this film festival is special,” Ammann said in her clip, shot in front of a serene natural backdrop that contradicted her mood.
Ammann discusses the grind of putting together a film festival with the size and scope of Telluride. She accuses festival organizers of undervaluing employees (they take away breakfast!) and championing better treatment of the college-aged kids who come out to work for Telluride for several weeks.
“The bureaucratization of this festival has taken all the joy out of working for it,” she states.
Is she right? More than likely. Film festivals are not money makers (outside of the big events on the festival calendar), and they rely on the kindness of hundreds – if not thousands – of strangers to come together. It’s usually the work of five or 10 extremely dedicated organizers who motivate the rest of the masses who usually are volunteering their time or are being paid in screening tickets. The labor is intense, schedules are strict, and it can be stressful. Most bend, and a few – like Ms. Ammann – break.
Posting a YouTube clip might not have been the best course of action. Yes, it puts Telluride in a bad light, but I don’t think the fest is unnecessarily cruel, or even more mean-spirited than Toronto, Venice, New York, or the other major fests that are cast into a blinding-hot spotlight during the Oscar season.
Use this clip as a reminder, then, that when you are attending one of this year’s autumn festivals, treat the volunteers with extra kindness. And maybe hand them a little breakfast, as they might not be getting any in the volunteer tent.
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