Telluride, A small miner's town from the 19th century, located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, hosts one of the most prestigious and important film festivals in the world. Not as big as Cannes or Venice but a festival that has been described by Todd McCarthy in The Variety Guide to Film Festivals as "the rarest jewel in the crown of the festival-going experience."
Every year the festival gives a "Special Medallion" to "an organization or individual – that preserves honors and presents great movies". Past recipients include Ted Turner (Founder of CNN and TNT), HBO, Stanley Kauffman, the UCLA film & Television Archive.
The festival's esteemed council of advisors and board of governors which include amongst others Alexander Payne, Elizabeth Redleaf, Laurie Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Salman Rushdie, Bertrand Tavernier and more, chose to award the Special Medallion this year to Katriel Schory, Executive Director of the Israel Film Fund. The decision to award Katriel with the Medallion is based on the quality of the films that received the production support of the Fund during the time he has been serving as Executive Director and that have contributed to the world of cinema, as well as for his contribution to the Film Industry in Israel and worldwide.
The following is taken from the Telluride Film Festival Program:
"Israel, a country roughly the size of New Jersey, has developed one of the most respected cinemas in the world. Israel produces consistently excellent and courageous work by directors of diverse backgrounds, religious and political beliefs.
It would not be an exaggeration to offer much of the credit to one man: Katriel Schory. When Schory took over the Israeli Film Fund in 1999, the industry was at an all-time low, both commercially and artistically. Audiences had lost interest in seeing their own stories on screen.
Schory got to work. He embarked on a long-term effort to identify co-production partners throughout Europe, and increased funding for marketing and distribution as well as production… But perhaps most importantly, Schory and his team set out to expand beyond Tel-Aviv – to discover voices from throughout the country and from all sectors of Israeli society. "We had to open up." He explained, "to seek out the people representing the cultural diversity of this country and give them a voice."
The award ceremony took place in Telluride on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017.
During the festival, which is most commonly known as "The Show", the small Colorado town is crowded by the heads of the American film industry who come for four days of a total and absolute cinematic experience. The festival program is not published or exposed prior to the festival, but the festival audience knows that the program will celebrate and screen the Best of world cinema.
The Telluride film Festival is regarded as a "Cinematic Show" – the most important and influential cinematic event and the most valued one by American filmmakers and the American film actors who come and enjoy the festival's casual and laid back atmosphere.
A.O. Scott, from The New York Times wrote, "There are no prizes, and therefore no juries; no market, no press screenings, no red carpets or paparazzi photo calls." The festivalgoers come to Telluride for one purpose to view the Best of World cinema and live cinema not only through the films but also through the many panels and talks the festival hosts between the filmmakers and the audience.
Amongst the Israeli films that were supported by the Israel Film Fund and were previously screened at the Telluride Film Festival one can mention "The Band's Visit", "Waltz with Bashir", "Bethlehem", "Footnote", "Dancing Arabs and more.
"Foxtrot", directed by Samuel Maoz, received the production support of the Israel Film Fund and will screen in this year's festival.