LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Telluride Film Festival on Thursday unveiled the lineup of movies for this weekend's event, regarded as among the top U.S. movie gatherings of the year and an early highlight for Oscar hopefuls.
The festival, which takes place over four days in the ski resort town of Telluride, Colorado, is considered a key event for cineastes featuring an eclectic group of foreign and U.S. movies.
This year's highlights include British director Mike Leigh's "Another Year," Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful" and a documentary from Martin Scorsese, "A Letter to Elia," about legendary director Elia Kazan .
Both "Another Year," starring Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville, and "Biutiful," with Javier Bardem, debuted at this past May's Cannes film festival and earned solid praise. Bardem shared Cannes' best actor prize playing a man struggling to cope with his life.
Others in Telluride's key section, called the Show, include U.S. director Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go," Stephen Frears U.K.-entry "Tamara Drewe," Australian Peter Weir's feature "The Way Back" with Colin Farrell, and documentaries "Inside Job" from Charles Ferguson and "Tabloid" by Errol Morris.
Telluride has long been a launching ground for movies seeking critical praise and audience buzz ahead of Hollywood's Oscar race. "Slumdog Millionaire" wowed Telluride crowds in 2008 before going on its run at the best film Academy Award.
The Colorado event, combined with two major festivals in Venice and Toronto taking place over the next few weeks, kicks off roughly six months of Oscar-watching in Hollywood. Already at Venice is strong buzz for actress Natalie Portman's portrayal of a ballerina in "Black Swan."
Elsewhere at Telluride, director Weir will be given a Silver medallion award for his contribution to film, as will British actor Colin firth and Italy's Claudia Cardinale.
Other highlights of the festival that starts Friday and ends on Monday's Labor Day holiday in the United States include surprise "sneak preview" movies, "Backlot" feature film portraits of artists, musicians and others, and short films, educational programs and seminars on filmmaking and movie art.
Editing by Christine Kearney