It seems like 99% sure that At Any Price will play at Telluride, the new hip film festival, lol.
If you recall, in comments earlier jeezbee pointed out her theories on the TIFF large theater placement and priority press screening for At Any Price and how maybe that means TIFF is expecting a lot of heat off of the Venice screening and also possibly (hopefully) a Telluride screening.
There were also other indicators. It's been on Bahrani fan wishlists (which doesn't mean a lot). But then someone on twitter actually mentioned that a leaked (later revealed to be bullshit) Telluride schedule was missing at least one film he knew was going. Which is notable when you realize that someone is a student of Bahrani, so he actually would know.
In the end, the twitter comment deduction seems to be right... at least according to production notes we've obtained. From the first page:
Plus later they quote Michael Pollan's notes in the Telluride guide:
AT ANY PRICE takes us on a harrowing journey into the modern, post-Monsanto farm belt. This is a place where the pressures on farmers to “expand or die,” as one character puts it and to rat out their neighbors creates a world in which good men find themselves resorting to desperate measures to maintain their hold on the land and a way of life that is falling apart.
Now for some excerpts from the production notes...
The fiercely competitive world of high-tech agribusiness is the backdrop for AT ANY PRICE, a drama that melds timeless themes of fathers and sons, ambition and rebellion, morality and survival, with a sharply de-romanticized view of modern farming. “I spent about six months in the Midwest observing the life of farmers,” says writer/director RAMIN BAHRANI about his heartland portrait. “I’d ride with the farmers in their massive 48-row air-conditioned GPS planters and they’d talk to me, almost like a therapy session. A lot of the stories and emotions in the movie came from those conversations with real farmers.”
“Like a lot of people these days, we’re very interested in food—where does it come from? Is it processed? What are we putting into our bodies? And the king of processed food is corn. There’s a collision between our collective romantic idea of farming and heartland values, and the reality that farming is a big, cutthroat business. It has dramatically changed—it’s not local guys in overalls plowing the land; it’s businessmen running multimillion dollar operations with very advanced technology. On my first trip out to Iowa, every farmer I met told me the same two phrases, “Expand or die” and “Get big or get out.” It seemed like a metaphor for American society, for the values that have led us to disaster. In many ways, believing in those mantras perpetuated the housing crisis, and the global financial meltdown. It’s a dangerous philosophy for life that is being exported to Europe and beyond.”
In his headlong pursuit of profit, Henry’s corporate crime—breaking...is nearly his ruin, but his moral crime... totally shatters the act he has been playing and his illusions that he’s living a good life. “Henry and Irene are disturbed and haunted in ways that Dean may not be. But they get away with it,” says Bahrani. “And that’s the culture of the country right now. Politicians on both sides helped the banks get away with it. Corporate and political greed is on steroids. Screw people over and you’ll get away with it—you will even be rewarded! And this is a problem, a real problem. ‘Getting away with it’ will haunt the Whipple family for the rest of their lives.”
The Second Son
The character of Dean, the underappreciated second son, traces a trajectory from rebel desperate to escape the family legacy to conspirator desperate to keep the legacy going. As Dean, ZAC EFRON takes on a classic archetype and makes it his own. The character of Dean, struggling to break free of small town roots and family obligations, demands formidable acting range and shades. Says Efron, “The key to Dean for me was to figure out the relationship with his father and brother—resenting one and loving the other, his feelings of abandonment and his urge to break free. He's a renegade younger brother who wishes he could leave like his older brother did, but he's confused about his life and his place in the family. I enjoyed acting the dark side of Dean, and trusted Ramin to guide me through the experience.”
Dean’s dreams of stardom on the big-league racing circuit extend the story into another aspect of Americana—and blast white-knuckle suspense and action into the movie’s storyline. “Race cars are Dean’s escape from the mundane,” says Efron, who admits: “To be honest, racing scared the heck out of me. However, we had great instructors and after a few laps, I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Driving the rally car through the cornfield was insane.”
Although his character’s name and plight might invoke another young actor who played the moody protagonist of EAST OF EDEN, Efron says, “I was really inspired by Paul Newman in HUD—he’s a prodigal son who’s into fast cars too.”
So, barring disaster, I expect this to become public probably tomorrow (if the schedule leaks a day early like last year). Or at the latest, Friday, when the Festival begins.
It would be awesome if Zac can turn up there as well. There was already a rumor about him going but unclear if true since their timeline was off in re: him needing to be in Venice.