My name is Chelsea Nanawa and I am a senior at the University of New Mexico (UNM) majoring in media arts.  I am so fortunate that I was selected to attend the 43rd Telluride Film Festival (TFF) in Telluride, CO and that I was able to participate.  This amazing film festival took place over the Labor Day weekend — September 2-5, 2016.

Professor Konefsky was instrumental in my nomination and selection as one of the fifty students to attend the 43rd Telluride Film Festival!  I am a member of a non-profit organization, Basement Films, in Albuq., NM where I work under the tutelage of President Bryan Konefsky.  I have helped produce various film festival works and assisted with multiple school outreach workshops and presentations.

This was an awesome experience to meet filmmakers from all walks of life! My time in Telluride for the TFF was completely exhausting, riveting and educational all in one. The Cinephile scholarship granted me a Cinephile pass and my lodging paid for at the beautiful Peaks Resort and Spa. My typical day consisted of me waking up to the breathtaking views of the mountain village, circling all the films on my menu that I hope to catch that day, grabbing some breakfast and then taking the 13 minute gondola ride into the town of Telluride to start my intense, yet amazing movie-watching expedition.

Over the three-day weekend, I was able to view about 12 films with unfortunately many more to spare. I usually began my day around 8 or 9 a.m. and did not find myself returning to my hotel room until about 2 a.m. There was practically no time to eat or rest, so eating had to be done while walking to the next film showing and resting was done while waiting in line to get inside the theatre. My eyes were exposed to so much cinematic artistry, I was completely overwhelmed and in complete bliss. My Cinephile heart was substantially full after leaving each film with my expectations (usually) greatly exceeded.

I walked around the town of Telluride going from theatre to theatre occasionally coming across some celebrities and directors like Jennifer Garner, Emma Stone, Casey Affleck, Kenneth Lonergan and Barry Jenkins. I actually almost bumped into Tom Hanks as I was sprinting (uphill) in the rain to make it in time for another film. Overall, I came out of this experience with a new appreciation for the cinematic arts and with even more inspiration and passion for this field. My time at the Telluride Film Festival has confirmed that my pursuit in the cinematic arts is not in vain – it is exactly the opposite. It is a field with great respectability, splendor and finesse.