Hard as it is to believe in this lull of summer hallmarked by the usual hot-weather popcorn fare, we're edging ever closer to fall and the major fall film festivals, and Cinematical Indie will be bringing you heaps of coverage this year. Labor Day weekend, as always, means Telluride. Last year was our first year to cover the Telluride Film Festival; the fest is unique in that it doesn't announce its lineup until it actually starts, but that doesn't stop them from selling out passes well in advance of the fest every year, as film lovers converge on the small mountain town and triple its population for the weekend.

If you want to hit Telluride this year and haven't bought your passes yet, be prepared to pony up the big bucks; the Acme and Festival passes are sold out already, so you'll have to score yourself a $3500 patron pass if you want to attend. And good luck finding lodging in town at this point, unless you also want to dig deep and rent a spendy luxury vacation home -- but hey, if you that, drop me a line so I can come hang out -- we can talk movies while soaking in your jacuzzi overlooking the scenic San Juan mountains.
Telluride's lineup last year was pretty impressive; fest attendees were treated to the first ever screening of Little Children, introduced by a very nervous Todd Field. We were also able to bring you the early reviews of Forest Whitaker's Oscar-winning performance in The Last King of Scotland, Nicole Kidman's performance as photographer Diane Arbus in the under-appreciated and divisive Fur, Peter O'Toole's Oscar-nommed turn in Venus, and reviews of Babel, Jindabyne, and The Italian.

I have a much better idea of everything that goes on at the fest this year, so I'll also be hitting more panels and outdoor screenings this year, as well as the social stuff like the big Opening Day Feed and the closing Labor Day Picnic. Lots of celebs show up at Telluride to bask in its informal atmosphere, and you just never know who you'll bump into. Last year, I ended up having a casual chat with Forest Whitaker about Little Children, which we'd both just come from seeing, and how much we loved the film. Who knows what this year will bring, but it's sure to be worth the trip. I'll be bringing you coverage from Telluride again this year, and I can't wait to see what the lineup looks like. I'm planning to cover as much of the schedule as humanly possible, and will be posting candid photos from the fest as well.

While I'm covering Telluride, Ryan Stewart will be across the Atlantic, covering the Venice Film Festival. Venice, which runs this year from August 29 through September 8, is the oldest film fest in the world -- it began way back in 1932. Venice always boasts a stellar lineup, and this year is shaping up to be a great fest, with announcements so far about "Tim Burton" day, with the director being awarded a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, the world premiere of Burton's Sweeney Todd. Closing the fest will be Alexi Tan's first feature, Blood Brothers. This year, the fest's jury is comprised entirely of directors: Catherine Breillat, Jane Campion, Emanuele Crialese, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Ferzan Ozpetek and Paul Verhoeven. Venice is a beautiful city, so look for Ryan to post lots of candid pics from the fest, when he's not banging out reviews. The full Venice lineup is due out on July 26, and we'll give you the scoop on that when it hits.

Following hot on the heels of Telluride and Venice, we'll have Ryan Stewart, James Rocchi and Monika Bartyzel covering the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the busiest and most hectic fests of the year. Last year James, Martha Fischer and I really blitzed Toronto, bringing you tons of video interviews and reviews of some of the last year's biggest and most buzzed-about films, including Deliver Us from Evil, , the incredible presentation of Guy Maddin's Brand Upon the Brain!, Pedro Almodovar's Volver (which had, I think, Penelope Cruz's best performance to date), and of course, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazhakstan. At the premiere of the latter, as you might recall, the projector broke, and director Larry Charles and Michael Moore, who was on hand for the screening, had to prevent an audience riot with an improvisational Q&A. Hopefully this year's fest won't have any mechanical breakdowns; at any rate, our team will be there covering as much of the huge fest as they can.

This year Toronto promises another great line-up, including Shekhar Kapur's The Golden Age, starring Cate Blanchett, Abbie Cornish and Clive Owen; Michael Clayton (screenwriter Tony Gilroy's directorial debut, starring George Clooney, Sydney Pollack, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson), Gavin Hood's Rendition, starring Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal, and Meryl Streep; Jodie Foster starring in The Brave One, directed by Neil Jordan; Nothing is Private, which teams up Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello and Toni Collete, and is helmed by writer Alan Ball in his directorial debut; and Terry George's Reservation Road, which pairs up Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo.

As more news on fest lineups trickles out, we'll be bringing it to you right here; in the meantime, chill out and spend the rest of the summer giving some love to the indie flicks playing in theaters now -- catch SICKO if you haven't yet, but don't forget other good films like My Best Friend, Interview, and La Vie en Rose.