Bill Pence, co-founder of the Telluride Film Festival, died on December 6 after a long illness. Telluride Daily Planet reported on Wednesday. He is 82 years old.
The first festival was held in 1974 at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado. It was started by the Telluride Council for the Arts and Humanities, Bill and Stella Pence, Tom Luddy and James Card. It continues to be operated annually by the National Film Preservation.
“Bill Pence has become an almost legendary figure in the Telluride Film Festival landscape,” Julie Huntsinger, executive director of the Telluride Film Festival, said in a statement. The Hollywood Reporter. “An incredibly generous founder but no single description is enough. A showman, a visionary, a great leader, a movie buff – all these things and more. But most of all, Bill was a great man. Kind and smart and a wonderful father and husband. We are his We take inspiration from the example and pledge to continue the important work of film appreciation.
Born in Minneapolis, Pence immersed himself in movies from his first job, where he started the city’s movie palaces. While running a student film society at college, his interest was piqued when he saw Harold Lloyds. The Freshman for the first time. He then started his career as a promoter, where he would present a regular film program to students, calling them “Festivals”.
After graduation, Pence joined the US Air Force for several years. After his release, Pence worked as a VP at Janus Films in New York, focusing on growing the new and classic Janus film collection, which later served as the basis for the Criterion Collection. newspaper.
Once he moved to Denver and met his wife Stella, the Telluride Film Festival began to come to life in 1974 with the help of his friend and film historian Card and Pacific Archive director Luddy.
For the next three decades, he worked to expand the festival and transform the film business, until Bill and Stella retired from the festival in 2006. In 1980, Bill and Stella also created and ran the Santa Fe Film Festival for three years.
After his Telluride departure, Pence was hired to help organize the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival, which continues in Los Angeles.
“Our festival owes so much to both of them,” said TCM General Manager Paula Chagnon THR.
A collection of film prints collected by Pence over his 50-year career are now housed at the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard Film Archive.
Pence is survived by his wife Stella, daughters Jazzy and Laura, and four grandchildren.