Professor Annette Insdorf Honored with the Special Medallion at Telluride Film Festival

BY Felix van Kann, September 17, 2021

The Telluride Film Festival has honored Professor Annette Insdorf with its Special Medallion, which the festival awards annually to celebrate a “hero of cinema—an organization or individual—that preserves, honors and presents great movies.” Past recipients include The Criterion Collection, HBO, Ted Turner, Stanley Kauffmann, Manny Farber, Pierre Rissient, Leonard Maltin, Serge Bromberg, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and Participant Media. A tribute to Insdorf written by Associate Professor and Head of the Directing Concentration Ramin Bahrani can be found in the Telluride Film Festival program brochure. Bahrani writes: “Cinema history and the global film community are brighter and richer thanks to Annette Insdorf.”


Insdorf also moderated three panels at the festival as part of the Noon Seminars series where festival guests gathered to discuss cinema, art, and life. There, Insdorf moderated discussions with guests like Kenneth Branagh, Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Dinklage, Asghar Farhadi, Maggie Gyllenhaal (CC ’99), and more. The 48th Telluride Film Festival ran from September 2 to September 6, 2021.

Insdorf is the author of Francois Truffaut, Indelible Shadows: Film and Holocaust, Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski, Philip Kaufman, Intimations: The Cinema of Wojciech Has, and Cinematic Overtures: How to Read Opening Scenes. She is considered an authority on the French New Wave and has provided voice-over commentary for the DVDs of Shoot the Piano Player, Jules and Jim, and The Last Metro. She was interviewed in the French documentary Francois Truffaut: Stolen Portraits, and her other DVD commentaries include Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds and Milcho Manchevksi's Before the Rain


Since 1983, Insdorf has hosted "Reel Pieces," the popular and prestigious film series at the 92nd Street Y. Her guests have included Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, Pedro Almodovar, Angelina Jolie, and Al Pacino. She is the executive producer of the Academy Award-winning live action short Shoeshine. Insdorf co-hosted BRAVO/IFC’s Cannes Film Festival coverage with Roger Ebert and has appeared on 20/20, Charlie Rose, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Good Morning, America, and CNN.


Insdorf was named Chevalier dans l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 1986. In 1993, she was "knighted" for her educational efforts, and in 1999, she was promoted to "Officer" in the arts. She was honored by Anthology Film Archives in 2004; by the National Arts Club in 2005 (Gold Medal for Contribution to French Culture in the US, jointly with her mother, Dr. Cecile Insdorf); and by the Jewish Women's Foundation of New York in 2008. 


Insdorf served as Columbia University’s Director of Undergraduate Film Studies for 27 years. She is the recipient of the 2008 Award for Excellence in Teaching from Columbia’s School of General Studies. From 1990 to 1995, she was Chair of the Graduate Film Division.