As a long-standing tradition, the Telluride Film Festival's Program is not unveiled until the day before it begins. However, to whet the appetites of film buffs, the festival presents three pre-festival films, which relate in some way to the festival. It's up to you to speculate just how. The films will be screened on Wednesday, August 31, and Thursday, Sept. 1. All three films are free and open to all. Richard Sarafian’s Vanishing Point (1971) will light up the screen on August 31 at 8:30 p.m., as its superb rock soundtrack fills the air at the Abel Gance Open Air Cinema (in Elks Park). Written by Guillermo Cabrera Infante and shot in Colorado by John A. Alonzo, this cult favorite has its hero accept the bet that he can’t make the 1,500 mile trip back to California from Colorado, where he has just driven. The Chuck Jones Theater in the Mountain Village will screen The Last Picture Show (l971), director Peter Bogdanovich’s award-winning film, on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. Film Critic Roger Ebert writes that the film “has been described as an evocation of the classic Hollywood narrative film. It is more than that; it is a belated entry in that age – the best film of 1951, you might say. Using period songs and decor to create nostalgia is familiar enough, but to tunnel down to the visual level and get that right, too, and in a way that will affect audiences even if they aren’t aware how, is one hell of a directing accomplishment. Movies create our dreams as well as reflect them, and when we lose the movies we lose the dreams. I wonder if Bogdanovich’s film doesn’t at last explain what it was that Pauline Kael, and a lot of the rest of us, lost at the movies.” Also screening Thursday, down at the Abel Gance Open Air Cinema, is the superb Western saga The Searchers (1956) at 8:30 p.m. Directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, this film will remind audiences why the names of these two film icons loom so large. Reviewer Tom Milne opines that this is a “marvelous Western which turns Monument Valley into an interior landscape as Wayne pursues his five-year odyssey, a grim quest – to kill both the Indian who abducted his niece and the girl herself – which is miraculously purified of its racist furies in a final moment of epiphany. There is perhaps some discrepancy in the play between Wayne’s heroic image and the pathological outsider he plays here … but it hardly matters, given the film’s visual splendor and muscular poetry in its celebration of the spirit that vanished with the taming of the American wilderness.” Film aficionados, enjoy! During the festival weekend, five programs, titled Made on a MAC, will take the audience behind the scenes as filmmakers reveal how they used Apple hardware and software to create the movies they are presenting at this year’s Telluride Film Festival. The filmmakers’ names can’t be announced until Thursday, August 26, but pencil in these special slots, all at the Minnie (at the high school). Friday, 2-3 p.m., 3:15-4:15 p.m., two film artists talk about film in the digital age and share some of their technical secrets. Film buffs, filmmakers and aspiring auteurs will not want to miss this pre-festival treat. As will be the case for all of these shows, Festival Pass Holders who arrive on time will be seated first; the doors will then open to the public at no charge. On Saturday, two festival filmmakers will each host a program, with the first program at 12-12:45 p.m., and the second at 12:45-1:30 p.m. On Sunday there will be one program between noon and 1:30 p.m. In addition, Friday through Monday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Apple invites everyone (with or without a pass) to drop by and meet film and video experts and see Final Cut Studio software and Apple hardware in action at The Apple Studio, in the Sheridan Opera House Conference Room. There will be more information on these special events in the Festival Program, and posted around town and at the Apple display at Brigadoon, the Festival’s hospitality center, which appears magically each year at the base of the Gondola.