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'Sideways' maestro Alexander Payne to be 'guest director' of Telluride Film Festival

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Alexander Payne, who hasn’t directed a movie in the five years since Sideways became a breakout sleeper comedy and turned “merlot” into a bad word (and won him a screenplay Oscar), recently announced he’ll serve as guest director of the 2009 Telluride Film Festival. By tapping Payne for the post previously held by the likes of author Salman Rushdie and documentarian Werner Herzog, festival organizers are sending the signal that they’re interested in taking the Labor Day event in a younger, hipper direction. The selection of films to be screened at the festival, including those selected by Payne, won’t be announced until shortly before opening day on Sept. 4.