The Reel Deal: 2010 Starz Denver Film Festival

Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Since 1978, the Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF) has celebrated the art of cinema and cultivated the relationship between film and the Denver community. And this year marks its 33rd Annual Celebration, giving Rocky Mountain audiences a first-hand opportunity to experience new and original films from all over the world. 

Starting Wednesday, November 3rd and running through Sunday, November 14th, the SDFF will host a collection of more than 200 films, from full-length features to shorts, student films, and documentaries. In what can only be described as a fun filled extravaganza, the festival admittedly places Denver in the Hollywood limelight for nearly a fortnight. 

Featuring a number of red carpet events, the SDFF opens at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with the Pulitzer Prize winning drama, Rabbit Hole, segues to the emotional journey of Colorado outdoorsman, Aron Ralston, as depicted in 127 Hours by Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), and finishes with Black Swan, a thrilling tale of competitive ballet, starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Winona Ryder.

Over 150 guest filmmakers and stars will gather in town for the celebration. And depending on the night, you might catch a glimpse of John Cameron Mitchell and Aaron Eckhart (Rabbit Hole), Danny Boyle and Aron Ralston (127 Hours), and this year’s John Cassavetes’ Award Recipient, Elliott Gould (Morning). 

Other festival highlights this year include: a 10 film tribute to Iranian cinema, panel discussions on Women + Film, The Reel West, and The Indie Gold Rush, animation workshops for kids, and the Argonaut Wine & Film Series, giving attendees the opportunity to experience five wonderful films and wines from five different countries.

James Franco in "127 Hours"

The flagship of the Denver film community, the Starz Denver Film Festival is a wonderful experience for any cinephile. Hope to see you there! 

-Mark Sells, The Reel Deal

This Week’s Picks

  • 127 Hours – Living in Colorado, no doubt you’ve heard the story of Aron Ralston, the mountain climber who was trapped under a boulder while hiking in an isolated canyon in Utah in May 2003. Over the course of 5 days, he patiently waits for a rescue that never comes. And throughout, reflects on his past and present before ultimately, taking matters into his own hands. Directed by Danny Boyle, Academy Award winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, and featuring a heroic performance from James Franco, 127 Hours is an uplifting story of one man’s personal triumph and survival. However, please note: For the faint of heart, the amputation scene is quite graphic and has been reported to have caused many health issues at different screenings across the country. 
  • Waiting for Superman – The American education system is failing and something drastic must be done to fix it. In this superb new documentary, director Davis Guggenheim examines the problem inside and out, from the ‘drop out factories’ to the fancy, privileged schools. But does so through the experiences of 5 young students and an African-American educator named Geoffrey Canada, whose efforts to improve the lives of those in the poorest parts of Harlem have had dramatic results. Though the realities are quite depressing, Guggenheim demonstrates that a good education is possible and inexpensive, even for the disadvantaged, if we are willing to make it a priority.  

Film Event on the Radar:

Jean-Michel Cousteau's "Dolphins & Whales"
  • Dolphins & Whales – Starting November 6th. The Wildlife Experience. Parker, CO. Looking for a great indoor activity for the family? How about a trip to The Wildlife Experience and catching a terrific documentary from Jean-Michel Cousteau? In the film, Cousteau explores the coral reefs of the Bahamas, the Kingdom of Tonga, and a variety of never-before-seen habitats of dolphins, whales, orca, and more. Narrated by Daryl Hannah, the film takes you so close to the animals, you feel like you can touch them! Presented on the 40 by 60 foot giant Extreme Theater. Additional films playing at the Wildlife Experience include: Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees and Wild Ocean.

For more information on the The Wildlife Experience, visit:

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