The Starz Denver Film Festival is the ultimate staycation. Without traveling more than a few miles from home, you can attend a Broadway one-act musical competition (One Night Stand, playing Tuesday at 9:45pm) or hop an international flight to India to study with world renowned musician Ali Akbar Kahn (Play Like a Lion, Tuesday at 7pm). Your staycation can be as highbrow (Dance Town, Wednesday) or lowbrow (The FP, Tuesday) as you wish. As a matter of fact, you can attend all of the above and it still won’t set you back any more than what you spend on gas in a typical week.
But one thing is for certain, this festival is looooooong. Today marks the halfway point: six days down, six to go. The first big weekend is behind us, and filmgoers across Denver have begun to go cross-eyed from so many hours staring at a screen. The second week films aren’t going to watch themselves, though, so here are a few tips to avoid the dreaded festival fatigue:
Pace yourself. As audience members were advised on opening night, this festival is a marathon, not a sprint. Even if it means missing a screening or two, set some time aside for sleep, meals and to say hello to your loved ones. And for the sake of your fellow festivalgoers, please don’t forget to shower.
Eat your fruits and vegetables. I know it can be awfully tempting to snag a beer and a tub of popcorn before each movie, but I promise you will regret it. Sitting in a dark theater for 8 hours a day isn’t the best thing for your body, so take care of yourself by saying no to pizza and yes to grapes and oranges. If you own a bike and can fit in a quick bit of cardio while trekking between the Denver Film Center on Colfax and the Starz Film Center at Tivoli, that’s even better.
Attend screenings with filmmakers in attendance. There’s nothing like some honest to goodness human interaction to get the blood flowing again. One thing that makes the Starz Denver Film Festival so special is the number of filmmakers in attendance. This is your chance to cut out the middle man and get some answers straight from the source. This might be your only chance to ask Jeff Who Lives at Home directors Jay and Mark Duplass just how they manage to take Hollywood A-listers and turn them into socially awkward halfwits! Instant gratification is a wonderful thing. Speaking of human interaction, that guy in line for the same movies as you day in and day out? Talk to him. You two probably have a lot in common.
Mix it up. If you are a big fan of documentaries, this is your big chance to check out how the other side lives. And vise versa. Trust me, if you attend even a handful of screenings at this festival, you’ll devour a lion’s share of your favorite genre no matter what. Diversifying your intake will keep your cinephile brain stimulated.
Make connections. The more films you watch at a festival, the more you will notice strange connections and coincidences linking films that on the surface should have nothing to do with one another. For instance, the first three films I saw at this festival each featured Ghanaian refugees, even though the films themselves originated from three different countries and had completely unrelated subject matter. Whether intentional or not, festival programs trend toward certain themes and occurrences in unexpected ways. It’s uncanny. Ride it.