In one of the more adorable moments of the night, "Like Crazy" director Drake Doremus helps his young niece navigate the sea of photographers shooting along the red carpet. (photo by Deahna Brockman)

The theme for the 34th Annual Starz Denver Film Festival is “Roll Out the Red” … and that’s exactly what went down last night at the glorious Ellie Calkins Opera House. In a scene more Hollywood than Denver, producers, directors, talent and various festival VIPs strutted their stuff on the red carpet amidst a cacophony of camera shutters, flashes and media questions. And, with temperatures dipping into the low 20s, there were plenty of red noses, toes and fingers to match the rug.

Still, what a scene. Where Hollywood may have the stars in ball gowns and tuxes, this is Denver, and we do glamour our own way. Sequined dresses paired with warm boots, suits coupled with Elmer Fudd ear-flap hats and more modified couture put the “fun” in functional…at least for the smart folks among the bunch.  Several ladies in miniscule dresses and not much else did not last long on the carpet. Let that be a lesson, chicas…it’s cold here sometimes. Dress accordingly.

All weather aside, the film community turned out en masse for the Denver premiere of Like Crazy, the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner for dramatic film. Written and directed by Drake Doremus, the film stars Anton Yelchin (seen in this completely nerdtastic blooper reel from Star Trek), Felicity Jones and Academy Award Nominee Jennifer Lawrence. Doremus was in attendance with his adorable young niece, who was beaming from ear to ear on the red carpet and obviously enjoying the star treatment experience.

Tonight is another red carpet event, this time at the Colfax Film Center for the premiere of the sci-fi-esque drama Melancholia, starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, John Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, and my favorite True Blood hottie, Alexander Skarsgård, and directed by Danish maverick Lars von Trier. Many may remember the hot water von Trier found himself in earlier this year – some grating remarks about Hitler and Nazis and other not-so-popular topics got him booted from the Cannes Film Festival.  The film, however, earned Dunst the best actress award at that festival.

Tonight’s screening is sold out and no word yet on all who will be walking the red carpet tonight. Michael Moore is doing a book signing across the way at Tattered Cover … and a little bird told me that Moore perhaps might find tonight that he quite enjoys the color red, especially when he can walk on a carpet that color *wink wink, nudge nudge.* In other words, keep an eye out for him around 6:15-ish.

Bryan Storkel, director of "Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians" dressed for the weather. (photo by Deahna Brockman)

SIDENOTE: Among those in attendance last night was a group from what looks to be a fascinating film: Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians. I grabbed an impromptu red carpet interview with director Bryan Storkel (he, one of the aforementioned Elmer Fudd-hat wearing dudes…adorable!) that will be posted on this site shortly. The film documents a group of Christians that, as the title suggests, pull some Rain Man card-counting action on several casinos, making a fortune along the way. The obvious accompanying moral questions, UBERDRAMA, and, of course, the challenges that came with filming this action (as well as the interesting fall out from the film) make for fascinating stuff. Catch this one if you can.

There are more than 250 films at this year’s festival – the biggest yet, and clearly too much to preview here. Suffice it to say, however, that festival staff has expertly curated a slate of films for every level of moviegoer. Whether you’re a seasoned cinephile, or you want to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Josie and the Pussycats, you can do it at SDFF. 303 Magazine will be bringing you the best of the parties, films and other events surrounding the festival, so please come back to the site daily for updates!

Many screenings still have tickets available. See the Denver Film Society’s website for details.

With its star-studded cast of musicians, "Play Like a Lion" is a widely-anticipated film at this year's festival. Here, director Joshua Dylan Mellars gives a red carpet interview.

Director Jasmine McGlade Chazelle is all smiles. Her film, "Maria My Love," screens 11/8 and 11/9. It stars two-time Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Karen Black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Keeney admits she originally became a professional music writer because she was too cheap broke in college to pay for concert tickets. She’s obsessed with The Clash, loves classic bicycles, blogs for 303, and writes for the magazine’s print edition. She’s also ridiculously addicted to news, politics and movies. Follow her on Twitter at @onnabugeisha.

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