The lack of filmmaking incentives in Colorado is well documented. And yet, Colorado filmmaking continues to thrive, as many filmmakers prefer to stay and work locally rather than move to Los Angeles or New York.
In 2009, three films with Colorado connections made their way to the Academy Awards. Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire was co-produced by Coloradans Gary Magness and Sarah Siegel-Magness, and received two Oscars – a Best Supporting Actress Award for Mo’Nique and Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher.
The Cove, a documentary depicting the horrible treatment of dolphins in Japan, was directed by Boulder photographer, Louis Psihoyos, and took home the Oscar for Best Feature Documentary. And The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner was directed by Denver based filmmaker, Daniel Junge, and produced by Henry Ansbacher and Davis Coombe. It was recognized in the Best Documentary Short category.
And just last year, University of Colorado alum and writer/director, Derek Cianfrance, saw numerous awards bestowed upon Blue Valentine, a devastatingly, honest portrayal of a couple whose marriage slowly disintegrates. The film featured Academy Award nominees Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.
This year, the Starz Denver Film Festival continues its tradition of showcasing locally produced shorts, features, and documentaries, many of which have already screened at other highly acclaimed festivals across the country.
Among this year’s highlights:
- The Movement: One Man Joins an Uprising – Narrated by Robert Redford and ski movie legend Warren Miller, The Movement is an incredibly uplifting documentary about five individuals from all walks of life who are able to beat the odds, overcome various disabilities, and experience freedom on the slopes. People like Mike May, who overcame blindness to work for the CIA and set a world record for speed skiing blind. Or Rick Finkelstein, paralyzed after a skiing accident in Aspen and back on the very same mountain six years later after overcoming several life threatening conditions. These stories and more capture the beauty of the human spirit and demonstrate the role skiing plays in helping many defy the impossible.
Showtimes: Wednesday November 9, 9:30pm at the Denver Film Center/Colfax. And Sunday, November 13, 4:30pm at the Starz FilmCenter.
- Postales. Colorado based writer-director, Josh Hyde’s interest in Peru and cultural diversity (Despacho, Chicle) lends itself quite well in this story about an American family adjusting to life in Cuzco. The film is told from the point of view of teenage daughter, Mary, who helps break language and cultural barriers when she befriends Pablo, a young street merchant adversely impacted by her father’s business. With a compelling, non-judgmental narrative, Hyde cleverly contrasts the lifestyles of natives versus foreigners, while maintaining an engaging and humanistic story about universal needs, wants, and desires.
Showtimes: Saturday, November 5, 3:45 pm at the Denver Film Center/Colfax. Tuesday, November 8, 4:30 pm at the Starz FilmCenter. And Tuesday, November 8, 9:30pm at the Starz FilmCenter.
- Patriocracy. Anti-government, political rhetoric and polarization are at an all time high, interfering with our country’s ability to tackle real problems. In an attempt to explore the root cause and effect, Denver based director/producer Brian Malone paints a bleak outlook of the current environment, from right and left sparring media conglomerates to illicit campaign funding tactics to the overall complacency of the American public, unable to discern fact from fiction. Through countless interviews, including CBS News Chief Bob Schieffer, Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, and various members of Congress, including former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (born in Denver), Malone leaves no stone unturned. A sizzling, thought provoking documentary, Patriocracy unabashedly shows the anger, frustration, and misinformation that result when “the spirit of compromise and collaboration has been lost.”
Showtimes: Saturday, November 5, 6:00 p.m. at the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. And Thursday, November 10, 6:00 p.m. at the Starz FilmCenter.
Along the way, don’t forget the many short films available throughout the festival, including the animated rise of a professional bull rider (8 Second Dance), the comedic robbery of a hoarder (A Stan Needs a Maid), and the edgy, film noir/detective story entitled, Web of Lies.
All terrific examples of Colorado filmmaking at its finest!
Mark Sells, “The Reel Deal”
For tickets and more information, visit: 34th Annual Starz Denver Film Festival