36th Starz Denver Film Festival

Now that we have made it through the post-Summer lull that can only mean one thing – the return of the Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF). This year is the 36th edition with a theme of ‘Paint the Town Red.’ The festival kicks off Wednesday November 6th and runs until November 17th. Recognized as one of the best film festivals in the Rocky Mountains, SDFF brings in a wide variety of films from all over the world which would never be seen here on the big screen. Over 50,000 people regularly attend the fest with even more expected for this year.

“With nearly 200 titles, a ten-film focus on the Netherlands, an impressive array of locally produced work and a year-end survey of 2013’s best festival films, SDFF 36 is shaping up to be one of the strongest in years,” said Artistic Director Brit Withey.

“Reflecting what is being called the most competitive Oscar season in recent memory, the 36th Starz Denver Film Festival will present the Denver with premieres of four outstanding Red Carpet films from acclaimed SDFF alumni filmmakers Jason Reitman, Alexander Payne, John Wells and Andy Garcia,” said Festival Director Britta Erickson.

The Red Carpet Presentations this year:

Courtesy of SDFF

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Labor Day – directed by Jason Reitman and starring Kate Winslet & Josh Brolin. Labor Day centers on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler (Griffith), who struggles to be the man of his house and care for his reclusive mother Adele (Winslet) while confronting all the pangs of adolescence. On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers (Brolin), a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home and later is revealed to be an escaped convict. The events of this long Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives.

It is the Opening Night film of SDFF36 on November 6th, 8 p.m. @ Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

NEBRASKA Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Nebraska – directed by Alexander Payner and starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte. After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.

It plays on the Big Night, November 9th, 8 p.m. @ Ellie Caulkins Opera House

August: Osage County Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

August: Osage County
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

August: Osage County – directed by John Wells, adapted from Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts & stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard, and Chris Cooper. August: Osage County tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name made its Broadway debut in December 2007 after premiering at Chicago’s legendary Steppenwolf Theatre earlier that year. It continued with a successful international run and was the winner of five Tony Awards in 2008, including Best Play. August: Osage County is directed by John Wells (The Company Men), who received the SDFF 25 Mayor’s Career Achievement

It is the Centerpiece film on November 15th, 8 p.m. @ Ellie Caulkins Opera House

AT MIDDLETON Courtesy of Anchor Bay FIlms

Courtesy of Anchor Bay FIlms

At Middleton – directed by Adam Rogers and starring Andy Garcia (who will be in attendance) and Vera Farmiga. The inaugural George Hickenlooper Award (2012) winner Andy Garcia returns to SDFF with his latest film directed by Adam Rodgers. Edith (Vera Farmiga) is a strong-willed, free-spirited and successful businesswoman who’s taking her hyper- achieving, 18 year-old daughter Audrey (Taissa Farmiga) on a tour of potential colleges. George (Garcia) is a buttoned-up heart surgeon accompanying his not very motivated son Conrad (Lofranco) (also 18), on a similar tour. Their paths cross at idyllic Middleton College, nestled in the picturesque Pacific Northwest. At first, all things point to this being the kids’ story… but as the parents’ well intentioned support backfires hilariously-so much so that they are booted from the very campus tour they traveled so far to attend – it quickly becomes clear that George and Edith are the heart of the film. Now banished together, these two time-pressed, responsible adults suddenly find themselves with a free day in the midst of a beautiful setting – and the hours they subsequently share change their lives as they play out a singular “college tour” all their own

It is the Closing Night film on November 16th, 8 p.m. @ Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Be sure to check out the SDFF36 website HERE and book your tickets right now as many screenings are already selling out. Stay tuned to 303 Magazine as we will be giving a lot of coverage to the festival over the next few weeks with daily picks and films you have to see.

Take care of each other and remember to be curious.