Starz Denver Film Festival: Colorado Films Take Center Stage

November 5, 2014

It’s that time of year! No, I’m not referring to the holidays. I’m referring to the 37th Annual Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF37). This festival brings out new filmmakers and celebrates the less-than-mainstream that the cinematic world has to offer. This year will feature five red carpet screenings in addition to two gala presentations --  and that’s only the beginning.

Over 250 films will be screened over the 12 day festival in three different venues around Denver. Divided into different groups to celebrate different areas of film, look for Focus on A National Cinema: Brazil, Cinema Q (which focuses on queer voices in film), Women + Film and, of course, Spotlight on Colorado.

As with every year, the film festival’s Spotlight on Colorado celebrates what Colorado has to offer the film world. They will screen four features, 10 shorts, and three music videos associated with Colorado. Every year, more and more filmmakers see Colorado as a place to go for not only filming, but production as well. In addition, more and more  filmmakers are coming out of Colorado.

The recent news of Quentin Tarantino deciding to film his next feature here has been exciting, not only because there might be some star sightings, but also because it brings in revenue. Colorado is quickly becoming a player in the film world and it is a huge benefit to the state.

Check out the four Colorado-centric features below.

Keep On Keepin’ On is a documentary about one of the oldest and greatest jazz musicians that has taught the likes of Quincy Jones and Miles Davis, this 93-year-old loves teaching and continues to do so. The core of the film is the connection he has with a young pianist who lost his sight at age 11. Editor Davis Coombe, who is also creative director of milkhaus, a Denver-based production company, will be speaking at the festival about the art of editing. You don’t want to miss it.

Father Unknown follows an Estes Park native on the quest to find out about his estranged father’s past. Travelling to Switzerland where his father grew up in an orphanage and speaking with family members brings some shocking discoveries. This feature screens three times during the festival.

Mile High Magic focuses on the game, Magic, by following eight key players in the Magic scene of Denver. The game has created a unique subculture since its inception two decades ago. Local Karen Cruz directs this film and it was one of the many projects these days that was successfully funded through Kickstarter. It is also featured in the Women + Film subgroup of the festival.

William Matthews: Draw to Paint follows local artist William Matthews as he prepares for a show and reflects on Western art and the public fascination with the West. Also featured under Women + Film.

Another part of the festival to feature Colorado players is Music Video Mixtape. This screening encompasses a variety of filmmakers and subjects that understand what music videos still can be. With MTV moving away from showing videos at all, even on their subsequent additional channels, there might not be as big of a draw for the visual art of music videos -- but they celebrate them here. Offering two screenings of the collections that feature three Colorado connected videos, there is still an art to mixing the visual with music and you can see it here.

Visit online to get your tickets and info. There are so many events going on and there is something for everyone. You will meet stars everywhere, although you might not recognize them immediately. They are budding artists that one day may be at the Oscars. Be sure to check out all that you can before the chaos of the holidays hits you.