40th Denver Film Festival Is Bigger Than Ever

By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Film Festival is celebrating its 40th year, and this year Festival goers can expect more, more films, more virtual reality, more children’s programming, and even more red carpet events.

LINK: Denver Film Festival Guide

Organizers added another screen at the UA Denver Pavillions, which pushed the number of films featured during the Festival well beyond 200.

“We’re at about 266 films total across the program,” said Britta Erickson, Festival Director.

The Festival will feature five red carpet events instead of the usual four. The first one is opening night when “Lady Bird” will premiere at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

“I was really happy to be able to open with a film directed by a woman, because it’s only the second time in 40-years that that has happened so that is something I’m very proud of,” Erickson told CBS4.

The other red carpet events include:
-November 3rd Submission
-November 8th The Ballad of Lefty Brown
-November 9th Molly’s Game
-November 11th Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

“The rest of the red carpets roll out also with very strong female centric stories. Kyra Sedgwick will be here on our Centerpiece evening,” Erickson said.

The Denver Film Festival a focus this year on Danish Cinema, and spotlight on Polish Cinema. In among the dozens and dozens of fun and fascinating offerings, there is the movie “Human Flow” directed by Ari Weiwei. It’s a documentary of the global refugee crisis.

“It’s beautifully filmed by such a great artist, but it’s also heartbreaking to really kind of look at what it’s like to not have a home, to not have a homeland,” Erickson said.

After the showing of “Human Flow”, the Festival will host a panel discussion around the refugee crisis, with a professor from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, some folks from World Denver, and a member of the Flobots musical group, who’ve been very active in trying to solve refugee problems.

There will be two weekends of kids programming, including two packages of shorts from a very prestigious children’s film festival in New York. One package is for children ages 3-7, the other for children over the age of 7.

The Festival is taking over the McNichols Building at Civic Center Park. Organizers nickname the building “The Annex” for the 12-days. There is a café, the panel discussion happen there, and you can take a turn at trying virtual reality. Festival organizers hired a virtual reality programmer this year, so there is a curated program of VR.

“One of them which I’m really excited about called ‘Life of Us’, which is two people interacting in the virtual reality. And you’re going through time, you start as an amoeba, and eventually you become a dinosaur, and then you end up in the streets of Manhattan as a human,” Erickson explained.

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.

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