There’s a reason that during the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, so many people turned to the film world for solace and inspiration. The Denver Film Festival is aiming to achieve that same entertaining and enlightening power in its 45th season, which is returning to its pre-pandemic form of entirely in-person screening.
“We have the return of the real festival environment this year,” said Matthew Campbell, the festival’s artistic director. “We were just able to have a couple parties and other events last year, so we didn’t have as much conversing after the films as we normally would. Now we’re able to host more events, foster the community experience and be a catalyst for conversation.”
The 45th Denver Film Festival runs this year from Wednesday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 13. Screenings and events will be held in several downtown locations, primarily the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, as well as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Botanic Gardens, AMC 9 + CO 10 and the Tattered Cover East Colfax.
Some of the big films being showcased this year include the Opening Night Red Carpet presentation of “Armageddon Time,” which is directed by James Gray and features Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong and Anthony Hopkins. Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light,” Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” and Maria Schrader’s “She Said” are all films garnering early awards buzz that will be screened during the festival.
You also won’t want to miss “The Whale,” the Brendan Fraser film, written by Samuel D. Hunter, who will be on hand to receive the festival’s Excellence in Writing Award. Hunter’s play (which the film is based on) had its premiere in Denver, so this will be a special event.
“These special presentations are great but people will have the opportunity to see these films after the fact,” Campbell said. “But what’s great about this festival is there are many films that this might be your only chance to see.”
In addition to quality stories from the world over, the team at Denver Film works to highlight Colorado stories like: “The Holly,” which tells the story of a shooting case involving activist Terrance Roberts and the gentrification of the city; and “My Sister Liv,” a film that follows two Colorado sisters coming of age with all the pressures of social media.
With several parties to attend, as well as VR filmmaking experiences, there truly is something for everyone at the festival.
“The audiences here in Denver are really adventurous and are really discerning,” Campbell said. “Those who attend are going to come away having had a great time but also potentially learning something and getting a new outlook on film. We’re here to expand minds and create dialogue and empathy.”
To see the full line-up, get tickets and more, visit www.denverfilm.org/denverfilmfestival/dff45/.
Music and shopping at LSO’s annual Pops Concert
One of the Lakewood Symphony Orchestra’s biggest events is just around the corner, with its annual Pops Concert and Silent Auction, which is held at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10.
The music the symphony will be performing includes Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 2” and selections from “Phantom of the Opera” and “Grease.” Attendees can also bid on a range of items, including the opportunity to conduct the orchestra, an African safari and more.
Get tickets and details at www.lakewoodsymphony.org.
SALT highlights the range of contemporary dance
Contemporary dance can be a difficult art form to describe, but when done right, its power is undeniable. That moving power is exactly what SALT Contemporary Dance is bringing to the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.
According to provided information, the company performs a repertoire of work by world-renowned choreographers Micaela Taylor, Ihsan Rustem and Joni McDonald. Get tickets at Lakewood.org/LCCPresents.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Bret McKenzie at the Ogden Theatre
You might know Bret McKenzie as half of “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based, digi-bongo, acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,” the Flight of the Conchords. Just a month ago he released his first solo album, “Songs Without Jokes,” and I’m delighted to report that it is full of the same sly wit that you can find in the work of songwriting legends like Randy Newman.
In support of the album McKenzie is stopping by the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2. In addition to cuts from the new record, he’ll be performing songs he’s written for The Muppets, The Simpsons and more.
Get tickets for what is certain to be a delightful evening at www.ogdentheatre.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.