Arts & entertainment

Denver Film Festival brings the world’s stories to Denver

Festival is in its 45th season

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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 screenings.

“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 Nov. 2-13. Screenings and events will take place in several downtown locations — the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, but also 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 and will be screened during the festival.

Also not-to-miss is “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. “What’s great about this festival is there are (also) many films that this might be your only chance to see them.”

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.”

Clarke Reader, films, film, movies, film festival, Denver, Denver Film, Denver Film Festival, Matthew Campbell, COVID-19, Sie FilmCenter, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Botanic Gardens, AMC 9 + CO 10, Tattered Cover East Colfax, Armageddon Time, James Gray, Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Anthony Hopkins, Sam Mendes, Empire of Light, Sarah Polley, Women Talking, Maria Schrader, She Said, The Whale, Brendan Fraser, Samuel D. Hunter, Excellence in Writing Award, theater, The Holly, Terrance Roberts, My Sister Live, VR

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