Conversation is one of the best ways to build a bond with another person. Not only that, but it provides a wonderful opportunity to enlighten and educate. And conversation doesn’t just have to be between two people — it can also be with a culture or art form.
That’s exactly the kind of conversation that the 6th annual Dragon Boat Film Festival is eager to have with audiences during this year’s run.
“We chose the theme of `representASIAN’ for this year’s film festival because now more than ever it is important to boldly highlight the amazing accomplishments coming out of our community,” said Sara Moore, Colorado Dragon Boat executive director. “Our whole mission and vision is to celebrate the Asian and Asian-American and Pacific Islander cultures with the community and general public. We know the best way to understand diversity and culture is to immerse yourself in it.”
The film festival — presented by Colorado Dragon Boat and Denver Film — runs from Thursday, March 4 through Sunday the 7th. Like the Denver Film Festival in October, the films will be streaming on Denver Film’s virtual platform. The platform allows for viewers to stream their selected films on Roku, AppleTV or their computer or mobile device.
This year’s program features 12 movies, two showcases (one focusing on emerging artists and the other on short films) and numerous virtual question-and-answer sessions, panels and conversations with filmmakers and the Denver community.
“One of big things for both of our organizations is expanding the community conversations around films,” said Kevin Smith, director of marketing and partnerships with Denver Film. “We want to focus on local community moderators in our filmmaker events because that makes for an interesting conversation. We’re taking the film and jumping off the screen into the community.”
In addition to opening night film “Definition Please” and “Moonlit Winter,” another highlight is “Mu and the Vanishing World,” a documentary that follows a young single mother on her immigration journey. The screening will feature a storytelling panel that highlights community members’ own stories about coming to America as a refugee or immigrant.
Stop AAPI Hate, a database created at the beginning of the pandemic to track racial violence, received about 2,808 reports of anti-Asian discrimination between March 19 and Dec. 31, 2020, according to reporting by Time magazine. Which means cultural understanding and empathy is as important as it has ever been — and film is a great window into cultures as vibrantly dynamic as Asian and Asian-American.
“We’re really excited for people to see the films in the lineup, particularly because they won’t get to see most of them anywhere else,” Moore said. “It is such a good opportunity to educate people in different cultures and fight racism through sharing stories of individuals and our commonalities.”
For more information and to get tickets (both individual and multi-film passes), visit www.denverfilm.org.
A journey to the Borderlands
History Colorado’s latest core exhibit tells the story of a place where a variety of cultures and histories meet — the Borderlands of Southern Colorado. The exhibit relies on oral histories and first-person accounts and centers on Chicano, Indigenous, and Mestizo perspectives.
The area was the site of major shift when the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo moved a portion of the US-Mexico border from the Arkansas River down to the Rio Grande. Residents were dispossessed in a variety of ways by the treaty (a result of the Mexican-American War) and the exhibit explores the blending of cultures in the region.
Find more information on the exhibit which will be on indefinite display at the center, 1200 Broadway in Denver — at h-co.org/borderlands.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Miners Alley Playhouse’s Tribute to Ruth Brown
Golden’s Miners Alley Playhouse will be hosting its latest entry in the theater’s Quarantine Cabaret series with a concert aimed at celebrating Black History Month. Sheryl McCallum and David Nehls will be performing A Tribute to Ruth Brown at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27.
Brown was an important figure in R&B music in the 1940s and 50s and played a key role in the development of Atlantic Records. McCallum has performed all over the metro area and on Broadway and beyond. Nehls is a composer/lyricist, musical director and actor and has conducted and music directed 50 productions for the Arvada Center.
Limited in-person and streaming single tickets for the show are available at www.minersalley.com/shows/quarantine-cabaret-series/.
Streaming style - ‘Black Men in White Coats’
Arapahoe Libraries are wrapping up the celebration of Black History Month with a virtual screening of the documentary, “Black Men in White Coats.” The film examines the systematic barriers preventing black men from becoming medical doctors and the significant consequences on society, according to provided information.
The screening will begin at noon on Saturday, Feb. 27. Those who register at least half an hour before noon on that day will receive a link with instructions on how to watch the film any time through March 1. There will also be a virtual question and answer session with executive producer Dr. Dale Okorodudu, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3.
For information and registration, visit https://arapahoelibraries.bibliocommons.com/events/.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture apears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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