Hollywood headliners and awards contenders tend to earn the most buzz during the Denver Film Festival — but the event has plenty of local offerings too.
The Denver Film Festival, now in its 40th year, runs through Nov. 12. Here are the movies to check out if you’re interested in cinema with ties to the Centennial State:
Colorado Skier Turned Poker Princess Goes Hollywood
Star power meets the true story of a Colorado native in this dramatic portrayal of Molly Bloom’s run-ins with Hollywood A-listers and the FBI. Bloom attended the University of Colorado Boulder and skied for Team USA. But her 2014 memoir “Molly’s Game” details the underground high-stakes poker games Bloom later hosted in Los Angeles and New York City until she got caught. Acclaimed writer and first-time director Aaron Sorkin brings the tale to the silver screen. He’s also in town to accept the Denver Film Festival’s Career Achievement Award.
“Molly’s Game” screens at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House Thursday, Nov. 9.
A Domestic Crime In Castle Rock Leads To A U.S. Supreme Court Case
“Home Truth” traces the efforts of Jessica Gonzales to hold Castle Rock police accountable for the murder of her three daughters at the hands of her estranged husband. Gonzales sued the Colorado town, alleging it hadn’t done enough to protect the victims after police issued a restraining order against their father. The documentary examines Gonzales’ push for justice and police reform and how it strained her existing relationship with her son.
“Home Truth” screens at the UA Denver Pavilions 15 Wednesday, Nov. 8.
The Horror Film That State Dollars Helped Support
Colorado gave local filmmakers $81,180 to produce “Gnaw” here, and Denver finally has its first chance to see it. (Here’s more on how the state’s film incentive program works.) Part horror, part psychological thriller, the narrative film follows a woman who moves to Denver to escape an abusive relationship. Actor Kyle Gass (of Tenacious D fame) will be at the festival.
In the meantime, Gov. John Hickenlooper has requested $1.25 million for the Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media in his 2018 budget proposal. The office had $750,000 in incentives to give out this fiscal year. State lawmakers will decide early next year on how much to allot in 2018.
“Gnaw” screens at the Sie Film Center Monday, Nov. 6, and Wednesday, Nov. 8.
A Short, Intimate Look Inside A Neighborhood Bike Shop
Chocolate Spokes is a bike shop in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. “Chocolate Spokes” is also the name of a short doc about that small business started by Gregory Crichlow, who left his architecture job to follow a different dream. It’s one of 10 local shorts presented in one block.
The “Colorado Shorts” package screens at the UA Denver Pavilions 15 Tuesday, Nov. 7, and Wednesday, Nov. 8.
“Walden” Adaptation Contrasts Natural Beauty With Urban Life
"Walden: Life in the Woods" puts a modern twist on Henry David Thoreau's influential work about the two years he spent living in nature. The film was made in Colorado with the help of some local actors, musicians, animators and crew. That includes director Alex Harvey, who spoke with Colorado Matters.
“Walden: Life In The Woods” screens at the Sie Film Center Monday, Nov. 6, and Friday, Nov. 10.
Two Lives Intersect In A Tale Of Abuse, Loss And Recovery
“Amy & Sophia” marks another turn for Denver director Adam Lipsius, who’s made low-budget disaster films and written a young adult detective novel. Shot in the United Kingdom, the movie explores the lives of two unlikely friends whose journeys intersect in the wake of individual tragedies and struggles.
“Amy & Sophia” screens at the UA Denver Pavilions 15 Friday, Nov. 10, and Sunday, Nov. 12.