The 37th Starz Denver Film Festival begins Wednesday and is expected to attract upwards of 60,000 people over 12 days, organizers say. The festival will feature more than 250 films – from features to documentaries to shorts.
Many will screen at the Sie FilmCenter on East Colfax Avenue and the U.A. Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall, but other venues are also showing films.
Opening night features director/writer Victor Levin’s “5 to 7” at the Buell Theatre, a story of a love affair with a cast that includes Frank Langella and Glenn Close. Levin and another of the film’s stars, Jocelyn DeBoer, will be in Denver. They are two of the roughly 150 people associated with film productions who are expected to attend and participate in the festival events, including discussions with filmgoers.
DeBoer will receive the festival’s Rising Star award.
The festival runs through Nov. 23. Organizers say the biggest night is Saturday, Nov. 15, when attendees can see actor Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game,” a biopic/drama about Alan Turing, who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code during World War II.
Critics are already buzzing about the film, and about at least two of the other films screening at the festival: “Foxcatcher,” about the 1996 murder of Olympian Dave Schultz, starring Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Vanessa Redgrave; and “Wild,” featuring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, who wrote an autobiography by the same name about her 1,100-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Several films with Colorado connections will screen, including “Keep On Keeping On,” about St. Louis jazz pianist Clark Terry, or C.T. as he’s known in jazz circles. He’s played with many other music legends over the years, and now at 93 is going blind. He befriends a young, talented pianist named Justin Kauflin, who is also blind.
The film is directed by a first-time filmmaker Alan Hicks, a student of C.T.’s, and is edited by Coloradan Davis Coombe, who will participate in discussions during the festival.
Other selections with Colorado connections include “Touch the Wall,” about Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin and silver medalist Kara Lynn Joyce; and, “Father Unknown,” about a son discovering his father.
Every year the festival highlights films from abroad, and this year, the attention is on Brazil, with a slate of films scheduled. Among them, “August Winds,” directed by Gabriel Mascaro. The trailer promises a highly visual film with a punk-rock trailer – a story set in a tropical paradise on the Brazilian seaside, but death looms.
The festival also includes panels as well as events aimed at filmmakers. Read the full guide here.