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October 15, 2010

Starz Denver Film Festival 2010 - A New Venue


I was going to have this be part of my coverage of the Starz Denver Film Festival schedule, to be announced after Midnight (U.S. Mountain Time), October 18. The festival runs from November 3 through the 14th. What was originally conceived of as a couple of little paragraphs on the new screening space grew, which is why this is posted separately from the upcoming post with the schedule.

Sometimes the ongoing saga of the Denver Film Society can be as interesting, and sometimes more so, than any movies they are presenting, whether as part of the annual film festival, or part of their regular programming. The photo above is of the cafe/lobby area of a small three screen theater that was known as The Neighborhood Flix. Started by three young entrepreneurs, the theater lasted about a year, primarily showing second run arty films plus a couple of first run films that the other theaters hadn't booked. After being shuttered for well over a year, the theater will be the new home for Denver Film Society's regular programming, and will also have screenings during the film festival. I am hoping that the cafe/lobby area are restored or if somehow possible, improved, but it is much nicer than the space in the Starz Theater, a former AMC multiplex with smallish screens, not always comfortable seating, and not always the best sight lines.

The new theater only has three screens, down one from the four that are usually used for the regular programming. From an artistic sense, yes, more screens means more movies, but as the lone audience member for Tony Manero, I can sympathize from an economic standpoint. The theaters are small, but the screens as I recall were bigger, or seemed bigger, with very comfortable seats. For someone going to the theater as part of the festival, there is also the attraction of actually having somewhere to go between films. The theater is not visible from Denver's busiest street, Colfax Avenue, but is nestled across from the town's largest independent bookstore, The Tattered Cover, and to the rear of the beloved independent record store, Twist and Shout. I can think of a couple of cinephile friends and acquaintances who would adore the idea of choosing between a bookstore and a record store to fritter away time between films. Also a plus are the many restaurants in the area that are open until late at night, unlike at the Starz location which offered a choice between a pizza place and a limited menu restaurant, often closed in the early evening.

Having the film festival, or at least part of it, on Colfax is something of a return to the film festival roots when the first festival screened films at the Ogden Theater, about a mile to the west. At that time, the festival programming was a bit more, um, eclectic, with such films as The Road Warrior, where I got to ask director George Miller what kind of car he happened to drive. Just a couple of blocks away, where a Walgreen's stands was the location of The Aladdin Theater, where the film festival presented Hans-Jurgen Syberberg's Our Hitler. The cinematic connections don't end there with a location near Denver's East High School (alumni include Don Cheadle, Pam Grier, an Oscar winner - Hattie McDaniel, Douglas Fairbanks, the Denver Post's film critic - the lovely Lisa Kennedy, and me). One of the houses in the neighborhood was reputed to have been the home of the young Doug Fairbanks. I was hoping to nail the exact location when Doug Jr. visited Denver in the early Eighties, but no such luck. The only downside, at least for myself, with the new location, is a longer bus ride.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 15, 2010 01:25 AM


Wonderful ..thanks a lot for posting a good informitive blog

Posted by: tsanko at October 18, 2010 09:53 AM