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October 18, 2010

Starz Denver Film Festival 2010- The Schedule


This year, I felt bold enough to make a few suggestions for films to be shown at this years Starz Denver Film Festival. With the surging interest of 3D movies, I suggested Takashi Shimizu's new movie, as the film festival would be perfect to showcase a 3D movie from Japan. That film was shown last September in Venice. I though maybe some old school 3D films might be worth considering, an idea suggested a couple month prior to this retrospective. I also suggested a new Thai documentary, Baby Arabia, about a group of Muslim musicians who combine the sounds of the Middle East with Thailand's luk-tung traditions. That film was shown at Seattle's Dragon and Tigers series. Maybe I'm just too hip for Denver.

Certainly, being a film festival programmer isn't always easy for a variety of reasons, as indicated by the series of interviews conducted by Michael Guillen with Toronto International Film Festival's Kate Lawrie Van de Ven, Colin Geddes, and Diana Sanchez. And with any selection of films in a festival of this size, my own questions concern which films should be covered. To what extent do I write about the films that interest me, and to what extent do I cover films that might be more representative of what is offered at this film festival. I know that Uncle Boonmee and Poetry are two films I most want to see, but I would hardly among the first to weigh in on either work. In the case of Uncle Boonmee, my only advantages are that I have seen Apichatpong's other films, and have some personal experience with Thailand and Thai culture. It should be noted that both Uncle Boonmee and Poetry have U.S. distribution, but with boutique companies, meaning that both films will be seen more widely on DVD than theatrically. I feel less compelled to write about something like Black Swan or 127 Hours because these are films assured fairly wide theatrical release, but am not ruling anything out with DVD screeners and critic's screenings to augment what I see at the festival.

The listed films indicate, at least for me, no general change in programming. Like last year, there is an emphasis on films from Mexico and Iran. There are a few shorts, but Asian cinema gets short shrift again, with only the two aforementioned titles, plus the anime, Summer Wars from Japan. There are, again, several films that I have read about from other film festivals, including Marilyn Ferdinand's take on several intriguing films that recently played in Chicago, that won't be coming to Denver, at least not as part of the festival.

Some of the films that have struck my interest are a new film by Hans Petter Moland, a new Argentinan film starring Ricardo Darin (who else?) and an Italian language film, The Smell of Lemons, the debut feature by Joel Stangle. I may also see Blue Valentine simply to see what it currently takes to put the MPAA's panties in a bunch. I may also have to see some film as screeners where possible - Uncle Boonmee is pitted twice against Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte which is frustrating as both films seem to be complimentary, covering some of the same ideas from different cultures and philosophies. One of the events I will attend is the Stan Brakhage Award to P. Adams Sitney. I was a student of Sitney's at NYU, and learned a bit not only about so-called experimental films but also about looking at film and art in general, especially linking some of Stan Brakhage's work with the paintings of J.M.W Turner and Clyfford Still. The schedule also looks like it has several blank spaces for additional screenings and possible late minute additions.

Comments are open for those who wish to make suggestions about films you think I should cover on this site.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 18, 2010 02:23 AM


Carancho is Argentina's Oscar entry - it was sold out at the CIFF and I did not get a chance to see it.

Shane thought Erratum was pretty good.

How I Ended the Summer and A Somewhat Gentle Man won awards.

There was good buzz about If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle.

This fest seems long on docs (none of which I've seen or played at CIFF) and short on features.

Posted by: Marilyn at October 18, 2010 09:54 AM

Greetings Peter,

We humbly bring to your attention our film GOD's LAND, an American feature film with an Asian theme. Briefly, its about a religious cult from Taiwan who relocate to Texas to find Jesus on TV and the end of the world.

We would love to meet you there. Screenings at the Denver Film Festival are Fri night and Sat afternoon, Nov. 12 & 13. Thanks and I enjoy your site.

Posted by: preston at October 19, 2010 04:39 PM

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Posted by: branchenbuch at October 23, 2010 02:28 AM