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October 06, 2021

Denver Film Festival - The Line-Up


I believe it is only a matter of another decade or so before the idea of a film festival being held solely in a theater will be considered as a relic from the 20th Century. While film festivals were either conducted virtually or not at all due to the pandemic, this year has seen film festivals held hybrids - both in person and online. This is the case with this year's edition of the Denver Film Festival. Strict protocols are in place with all festival staff vaxxed. Denver theaters require mask wearing, but to attend the festival in person also requires proof of vaccination or a recent Covid test. Doing a home version of a film festival has its advantages, such as flexible scheduling.

One change that I am looking forward to is the change of the additional venue in addition to the Denver Film Society's Sie Film Center. Moving from the Denver Pavilions theater downtown, the festival will take over part of Denver's newest (March 2021) theater, the 9+CO 10. A little explanation about the theater name - it is near the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and 9th Avenue. The theater has been my go-to place for mainstream films as well as indies - A24 films get booked there. My favorite coffee shop is across the street. On a personal note, it is also closer to home, a factor that's important when you get around by public transportation.

Regarding some of the films to be presented, Denver's festival will run from November 3 through the 14th. By this time, the major film festivals are over, giving way to studio blockbusters and prestige releases, with year end awards from various entities. There is also a shorter gap with more films that premiered in Cannes, Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York getting theatrical play or availability streaming on a major platform. Films that might have been programmed such as Tintane are already at the artplexes, Mia-Hanson Love's Bergman Island opens next week, with Wes Anderson'a The French Dispatch to follow.

As for what will be at the festival, the opening film will be Spencer, Pablo Larrain's film about Lady Diana, while the official curtain closer will be King Richard, about the father of the tennis champion Williams sisters. In between, the other big ticket films include C'mon, C'mon and Jockey. Among the 140 features will be Belfast, Memoria, Parallel Mothers and A Chiara, screened at earlier film festivals with Belfast touted as a certain Oscar nominee following its screening in Toronto. Most, if not all, of these films will be discussed more widely during award season.

My own coverage of the festival will be a bit selective. Most of the films I plan to cover will be seen at home through the festival's virtual theater. The handful of films I see in person include a couple from my "wish list", Ryƻsuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car and Radu Jude's Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn. As there will probably be some in person critics screenings as well as screening links for critics, my coverage will include some of those films. One of the other films I look forward to seeing is After Blue, Bertrand Mandico's first feature following The Wild Boys. Kier-La Janisse's documentary, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror is on my list. Severin Films is also presenting three related horror films cited by Janisse as part of the festival's late night programming. While most films will be screened theatrically, several will be available both in person and online, with a small number online only. For myself is the advantage of seeing some late night films at an earlier hour at home rather than spending very late evenings waiting for infrequent buses.

The film festival runs from November 3 through 14. The link to the full schedule is here.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 6, 2021 06:16 AM