Clear your calendars: a new film festival schedule just dropped. The Denver Film Festival is back after a mostly virtual run, aside from a few drive-in screenings at Red Rocks, in 2020 due to the pandemic. Now, the festival will return with a hybrid approach, including both screenings in-person at the Sie FilmCenter and other locations as well as virtually so that audiences can watch from home.
Over 230 titles, including 140 feature-length films, shorts, music videos and episodic content will screen at local venues or through the festival’s virtual platform. Fifty of those titles will be available to virtual audiences throughout the festival’s run from November 3-14. The 44th edition of the Denver Film Festival will also mark the reopening of the newly remodeled Sie FilmCenter. Denver Film will require all festival attendees to show proof of full vaccination when attending in-person events and screenings.
This year’s lineup will keep Denver cinephiles very busy. Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car,” Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s “Clara Sola,” and Kira Kovalenko’s “Unclenching the Fists” are just a few of the international movies up for the festival’s best feature film award. Bing Liu and Joshua Altman’s “All These Sons” and Robert Green’s “Procession” are up for the best documentary award. Different categories spotlight movies from different countries, women and LGBTQ filmmakers and genres, like imports from the U.K. including Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Andrea Arnold’s “Cow,” Céline Sciamma’s “Petite Maman” from France, Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers” from Spain, a selection of horror movies including Kier-La Janisse’s “Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror,” Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s moving animated documentary of a gay refugee’s journey from Afghanistan in “Flee,” and a Latinx category that highlights movies like “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet” from Argentina and “The Pink Cloud” from Brazil.
The opening night premiere of “Spencer” starring Kristen Stewart will roll out the red carpet at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Four other big events — like the Joaquin Phoenix movie “C’mon C’mon” and “King Richard” starring Will Smith — will also break out the red carpet at the opera house. Other venues include the new AMC 9 + CO 10 and the Denver Botanic Gardens Sturm Auditorium. A festival annex at the historic McNichols Civic Center Building will offer virtual reality experiences for attendees.
In addition to splashy titles and award-winning imports, the festival is also making room to focus on local talent in its Colorado Spotlight section. The selection includes documentaries and dramas, like Skinner Myers’ exploration of Blackness in “The Sleeping Negro,” Kim Bartley’s look at one young Indigenous woman’s experience in bareback horse racing in “Pure Grit,” Alexamdre O. Philippe’s documentary on the history of Monument Valley called “The Taking,” and Jamie Boyle’s “Anonymous Sister,” a personal film about her family’s descent into opioid addiction.
The Denver Film Festival will run November 3-14. Tickets are on sale now for Denver Film members and to the general public on October 8. Colorado Public Radio, which operates Denverite, is a sponsor of the Denver Film Festival.