The 42nd annual Denver Film Festival has finalized the slate for its 12-day celebration of international, domestic and local cinema, the nonprofit Denver Film Society announced this morning.
This year’s Denver Film Festival will run Oct. 30 through Nov. 10 with more than 250 films, industry panels, awards and tributes. The focus on international cinema this year turns toward Brazil. Titles and details will be announced on Oct. 10.
Individual tickets will go on sale to Denver Film members on Oct. 11, and to the general public on Oct. 14. Tickets will be available online at denverfilm.org or the main box office at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave.
Ticket packages are now on sale, including a six-pack of individual screenings for $60, 15-pack for $135 and Red Carpet Pack for $75, which includes three red carpet screenings at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Prices are set to rise after Oct. 8.
“The Denver Film Festival has always been a celebration of important and thought-provoking stories happening within the film industry from around the globe,” festival director Britta Erickson said in a press statement. “This year will be no different as we also commemorate one of Denver’s most important voices, long-time beloved artistic director for Denver Film, Brit Withey.”
Despite the artistic and commercial highs of recent Denver Film Festivals, the Denver Film Society has had a rough go of it lately with the tragic death of Withey, who was killed in a single-car crash on March 31. Less than a month later, the society’s executive director, Andrew Rodgers, resigned, citing the nonprofit’s “opportunity … to really kind of reset and find a different momentum.”
Erickson, longtime director of the Denver Film Festival, was appointed interim director following Rodgers’ departure. While a press statement at the time described the parting as “amicable,” it added: “Ultimately, the agreement to part ways was based on differing visions regarding the long-term path for the organization.”
Indeed, this year’s 42nd annual film festival will be a chance to reset, following the society’s soft rebranding to Denver Film (dropping the “society” from its logos). The event kicks off with its traditional opening night celebration on Thursday, Oct. 31, with a red carpet screening at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, followed by an opening-night party at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park.
Withey will be honored with a previous night’s tribute on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Sie FilmCenter, with screenings of three of his favorite films (to be announced). The Brit Withey Artistic Director Memorial Fund will be used to celebrate Hungarian filmmaker György Pálfi with a retrospective program, Erickson said.
“It’s a sad way to kick off a festival, but it’s also a way to honor someone who artistically shaped this organization and this event over the last 20 years,” Erickson told The Denver Post today.
“Festival co-founder Ron Henderson, along with his wife Judy Anderson, have produced a memorial book of Brit that is available for purchase,” film society staffers wrote in language for the festival programs. “There are also several titles within the festival Brit had seen that he was planning to include. And finally we’ll close the festival with John Cassavetes’ ‘A Woman Under the Influence,’ a personal favorite of Brit’s and a guiding light of the festival’s artistic vision.”
As usual, the Sie FilmCenter will anchor the festival, with additional screenings at the United Artists Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall and red-carpet presentations at the Ellie in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The Festival Annex, which the society sets up inside the McNichols Building, will again host the panel discussions, virtual reality, interactive and immersive experiences, High School Day, community engagement and festival lounge.
Erickson is not concerned that the festival’s red-carpet opening night is on Halloween, citing last year’s similar programming on Oct. 31 and what she described as “robust turnout.”
“Our programming team is always looking at what’s happening citywide, from handing out candy to Broncos games to the opera,” she said. “But film is such an accessible art form that I think we cross over with everything.”
Meanwhile, Denver Film’s board is finalizing its job-description language in its search for a new executive director. Erickson said there’s no timeline for a hire yet, but that a search committee is looking for someone who will stay with the organization for a long time to come.
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