Tracy’s Tips on How Best to (Denver Film) Fest

The days grow darker, the leaves fall, and the Denver Film Festival returns for its forty-first year. This is a Denver ritual, a right of passage, and my favorite part […]

October 21, 2018 // Tracy Shaffer // No Comments //

The days grow darker, the leaves fall, and the Denver Film Festival returns for its forty-first year. This is a Denver ritual, a right of passage, and my favorite part of year.  There is no other span of time when I indulge myself for days and nights in the darkness of the cinema and the beauty of story.

Planning is the key to crafting the perfect Denver Film Festival experience.  Savoring over the selections is like poring over a fine menu, melding imagination and taste so that a uniquely personal theme emerges.

And so, I bring you my ritual:

  1. Pick up one of the Denver Film Festival catalogs from your favorite place where things like this show up all over town. Arm yourself with a red Sharpie, yellow highlighter and a cup of beautiful tea. Find a quiet place to snuggle in and do your homework.
  2. Scan through the first pages you’ll see all of the glossy Red Carpet Nights and Special Presentations. These are where you’ll find the future the Oscar nominees and you may want to circle one (or two). Starting out with a splurge and a splash of champagne kicks off a celebratory week adding a bit of fairy dust. Just don’t get too splashy at the party, you’ve got a long week ahead.
  3. As you move into the catalog, you’ll find out how awesome this festival is for it sheer size and scope… which is why you have this guide, this tea, and these pens.  It’s all divided into sections; Indie films, foreign entries, documentaries, CineLatino, Colorado Spotlight, Women+Film, Cinema Q (as in LGBT), and so on. I’ll be digging into the sections as the week unfolds, now it’s your turn to dig in.
  4. Read each description, make a red X by what interests you, and a star by what you REALLY want to see and highlight the screening times at the bottom of the blurb. Of course, you’re going to find more movies than you have hours so this might be a great moment to open your iCal. We wouldn’t want you missing soccer practice… or work. And don’t forget to add a few Creative Conversations, because… that’s why we’re alive, isn’t it?
  5. This is where you’re gonna have to pay attention, to use your fine-motor dexterity. Flip to the back , page 49 to be exact. Here you’ll find the whole glorious thing broken down day-by-day and by location.  Now flip back through those pages with the Xs,  see them jumping out at you? See how many of them happen at the same time in different places? Flip back and re-read those blurbs because Sophie’s Choice is coming up. Not the movie, Sophie’s Choice, you can stay home and watch that on Netflix. Carefully curate your selections, circle the times and places so you can get your priorities straight.
  6. Once I’ve got my “must see” films in place, I circle the blurb with that red pen and put them in my calendar. This a good time to refresh your tea, call your friends and see who’s in for a movie. go back and find some films you’re not so sure about and slot one or two of those in.  After a few days you’ll find yourself coming out of one screening and sliding up to the box office to find tickets to the next.
  7. At this point your booklet should have lots of circles, Xs, highlighted passages and perhaps a few notes jotted in the margins but  it will be worth it. If you’re like me you’ll be trotting between the Denver Pavilions and the SIE Film Center with a stop or two at the Festival Annex for a dose of (Virtual) Reality and a stimulating beverage. Second to hydration, planning is key.
  8. Now it’s time to get out your credit card, get online and get your tickets before your favorites sell out.  Better yet, buy a pass.

“Two films a day?” you ask. Now your festing!

You can find all of the information you need online at including tickets, film clips, schedule, where to go and where to park.