Oh the joys of the film festival’s opening night. Lemme walk you through it a bit.
5:30 p.m. – Major wardrobe drama. (See previous post.) I dig through my closet, hobble around trying on outfits for my poor, dear, clueless husband. He says everything “looks fine,” but I know better. I change. Six times. Finally, we’re ready to head out to the red carpet, and I catch him looking at me, kinda funny-like. I am positive he’s trying not to laugh. I’m wearing a knee-length black skirt with a sexy little slit that makes everything look good. Except, apparently, a massive air cast on one foot. I throw down my purse, blink back tears of frustration and self-pity, and huff off to change into the one pair of cropped black pants I own that don’t make my ass look huge. It’s not a great start to the night.
6:30 p.m. – Cocktail reception. We arrive at the performing arts complex, where the red carpet is laid out, ready for the cool cats to arrive. Inside, we trot in to check out the new Ellie Caulkins Opera House, and look around for the elevators up to the third level lounge for the Take One cocktail reception. The front of the opera house is a maze of white staircases, and looking up at them remind me of M.C. Escher’s trippy black and white prints; the glass sculpture above entrance is by Chihuly, an extremely well respected and talented glass artist. (Frankly, the candy-colored glass chandelier reminds me of carnival balloon animals having an orgy, even though I know it’s worth a ton of money as a collector’s piece. Just my opinion.)
7 p.m. – Red carpet. We’re sipping our drinks and nibbling yummy crab cakes with mango salsa, checking out the smartly turned out crowd (cocktail attire for the ladies, suits for the gents) when we hear a loud, growling roar. It’s the Colorado Indian Riders on their Indian motorcycles, riding up into the red carpet area on their new and vintage bikes. It sounds like Sturgess crashing the opera, and we have to see for ourselves. Back downstairs, the bikers cruise around the galleria on their gleaming, polished bikes, and line them up before filing iup the red carpet in their jeans and leather vests, looking proud, pleased, and slightly chagrined at the same time.
Next up come the directors and special guests. Festival Tribute Guest Ryuichi Hiroki (director of L’Amant and Girlfriend) , arrives along with L’Amant star, actress Nozomi Ando (looking vogue in a navy swing coat and velvet wedge heels). Then Mayor Hickenlooper works the red carpet like the pro that he is, all smiles as he shook hands and took questions from the media. His thoughts on the film fest opening? “It’s the place to be!â€? he declares. And of course, he politely dodges the inevitable “are you running for Governor?â€? questions with a smile and a shrug.
Next up, Denver Film Society’s Ron Henderson leads the way before Roger Donaldson, director of the evening’s feature The World’s Fastest Indian, a based on the true story of 72-year-old Burt Munro (played by Anthony Hopkins), who set a still-standing land speed record of 201 miles per hour on a modified ’42 Indian motorcycle. Donaldson makes his way down the red carpet, followed closely by the film’s producer John Kelly, and another Festival Tribute Guest, director Claude LeLouch (director of Les Miserables, A Man and a Woman, The Courage to Love). The group gathers for a red carpet photo op before heading in to find seating inside the hall.
8 p.m. – Feature film. We all shuffle in to grab our general admission seats inside the theater. The room is gorgeous, the sound is great, and there doesn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house. Then the inevitable speeches begin, welcoming us to the fest, welcoming the guests, thanking the sponsors, etc. Nothing thrilling but certainly it’s to be expected. Then director Roger Donaldson takes the podium, and offers us a truly moving insight into his process, his passion, and his belief in independent films and their power to tell a variety of different-but-important stories. I perk up, and am suddenly really looking forward to his film. I won’t give anything away about the movie itself, but Hopkins does a fine job (as usual) and the crowd laughs, applauds, gasps, and cheers loudly at the end.
10:30 p.m. – The after party at Mile High Station. The shuttles arrive to scoot the crowd over to the late-night bash. I poop out. My ankle hurts and I’m not up for standing around cocktailing for two more hours. I suck as a nightlife reporter – but at least the cast comes off in four weeks. The end.