Best Bet: Starz Denver Film Festival

October 2012

Starz Denver Film Festival celebrates its 35th birthday this year, and aside from screening 250 films, the Denver Film Society (DFS) has planned plenty of events to keep you entertained. The festival runs from November 1–11. The highlights:

1) The VIP Opening Night Package ($99-$109 per person) gets you a $50 gift certificate to any Larimer Square restaurant, free parking, and a ticket to see A Late Quartet, director Yaron Zilberman's much-anticipated film about a New York City string ensemble dealing with a myriad of personal disasters, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Bonus: The VIP package also grants you access to the festival's opening night party at the Denver Pavilions Great Room. 

2) Catch Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut in Quartet at the festival's Big Night. The film examines how a group of aging but feisty theater performers cope with being elbowed from the spotlight. 

3) Check out Rock the 'Fest on Sunday, November 4. The evening begins at L2 Arts and Culture Center with a screening of Grassroots, a fact-based film about a young city council member's quest to expand the Seattle monorail. After the film, Nathaniel Rateliff and A. Tom Collins will perform at the Bluebird Theater for Denver's only official Rock the Vote event.  

4) The festival features several panel discussions on topics ranging from domestic violence to climate change. Find a complete listing here

5) Argonaut Film & Wine Series: Oenophiles, rejoice. At certain showings this year, you can drink wine while you enjoy a flick. Seven films have been paired with vino from the country the movies were produced in. 

6) The Story of Film This 15-hour documentary examines the world of film from the first movies shot in the 1800s through the modern age. Catch the documentary in two-hour blocks spread over eight days—or take in the entire epic during marathon sessions on November 10 and 11.

7) After a hard day of watching movies, take a load off at the Late Night Lounge at Eron Johnson Antiques, where there will be free food and an open bar for festival guests. This is a good place to spot a famous actor or filmmaker. 

8) If scary movies are your thing, you won't want to miss My Amityville Horror. The backstory: In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into a colonial home with a sordid past on Long Island. Thirteen months before the Lutzes moved in, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed six members of his own family in the house. Daniel Lutz talks about the hauntings and paranormal activity he and his family witnessed after moving into the house, and the controversy surrounding The Amityville Horror

9) On November 10, catch the 8 p.m. showing of Silver Linings Playbook, a "dramedy" about the relationship between two unstable but loveable psychotics. Then head to the McNichols building at Civic Center Park for the festival-closing Last Reel Party.

—Image courtesy of Starz Denver Film Festival

Follow digital assistant editor Davina van Buren on Twitter at @davinavanburen or on Pinterest