The summer blockbuster seasons is just around the corner, but you don’t have to wait to catch a flick (or two) in the Centennial State. April sees a mix of small festivals that offer a plethora of films to suit any interest. Here are our picks:
Recognized as a premier North American festival for short-form filmmaking, the Aspen Shortsfest is the only Oscar-qualifying festival in Colorado for short film. This year’s festival includes 77 films from 29 countries, including four world premieres and nine North American premieres. Actor Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, Lion) makes his directorial debut this year with Home Shopper, which stars Armie Hammer.
This year’s Vail Film Festival seeks to empower and give a voice to female filmmakers. All of the nearly 50 films in the lineup are directed, produced, and/or written by women. This year’s special guest is actor Aya Cash (You’re The Worst) who will be in attendance for the film Mary Goes Round.
When: April 5–8
Where: Various venues around Vail
If you go: Festival passes start at $50. Individual tickets will be sold 10 minutes before screenings for any unoccupied seats after all pass-holders have been admitted.
Produced by Colorado State University, this festival curates contemporary and award-winning films covering issues from democracy in crisis and global immigration to illegal police profiling and the Syrian war. Highlights include Sundance-winning documentary Minding the Gap. At the April 7 screening, Denver resident and film subject Keire Johnson will be in attendance for a Q&A. Additionally, be on the lookout for the Screening Session Pale Ale—a special festival brew made by hometown partner Odell Brewing—at festival venues.
When: April 5–14
Where: Various venues around Fort Collins
If you go: Individual tickets are $10; $5 for students. Four-ticket packages are $30; $15 for students. All-access festival passes are $90.
This six-day showcase features women-centric documentaries, narratives, and short films. Opening night will feature RBG, a revelatory documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (in theaters May 4). Several of the films in this year’s program will include their respective directors and producers in attendance for post screening Q&As.
When: April 10–15
Where: SIE Film Center, 2510 E. Colfax
If you go: Although tickets are sold out, it’s still worth trying to nab a waitlist spot to the screening of Soufra (April 12 at 7 p.m.). The documentary follows the inspiring story of third-generation refugee Mariam Shaar, who has spent her entire life in the Burj El Barajneh camp in Lebanon, and starts her own catering company, “Soufra” (Arabic for feast).Following the screening, stay for a reception with food provided by The Preservery and Comal (the latter helps provide job training and economic mobility to women—often immigrants—from the Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea neighborhoods). Additionally, cookbooks authored by the Soufra film team will be available for purchase and all profits will be donated to Comal. Thursday, April 12, 7 p.m. Waitlist tickets will be sold for $11.50 10 minutes prior to the screening.
This uniquely Colorado adventure fest is built on five guiding principles: respect, commitment, humility, purpose, and balance. This year’s theme is “Our Stories, Our Lands,” which pays homage to public lands featured in so many adventure films. The festival combines film with art installations, live music, beer tastings, and yoga.
When: April 19–22
If you go: Tickets are $30–35 per program; an all-access festival pass is available for $325
Now in its seventh year, Czech That Film festival is a partnership between the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Denver Film Society, and highlights the best of contemporary Czech film. This year’s program includes the opening night film, Milada, with director David Mrnka in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. The festival will also screen Ice Mother, which was selected to represent the Czech Republic for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards.
When: April 19–22
Where: SIE Film Center
If you go: Single screenings are $11.50; $18 for the opening night film with reception; all-access pass is $35
Established to celebrate silent film, the Denver Silent Film Festival features American and foreign classics, as well rare and newly restored films. This year’s festival includes an early Disney animation program, which will be presented by Disney scholar, Russell Merritt, as well as two remarkable restorations: Rotaie, a 1929 feature film from Italy, and a 1909 French short film called (which translates to Horseshoe).
When: April 28-30
Where: Alamo Drafthouse Sloan’s Lake, 4255 W. Colfax
If you go: Single screenings are $15; $5 for students with I.D. All-access pass is $99; $50 for students