Precious Brings Challenging Film to 2009 Opening Night

Sarah Siegel-MagnessWe are one week away from one of the most anticipated events on the annual Colorado social calendar: Opening night of the Starz Denver Film Festival.

Chosen as the opening film of the 2009 festival, Precious is based on the 1996 novel Push by poet Ramona Lofton – a long-time urban social worker and teacher better known by the pen name Sapphire.

In this podcast episode, film critic Robert Denerstein catches up with the film’s co-producer Sarah Siegel-Magness, a Colorado native and Denver resident, to discuss Precious.

Watch the Precious Trailer:

Rewind – 31st Starz Denver Film Festival Opening Night

Now that another Starz Denver Film Festival has passed us by, let’s take a look back. This video features footage shot at opening night for the 31st Starz Denver Film Festival, featuring the film Brothers Bloom.

This podcast was sponsored by Qdoba.

More with 2008 Cassavetes Award Winner Bill Pullman

Bull PullmanIn the second part of his interview with 2008 John Cassavetes Award winner Bill Pullman, film critic Robert Denerstein takes a look back at Pullman’s broad body of work.

The two discuss the long road Pullman has traveled to reach this point in his career, and also preview his upcoming film Your Name Here, directed by Matthew Wilder.

Actor Bull Pullman Receives 2008 Cassavetes Award

Bull PullmanOn November 23, The Starz Denver Film Festival presented actor Bill Pullman with the Festival’s John Cassavetes Award at the screening of his new film Surveillance.

The John Cassavetes Award was established in 1989 in collaboration with Gena Rowlands, his widow. It is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the world of filmmaking and whose work reflects the spirit of the late John Cassavetes. The first recipient of this award was Steven Soderbergh and recent recipients include Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, William H. Macy, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins.

This podcast episode is part one of noted film critic Robert Denerstein‘s interview with Pullman. They discuss Cassavetes, the award given in his honor, and the making of the film Surveillance.

Watch the Surveillance Trailer:

Panel: DIY Filmmaking in an Indie Apocalypse

DIY Filmmaking in an Indie ApocalypseAmid shrieks that the sky is falling on the indie film world, a number of fresh young talents who have quietly gone DIY—making fiercely original films on shoestring budgets without support from industry insiders—gathered to discuss their process.

This panel, “DIY Filmmaking in an Indie Apocalypse” was moderated by Karina Longworth, Editor of SpoutBlog.

Longworth was joined by Paul Cannon, Alex Cannon, and Michael Lerman, Natural Causes; David Pomes, Cook County; Jason Goodman, The Eternal City; Darren Dean, Prince of Broadway; and Mike Gibisser, Finally, Lillian and Dan.

“DIY Filmmaking in an Indie Apocalypse” was sponsored by PayReel.

Panel: The Cell Phone as Theater

The Cell Phone as Theater... and Other Distibution DilemasThis panel, “The Cell Phone as Theater…and Other Distibution Dilemas,” examines the rapidly changing field of film distribution. Are we on the verge of a technological revolution as the silver screen shrinks to fit our spiffy new telephones? Is there still a place for the traditional movie theater experience?

Film critic Robert Denerstein moderated this panel discussion. Denerstein was joined by a group of industry experts including Adam Dornbusch, Jaman; Doug Jones, Los Angeles Film Festival; Kathleen McInnis, Palm Springs Shorts Fest; Christian Gaines, Withoutabox; Mark Rabbinowitz, Cinelan; and Matt Dentler, Cinetic.

“The Cell Phone as Theater…and Other Distibution Dilemas” was sponsored by PayReel.

Panel: Deadly Games: Echoes of Columbine

Playing ColumbineDanny Ledonne—creator of the controversial video game Super Columbine Massacre RPG! and director of Playing Columbine, a documentary about the game’s impact—was on hand for this panel discussion to discuss the relationship between video games and real-world violence.

Ledonne was joined on the panel by Brian Crecente, Managing Editor of Kotaku; and film critic Robert Denerstein, who served as moderator.

Starz Denver Film Festival Director Britta Erickson provided opening remarks.

“Deadly Games: Echoes of Columbine” was sponsored by PayReel.

Watch the Playing Columbine Trailer:

Thomas Imbach Brings Innovative Films to Festival

Thomas ImbachThomas Imbach was born in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1962, studying history and philosophy in Basle from 1982 to 1984. A self-taught filmmaker, he has been directing, producing, and editing films in Zurich since 1986. Imbach’s work has consistently tested the boundaries between documentary and narrative, film and video, traditional cinematic techniques and novel technologies. He was one of the first filmmakers to use consumer camcorders for the big screen, linking electronic images with classic 35mm film.

Imbach is being honored at the 2008 Starz Denver Film Festival with the screening of three of his films: Happiness Is a Warm Gun, I Was a Swiss Banker, and Lenz. Imbach took a few minutes to speak with film critic Robert Denerstein about his unusual style of filmmaking.

For more information, click here.

Watch the I Was a Swiss Banker Trailer:

Bondi Honored with Inaugural Italian Filmmaker Award

Federico BondiThrough a $250,000 endowment provided by the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, the Denver Film Society has established the Maria and Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award. The award, named after Anna Sie‘s parents, recognizes emerging Italian filmmakers and reflects her deep commitment to her Italian heritage and her love of film.

The 2008 award was presented to Federico Bondi for his film Mar Nero (Black Sea).

In this podcast episode, noted film critic Robert Denerstein speaks with Bondi and Sie about Mar Nero, the state of Italian filmmaking, and the new Italian Filmmaker Award.

For more information about Mar Nero, please click here.

Panel: Stop The Presses!

Stop The PressesManny Mendoza and Mark Birnbaum’s documentary Stop the Presses provides the springboard for this panel discussion about the fate of print journalism in deeply troubled economic times.

How can newspapers generate revenue as their readerships increasingly turn to the Internet for coverage? How long can organizations operating in the red continue to maintain large staffs of reporters? Are we close to the day when the presses stop for good? The answers to these urgent and challenging questions may determine not only the future of our media but the very stability of our democracy.

This panel, moderated by film critic Robert Denerstein, took place after a screening of Stop the Presses at the Denver Newspaper Agency. Joining Denerstein was Al Lewis, The Denver Post and Dow Jones Newswires; David Milstead, Rocky Mountain News; and Manny Mendoza.

“Stop The Presses! Film + Panel” was sponsored by PayReel.

Watch the Trailer: