The 43rd annual Denver Film Festival will be a mostly virtual affair in 2020, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention.
But after months of uncertainty, planning and major organizational changes, festival producers at the nonprofit Denver Film are leaning even more heavily into the online component than initially envisioned, with creative solutions to digital problems and hard-earned knowledge from a summer of screening experiments.
The Oct. 22-Nov. 8 event, which in past years has reliably drawn tens of thousands of cinephiles to more than 100 screenings in urban Denver, will take place largely on the digital platform that Denver Film has been using in lieu of physical, public screenings at its Sie FilmCenter on East Colfax Avenue.
There’s also a chance we’ll see in-person, socially distanced screenings at Red Rocks Amphitheatre as part of the festival’s popular Red Carpet series. Denver Film officials have hinted in the past that they consider their ongoing Film on the Rocks drive-in series at Red Rocks — which has proved wildly popular since it was announced last month — to be a test case for those.
Viewers will be able to access Denver Film’s digital platform via denverfilm.org, or by downloading the Denver Film app for Roku TV or Apple TV. Tickets for the festival — which include packs of four ($45) or 10 ($95) tickets, as well as an all-access pass ($225) — are on sale now at denverfilm.org/dff43.
Tickets to individual screenings are on sale Oct. 1 for Denver Film members and Oct. 5 for the general public. Prices for all tickets are cheaper for members, but will go up after Sept. 24, Denver Film officials said.
“In terrific times, and in challenging ones, the Denver Film Festival has stood strong for 42 years — and this year will be no exception,” said festival director Britta Erickson in a press statement. “Though we won’t be gathered in dark theaters together, the strong spirit, uncompromising programming, and, most importantly, the very best in cinema from around the world, will be showcased in living rooms, on laptops, and wherever you find us.”
Due to its virtual nature, the 2020 festival has expanded from 12 to 18 days, organizers said, and will strive to present the same mix of content as past, in-person events. This year features more than 100 official titles, including local, national and international cinema, panel discussions, tributes and achievement awards, Erickson said.
This year’s event also will showcase “popular sidebar selections,” such as its focus on Italian and U.K./Ireland cinema; programming sourced from Denver Film’s boutique festivals (Women+Film, CinemaQ, CineLatinx); and “new sidebars” including Colorado Dragon, Spotlight on Social Justice, and a virtual High School Day for students and educators across the state, organizers said.
The full festival program and more details will be announced Sept. 30.
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