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Take one: When the curtain goes up at the Academy Awards next month, Denver filmmaker Donna Dewey will be there--nominated for her documentary A Story of Healing. The 28-minute film--which follows a California medical team, Interplast, on a volunteer mission through Vietnam in January 1997--has gotten raves since it premiered last fall. Even so, Dewey found her nomination "a huge surprise," she says. Before she heads to California for the ceremony, she's finishing up Home Boys, her series on Denver gangs (she's up to the fourth and final installment); although she says she doesn't know what she'll do next, she has some ideas--and now, with the nomination, the clout to actually film any subject she wants to.

First things first, though. Last year's documentary winner cracked the best joke of the evening when, while accepting her Oscar, she said she knew she'd made it when her dress cost more than her entire movie. So what will Dewey be wearing? "I don't know," she confesses. "I've been looking around. But first I have to lose twenty pounds."

Take two: Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell knows all about the importance of a good image--his modeling career for Banana Republic was cut short two years ago when his record on environmental issues turned out to be not quite green enough. Now he's making amends, pushing the National Park Service Image Fee Permit Act, which would require that national parks be reimbursed for the real costs incurred when commercial filming is done on the premises. (Although the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service already have a fee structure in place for such projects, the national parks do not.) Between 1996 and 1997, for example, Rocky Mountain National Park played host to 25 commercial filming operations--everything from commercials to catalogue spreads to public-service announcements encouraging mass transit--and Campbell thinks the park should get something for its cameo performances. Show it the money, in other words.

But could cash alone atone for the sins of The Shining, last season's dreadful TV mini-series that held the park hostage through months of filming?

Take three: A few years ago, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were lowly film students at the University of Colorado, scrounging together the bucks to make a movie musical based on the life of cannibal Alfred Packer. Now they're singing a different tune: The duo was just hired--at a reported fee of $1.5 million--to write the sequel to Dumb & Dumber, whose dumb original starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. They got the gig on the basis of their cartoon hit, South Park, which was immortalized with a January Rolling Stone cover. (The shot wasn't included in the touring Rolling Stone cover display that stopped at CU last week--the local boys made it big too late to qualify.)

Now if someone could just convince TCI to offer Denver the Comedy Channel, which airs South Park. But adding Comedy Central, along with the History Channel and a sci-fi outlet, won't happen, says TCI, until the cable company upgrades its equipment to increase the bandwidth--and, as threatened earlier this month, ups our rates.

Hey, maybe Parker and Stone can lend TCI some dough in the meantime.

Got tips for Artsbeat? E-mail tips@westword.com or call 672-1262.

 
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