Speed-producing is the latest in filmmaking, it seems, and contests are popping up everywhere: This time around, it's the 48 Hour Film Project, a Washington, D.C.-based national phenomenon that made its debut this past weekend in Denver, with nineteen local teams racing against the clock to create seven-minute films in a 48-hour time frame. The hook? Each team drew a genre -- along with a character, prop and word to be used in the film -- out of a hat just minutes before the competition began; they then had 48 hours to conceive, shoot, edit and finish their work. Catch the resulting masterpieces at public screenings today and tomorrow at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Parkway (two separate programs will show daily). An ongoing wrap party follows each night at Forest Room 5, 2532 15th Street; the $10 screening tickets also entitle film-goers to a drink. For information, log on to www.48hourfilm.com.
New York science writer Alan Burdick's astonishing new book, Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion, is as creepy as it is fascinating: The tome follows Burdick in the field on a trip through the unknown wilds of biodiversity, a state in which far-traveling alien species, from the zebra mussel to the tamarisk shrub, threaten the established ecosystems they invade. Burdick presents the book and all its oddities tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Cherry Creek, 2955 East First Avenue; call 303-322-7727 for details.
Wednesday, August 3
The great outdoors, the roar of the river in the background and -- the big screen? It's all yours at the Greenway Foundation's River Flicks, the latest in the outdoor-film frenzy sweeping the region this summer. This one, an urban affair at the historic downtown junction of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in Confluence Park, kicks off tonight at dusk with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and continues on Wednesdays through August 24; future family-friendly flicks include The Princess Bride, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Shrek. Call 303-455-7109 or visit www.greenwayfoundation.org.