100 Colorado Creatives 3.0: Theresa Mercado

Theresa Mercado dressed as Betty at the Scream Screen presentation of Dario Argento's Opera.EXPAND
Theresa Mercado dressed as Betty at the Scream Screen presentation of Dario Argento's Opera.
Courtesy of Theresa Mercado

#50: Theresa Mercado

Professional film buff, horror aficionado and admitted “murderphile” Theresa Mercado is so immersed in her work programming the Sie FilmCenter’s scare-tastic Scream Screen film series that she’s apt to introduce her picks to the audience while in full character costume — something you don’t see every day in the serious film world. But the cosplay fits the situation like a long, black glove, and Mercado’s faithful fans have followed her from one venue to the next, just to keep up with her bloodcurdling cult-film repertoire. Though Mercado is currently also busy producing the Andrew Novick documentary-in-progress JonBenét's Tricycle, she took time out to share her views with Westword via the 100CC questionnaire.

Mercado dressed as MacReady (Kurt Russell) from John Carpenter's The Thing, before screening it on 35mm at Scream Screen at the Sie FilmCenter.
Mercado dressed as MacReady (Kurt Russell) from John Carpenter's The Thing, before screening it on 35mm at Scream Screen at the Sie FilmCenter.
Courtesy of Theresa Mercado

Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Theresa Mercado: Dario Argento, between 1974 and 1982. His films from that era represent the fantasy I dream of living in one day.

What's your day job?

I come from a video-production background but do a little of this and a little of that these days, which gives me the freedom to do a little more of this and a lot more of that.

Mercado dressed as a mannequin for the Scream Screen 35mm screening of William Lustig's Maniac.EXPAND
Mercado dressed as a mannequin for the Scream Screen 35mm screening of William Lustig's Maniac.
Courtesy of Theresa Mercado

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

Open a revival movie theater called "The Dario" with Keith Garcia (this is his dream, but I tagged on to it long ago), travel the world with my partner, create a live/work/art warehouse space to host musicians/show films and art, restore my '77 Cadillac hearse to the glory she deserves, clone my dog Babah, buy homes for my inner circle of friends so they never have to worry about not being able to afford to live in Denver...and I would buy a Ms. Pac-Man stand-up arcade game with a speed chip, so I could practice at home.

Denver (or Colorado), love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

LOVE IT. I am a Colorado native and have always loved our little Queen City of the Plains. While I love to travel and explore new places, I've always called Denver home. It’s certainly not the little cowtown it used to be, but I couldn't imagine calling anywhere else home. The unbelievable people I've been lucky enough to share my life with are what keep me here. It's a dry heat.

A skit from Late Night Denver, a variety show produced by John Rumley with musical segments produced by Theresa Mercado.
A skit from Late Night Denver, a variety show produced by John Rumley with musical segments produced by Theresa Mercado.
Photo by Gary Isaacs

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Andrew Novick. A longtime friend and constant source of inspiration and motivation for me, he's taught me that if there is something missing in our culture, create it yourself. And that's what I've done with my various film series. And we're working together on a pop-culture documentary exposé called JonBenét's Tricycle, which I'm thrilled about!  

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

Everything! Programming and hosting more film series around town, creating costumes, working on collaborative art projects with friends, traveling, eating.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

There are so many artists/musicians/filmmakers in Denver that I respect and admire. Here's a list of just a few of those people who continue to blow me away with their work: painter Heather Reynolds (HD Reynolds); printmaker/installation artist Emi Brady and her husband, painter Andrew Warner; photographer Gary Isaacs; filmmaker Keith Garcia; collector/enthusiast Andrew Novick; musician Bryan Flanagan; collage artist and musician James Trejo (of City Hunter, Already Dead, Cadaver Dog); musician/filmmaker/editor Ian O; filmmaker/video installation artist Chris Bagley; cellist Ian Cooke; printmaker/painter Feni Hagman; musician Luke Thinnes (of French Kettle Station); writer/musician Munly Munly; filmmaker/luthier/musician John Rumley; multimedia artist Vincent Comparetto...to name a few….

See JonBenét's Tricycle: A Short Film, a ten-minute introduction to the feature-length indie film now in production, at the 39th Denver Film Festival, where it screens before the feature documentary Ovarian Psycos at 9:15 p.m. November 10 and 8:45 p.m. November 11 at the United Artists Denver Pavilions 15. Purchase tickets, $12 to $15, online or at the Sie FilmCenter box office. Visit the Kickstarter page to learn more about JonBenét's Tricycle and/or to contribute to the cause.

Scream Screen returns to the Sie FilmCenter on Fridays nights in February 2016; watch for the full schedule on Facebook.

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