In years past, putting together a Best of Denver issue was like Sophie's Choice: In order to choose the favorite baby, all the rest of the babies had to die and then Meryl Streep killed herself. Now we have the vast internets and enough space to choose whatever we desire -- in your face, Nazi Germany!
At any rate, it was a tough choice as ever for Best Film Festival this year, but we ultimately decided -- because this was America last time we checked -- to go with the underdog: EFPalooza, a first-timer with an exclusive focus on local films (that last part is what got us). Still, that leaves about a million Colorado film festivals worth highlighting; here's a few of our favorites.
5. ArgusFest Film Series More of a film series than a film festival, ArgusFest is still worth pointing out, at least in part because it's so underground it's hard to even find information about it, save for a Facebook page apparently not even created by show organizer extraordinaire Jason Bosch. Nevertheless, the screenings -- a wide assortment of generally left-leaning documentary films -- are easy enough to locate in the real world: ArgusFest screens a documentary each Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe. And the best part? It's all free.
4. Adventure Film Festival Colorado has got to be some kind of capitol of the world of snowboard films, because Lord knows there are about a million of those things to choose from on pretty much a weekly basis. Still, the Adventure Film Festival is significant both for its volume (four days), its range (outdoor films from all over the world) and its quality (the best of them). Whether you want to see folks skiing Antarctica or fishing in the remotest corner of Russia, Adventure probably has you covered.
3. The Boulder International Film Festival Started just seven short years ago, the Boulder International Film Fest has spent the ensuing years blowing up like a balloon with a grenade in it, drawing not only some of the best fare from more established festivals like Sundance to make their local premiers, but also some top-notch celebrity wattage -- both Oliver Stone and James Franco were in attendance at this year's festivities, and Alec Baldwin also came one time. Man, Alec Baldwin is awesome.
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2. AspenFilm Aspen is like Colorado's mini-Hollywood, and in more ways than just celebrities going there to act like assholes: It's also a place to see what's oh-so-hot-right-now in Hollywood, sometimes even before everyone else knows how hot it is right now. Each year, AspenFilm holds three major events: Aspen FilmFest, a five-day festival with an emphasis on indie films from all over the world; Academy Screenings, a late-year showing of films being considered for Oscar nominations -- some not yet even released in theaters; and Aspen ShortsFest, an Oscar-qualifying affair devoted to short films, many of which are seeing their world premiers -- that last one's actually coming up next week, so get on it.
1. Starz Denver Film Festival Administered since 1978 by the Denver Film Society, the Starz Denver Film Festival is the real deal, pulling big-ticket premiers and advanced screenings and movie stars from at least the B-list, along with a generous selection of international and indie fare and world premiers. It's the biggest thing Denver has going for it in film, and while we do love an underdog, there's no denying that, in the world of film festivals in Colorado, Starz Denver is the leader of the pack.