Three local film fests are lighting up screens in Denver and Boulder

Three local film festivals — the Boulder International Film Festival, the Festivus Film Festival and Women + Film — will light up Denver-area screens over the latter half of February and the early part of March, providing plenty of viewing opportunities for movie buffs.

The mission of the Boulder International Film Festival, which kicks off on February 14, has always been simple: to screen films that won't be showing at the cineplex downtown. "These are films that people might never see in Boulder," says Kathy Beeck, who founded the festival in 2004 with her sister, Robin. "We go through a total of over a thousand films and end up with about fifty, so these are the cream of the crop."

The 2013 incarnation of BIFF opens with Muscle Shoals, a documentary about the renowned Alabama sound studio where legends such as Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones recorded music. It continues through Sunday, February 17, with more independent films and a variety of special programming, including a Youth Pavilion; a Digital Media Symposium with NPR social-media strategist Andy Carvin and Microsoft futurist Blaise Agüera y Arcas; and a Call to Action program that inspires people to change the world through film.


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The sixth annual Festivus Film Festival, which takes place at the Oriental Theater, also celebrates indie flicks, and will burst out of the gate on February 20 with an opening night that puts Colorado filmmakers firmly in the limelight.

"We have [a] block that's all local shorts, and a feature film called Along Recovery," says Johnathan McFarlane, one of the festival's directors. "That's by a local filmmaker who's a military vet, and it deals with vets coming back from war with brain injuries and PTSD. I'm really excited about that."

Not that the next four nights lack for great programming: The festival, which runs through February 24, will serve up a mix of shorts, documentaries and narrative features that should please indie-film fans of every stripe. And once the movies are over each night, the parties will start, offering you a chance to hobnob with the filmmakers.

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And finally, the Women + Film Voices Festival will step into its third year. The fest, presented by the Denver Film Society March 3-10 at the Sie FilmCenter, showcases a mix of sixteen different short films, documentaries and features, as well as presenting salon discussions and in-person guests. The goal, according to the DFS, is to encourage thought-provoking, inspirational stories of women from around the world. For more about the lineup, including information about tickets and related events, such as the pre-Festival gathering and opening- and closing-night receptions, go to


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