Film and TV

Denver Film Festival Closes Out on a Winning Note

Writer-director Trey Edward Shults poses on the Ellie Caulkins Opera House red carpet before the November 7 screening of Waves.
Writer-director Trey Edward Shults poses on the Ellie Caulkins Opera House red carpet before the November 7 screening of Waves. Photo by Michael Roberts
The 42nd annual Denver Film Festival is a wrap, and while attendance figures aren't available at this writing, the surplus of packed screenings and the success of highlighted events, including the opening-night visit of Knives Out director Rian Johnson and a first-weekend-capping presentation of the 1929 silent documentary Man With a Movie Camera live-scored by DeVotchKa, bodes well for the future of an organization rocked earlier this year by the death of artistic director Brit Withey and the resignation of Denver Film Society executive director Andrew Rodgers.

Festival director Britta Erickson is filling the Rodgers slot on a temporary basis. But on Thursday, November 7, prior to a red-carpet presentation at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House of the new indie heartbreaker Waves, which incorporated an appearance by writer-director Trey Edward Shults, she revealed that the "interim" part of the title originally bestowed upon Matt Campbell when he took over Withey's role has now been removed; he'll be the organization's artistic director of festivals moving forward.

This vote of confidence was appropriate given the overall strength of the festival's selections. As with any event of this size and scope, there were hits, misses and everything in between. But the majority of the twenty movies I saw over the course of the gathering's twelve-day run were worthy selections, and often a lot more than that — with one big exception, as you'll see below.

Continue to eyeball mini-reviews of the nine films I caught after the opening weekend, many of which will soon be coming to a theater or a streaming service near you.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts