DIFF Burns On

Film directors Ang Lee (Eat Drink Man Woman; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman, Les Misérables) and Ryuichi Hiroki (I Am an SI Writer, Girlfriend) and actors David Schwimmer (Friends, Duane Hopwood), Philip Baker Hall (Dogville, The Truman Show) and Petra Wright (Laura Smiles) will be guests of the 28th Starz Denver International Film Festival, which opens Thursday, November 10, in the new Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

The majority of the screenings -- more than 200 films will be shown over ten days -- will take place at the Denver Film Society's home, Starz FilmCenter on the Auraria campus. This year's opening-night film is The World's Fastest Indian, starring Anthony Hopkins as a likable New Zealander who fulfills a lifelong dream of racing his ancient motorcycle across the Bonneville salt flats of Utah; on closing night (November 19) at the Ellie, director Lee will accept the festival's lifetime achievement award following a showing of his new feature, Brokeback Mountain, a tale of forbidden love in the ranchlands of Wyoming, adapted from an award-winning short story by Annie Proulx. Lee, Proulx and screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana will attend.

The 2005 festival will include a twelve-film Salute to Japanese Cinema, anchored by Hiroki's appearance; a seminar on page-to-screen adaptation; and a salute to the late gonzo journalist and Colorado resident Hunter S. Thompson. Among the films being shown are Neil Jordan's gender-bender Breakfast on Pluto, with Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea; Lasse Hallstrom's dazzling Casanova, starring Heath Ledger as the legendary lover boy; and Dogville director Lars von Trier's Manderlay, the second installment of his U.S. Trilogy. David Slade's Hard Candy is the harrowing story of an avenging fourteen-year-old who holds a fashion photographer hostage in his home, and Matt Mul-hern's Duane Hopwood features Schwimmer as an alcoholic casino employee facing an uncertain future. Marc Rothemund's Sophie Scholl: The Final Days is a chilling look at the Third Reich, focusing on a courageous student who, after being arrested for distributing anti-Hitler leaflets, defies her Nazi interrogators with brilliant moral arguments.

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Bill Gallo
Contact: Bill Gallo