Film Industry Seminar Series reveals the magic behind the silver screen

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The lights and the camera, the big stars and the director's chair -- these are the icons we associate with filmmaking. But the magic on the silver screen wouldn't happen without such key players as casting directors and producers. Local filmmakers and fans can learn about the people behind the scenes at "The Talent You Don't See," the second installment of the Film Industry Seminar Series at Sie FilmCenter on Tuesday, September 17. "The idea is to incentivize Colorado-based filmmakers to be as savvy and sophisticated about the industry as they would be if they were based in L.A. or New York," says Alison Greenberg, manager of donor and foundation relations at the Denver Film Society.

See also: Daniel Junge on his Oscar nomination, Saving Face, and the Colorado film industry

The film industry in Colorado continues to grow, and the new Colorado Film Incentive program, which offers a 20 percent rebate on films, television series, documentaries and other productions taking place in the state, has given it an added push. "With a renewed interest and finally an incentive in the state to film here, a tax incentive, there is new energy within the filmmaking community because there are some dollars there to be had," explains Britta Erickson, DFS festival director.

"We've supported filmmakers for 36 years by exhibiting their films and grooming a really educated audience that attends the film festivals and connecting filmmakers with audiences, but we also wanted to do more," Erickson continues. "We've been doing education -- like our young filmmakers workshop, which is for tweens. But there are a lot of filmmakers here in town who could use some professional support and adult education to learn about best practices in the industry."

So the DFS, the Colorado Film and Video Association, and the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media joined forces to create the Film Industry Seminar Series, which consists of four programs discussing different aspects of the industry. The events feature film professionals from around the country sharing their wisdom and interacting with local filmmakers.

At the first seminar in June, screenwriter Carroll Cartwright and two literary agents discussed how to sell a script idea and turn it into a film. "There was a Colorado-based screenwriter who attended and I got an e-mail from that screenwriter after the panel saying how much she had learned in an hour and a half," Erickson says. "I think that the people we are bringing in are going to be able to impart very valuable stuff to our filmmaking community."

Tomorrow's "The Talent You Don't See" will be devoted to the people who make films happen but receive little credit. "Movies tend to be celebrated for everyone who's above the line -- the director and the cast -- but really, if you don't have a score, if you don't have a set or costumes or you don't have a stunt coordinator, you don't have a movie," Erickson says. "It's the people you don't see and that aren't that celebrated that really make the magic of the movie.

The panel will include Todd Labarowski, founder of Dreambridge Films and producer of films like The Kids Are All Right. "He will be talking a lot about the process of producing feature films and what it's like to go into negotiations with major festivals like Toronto, and what happens behind the scenes to sell a movie," Erickson says.

Boulder-based Danielle Renfrew Behrens will also be on hand; she is well-known for her recent documentary, The Queen of Versailles, which became popular on instant streaming apps like iTunes and Netflix. "I think she can also talk about the new sort of move to [video on demand], which is a really interesting stream for distribution, especially for documentary film," Greenberg says.

The third panelist will be casting director Kerry Barden, who has cast films like Boys Don't Cry, American Psycho, The House of Mirth, Bad Boys 2 and Pineapple Express. He will discuss the process of attaching actors to scripts.

The seminar will start at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 17 at the SIE Film Center; it will be followed by a reception hosted by the Colorado Film and Video Association. A third seminar during the Starz Film Festival in November will focus on getting films financed.; the final seminar, in January, will discuss how to market a film once it's made. Individual Tickets are $15 for DFS member and students, $20 for non-members; series packages are also available. For tickets and more information, visit the DFS website.

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