The official start of summer is over a month away, but the unofficial start is upon us, with the release of the Film on the Rocks 2013 schedule. There's certain to be some controversy over the selection, but as in years past, the Denver Film Society -- led by FOTR Program Director Britta Erickson -- has taken great care in curating a series of both crowd-pleasing and interesting movies. Kicking off with Back to the Future on May 29, the line-up also includes titles like Wet Hot American Summer and Die Hard.
"I think it's a really great combination and caters to an array of generations," says Karla Rodriguez, audience development and social media manager for FOTR. "It's not just movies you want to bring your kids to -- it's movies you want you want to bring your parents to."
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"On June 4, we're playing Risky Business for the film's thirtieth anniversary, so you get a little Tom Cruise before he went crazy," jokes Rodriguez. "We're also playing Wet Hot American Summer on June 11 -- we're going from Michael J. Fox to Tom Cruise to Paul Rudd."
The Hunger Games and Mean Girls are also on the list, honoring FOTR's dominant 18-to-32-year-old female demographic. And as always, there will be a music-focused film:The Blues Brothers on June 25. "What better film to have at Red Rocks, just based on the epic music? We're hoping it incites the same kind of dancing in your seat that Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense had a few years ago," says Rodriguez.
Another focus of this year's series is its potential to be the last Film on the Rocks line-up utilizing 35mm film. DCP projectors -- Digital Cinema Presentation projectors -- are fast becoming the industry standard. "The problem that we're facing right now is that major motion picture studios -- Hollywood, in essence -- is only putting out films that are on this format, which is like a big hard drive. It has to fit into a DCP-specific projector," says Rodriguez. And those projectors come with a hefty price tag.
"There are no 35mm prints -- they are like, destroying them. They don't exist. It means that within a year, most films will only be available on DCP format. So we've already run into problems -- for instance, we could have picked up Argo this past winter, but it was only available on DCP. We had to spend a large amount of money renting projectors this year for our festival because our high- profile films were only available on that format," Rodriguez notes.
"Right now, we only show 35mm at Film On The Rocks -- that's it. We actually build a print in Denver and drive it up to Red Rocks and play it on a platter. It's not a DVD or a Blu-Ray, it's actual 35mm film. The titles we'll play at Film on the Rocks, a year from now, none of them will be available on film. So we're launching a huge initiative to fundraise money for the DCP (projection) this summer."
Though the details are still under wraps, the fundraising initiative that the non-profit Denver Film Society plans on rolling out will be a big one for film buffs -- and Rodriguez says there will be great incentives for community support. Because the Denver Film Society hosts the Starz Denver Film Festival, screens films year-round at the Sie FilmCenter and runs FOTR, it is looking into buying several of the pricey projection systems, an issue many independent theaters are now facing.
"As far as I know, we're going DCP after this, so it may be the last Film on the Rocks with 35mm. For the record, at the Sie FilmCenter, we will always show (some films on) 35mm," says Rodriguez. "It's a dying artform, which is sad. This change has the potential to shut down a lot of small, independent art houses across the nation. We're working with several theaters across rural Colorado right now that are unsure of what to do -- there are drive-in theaters who have put all of their money into a DCP projector and now they have no money left. We're just trying to find a way to help educate our audience and hopefully rally for other theaters as well."
The full 2013 Film on the Rocks schedule is on Page 2.DATE - FILM
Wednesday, May 29 - Back To The Future
Tuesday, June 04 - Risky Business
Tuesday, June 11 - Wet Hot American Summer
Tuesday, June 18 - Mean Girls
Tuesday, June 25 - The Blues Brothers
Tuesday, July 2 - Die Hard
Tuesday, July 9 - Point Break
Monday, July 15 - The Hunger Games
Tuesday, July 23 - The Princess Bride
Tuesday, August 13 - The Rocky Horror Picture Show
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For more information on Film on the Rocks or to order tickets, visit the Sie FilmCenter's website or the FOTR Facebook page. Stay tuned for a full listing of local bands performing at this year's screenings.