Arts and Culture

Remembering Patrick Sheridan of the Emerging Filmmakers Project

Patrick Sheridan was a beloved filmmaker, mentor and teacher in Denver's film community and beyond.
Patrick Sheridan was a beloved filmmaker, mentor and teacher in Denver's film community and beyond. Courtesy of Eileen Agosta
Patrick Sheridan, host and executive director at the Emerging Filmmakers Project, passed away on February 1 after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. Sheridan worked on over thirty motion-picture projects, was a script analyst and taught screenwriting, filmmaking and acting at the Film Acting Academy of Denver.

“I don’t know if there is an actor or filmmaker in this community that hasn’t been touched or impacted by Patrick,” says Eileen Agosta, director of film festivals for the Emerging Filmmakers Project.

A filmmaker herself, Agosta says Sheridan had a unique, innate understanding of people. She recalls him receiving countless phone calls regarding his short film "The Barking Horse." People found his work online and wanted to share how it resonated with them.

“He could see the potential in people,” Agosta explains. “He had a way of telling them what they needed to hear in order to see that potential in themselves. ... He was very good at giving that kind of constructive feedback that made people see their talents, even if they didn’t see it. He had a way of doing it that was very blunt but was also kind.”

click to enlarge Patrick Sheridan was the host and executive director of the Emerging Filmmaker's Project for over a decade. - COURTESY OF EILEEN AGOSTA
Patrick Sheridan was the host and executive director of the Emerging Filmmaker's Project for over a decade.
Courtesy of Eileen Agosta
According to Agosta, Sheridan excelled at discovering people in the community who needed a creative outlet for their work and gave them a place to meet other filmmakers at the Emerging Filmmakers Project. Agosta first met Sheridan after he found her works online. She remembers screening them at his event.

“He told me he liked my film, and he was so glad that I came out,” Agosta recalls. He also told her that she was not a good public speaker and that she "needed to work on that.” Sheridan then provided opportunities for Agosta to be on stage and improve her speaking skills, having her host screenings when he needed the night off.

“I hated it, but it helped me not just become a better filmmaker, but learn to assert myself more,” Agosta says. “I credit what he did to my professional life. I [was] promoted into management, which I didn’t think would’ve happened if he hadn’t made me his pet project. He did that to a lot of people. ... He was good at nudging people out of their comfort zones in ways that would make them be a better person and filmmaker.”

Sheridan continued teaching until the end. Agosta notes that some of his students would take turns teaching classes as he fell ill just to keep them going.

Sheridan is survived by his two sons, Elliot and Finnegan, and their mother, Diana.

A GoFundMe site created after his passing has raised over $10,000 in just six days for his family — testament to his supportive community.

Says Agosta, “It’s a real community of like-minded people that have helped each other through this."

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Riley Cowing has been writing with Westword since July 2016. She is originally from Kansas City and graduated from the journalism school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She enjoys connecting with local artists, drinking all types of espresso and loves any excuse to watch The Devil Wears Prada.
Contact: Riley Cowing