Starz Denver Film Festival November 15-17 must-sees: Doomsdays and more

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Again this year, Starz Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest -- including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies.

Today, Withey recommends Friday's Doomsdays, Saturday's What Is Cinema? and Sunday's Here Was Cuba.

Doomsdays Directed by Eddie Mullins 9:15 p.m. Friday, November 15 SDFF Sie FilmCenter

Withey calls Doomsdays, an American independent comedy co-starring Justin Rice, Leo Fitzpatrick, Brian Charles Johnson and Laura Campbell, a "pre-apocalyptic film with a pretty simple story -- but a pretty funny one."

The plot revolves around "these two guys (played by Rice and Fitzpatrick) who really have nothing better to do than spend their lives basically going from house to house to house to house to house -- breaking into them and living in them until they leech the house dry of everything it has while simultaneously breaking it to pieces.

"If there's food there, they eat the food. If there's liquor there, they drink the liquor -- and they generally go for the liquor first. If there are any pills or medicinal items, they take them. And then, once the house has served its purpose, they move on to the next one."

Along the way, the protagonists "have an occasional run-in with neighbors or families coming to their houses or returning from somewhere. And they pick up a couple of willing partners along the way, doubling their numbers to four -- which brings all sorts of possibilities. And that's basically it. They're assuming the apocalypse is coming, and that's their justification for living the lives they lead -- and it's fun to watch them do it."

What Is Cinema? Directed by Chuck Workman 2 p.m. Saturday, November 16 UA Pavilions

Director Chuck Workman is a longtime friend of the SDFF, and Withey calls "What Is Cinema?", his latest documentary, "sort of the perfect film festival film.

"Chuck takes bits and pieces of works from other filmmakers and puts them together in longer pieces, making these beautiful little collages that film lovers can watch over and over and over again -- and they'll always find something new."

In addition to "clips from dozens and dozens of famous and not-so-famous movies," the offering also features "interviews with tons of filmmakers: some of them really well known, others somewhat obscure. And all of them address that question: 'What is cinema?'"

These ingredients combine to create what Withey calls "an eighty-minute love affair with the movies that you could watch over and over again."

As a bonus, Workman will be on hand at the screening.

Continue for Sunday's must-see pick, as well as trailers. Here Was Cuba Directed by John Murray and Emer Reynolds 7:30 p.m. Sunday, November 17 UA Pavilions

Many, if not most, Americans believe they know everything there is to know about the Cuban Missile Crisis -- but Withey thinks those who see Here Was Cuba will discover they're wrong.

"I thought there'd be nothing new here," he concedes. "But the story is told in such incredible detail, and we hear from so many people who were in positions of power, and people we may not have heard from before: soldiers who were on the island, the Russian submarine commanders, who had nuclear torpedoes on board."

During these conversations, Withey says, one thing becomes abundantly clear: "how close we really came to blowing everything up.

"I love political films of any kind, but when it's a documentary as good as this one, I'm really there. This was such a famous international conflict that you think you've heard everything about. But then you realize you don't really know anything about what happened -- and that's incredible."

Look below to see trailers for Doomsdays and Here Was Cuba; unfortunately, there's no preview available for What Is Cinema? For more coverage of the Starz Denver Film Festival, visit our Show and Tell blog.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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