Film and TV

Starz Denver Film Festival November 21-23 Must-Sees: Watchers of the Sky and More

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, he spotlights selections for November 21 (Watchers of the Sky), November 22 (White Shadow) and November 23 (The Overnighters).

See also: The Ten Best Movie Events in Denver in November

Watchers of the Sky Directed by Edet Belzberg Friday, November 21, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, November 22, 6:30 p.m. UA Pavilions

For Friday, November 21, Withey directs our attention to Watchers of the Sky, whose central theme "seems like something I should have been taught a long time ago. It's about a man named Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term 'genocide.' That's a word I just assumed had been around for a long, long time. But that's not so.

"Lemkin was a Holocaust survivor and he spent his entire life post-World War II trying to convince the United Nations to adopt the term 'genocide,' in order to have something to attach to these massive crimes -- mass acts of murder by groups of people. Before then, there wasn't any word for them, and he spent over a decade going to the U.N. over and over again to try to get them to adopt the term.

"He was poor, and this was his life's work. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five or six times but never won it. So this is a fascinating study of one man's Sisyphean task to do something that now seems so normal."

White Shadow Directed by Noaz Deshe Saturday, November 22, 7 p.m. Sunday, November 23, 7:15 p.m. SDFF Sie FilmCenter

White Shadow, Withey's recommendation for Saturday, November 22, is a narrative film that concerns a very real issue, albeit one little known in the United States. "Apparently and unfortunately," he says. "there are some rather large albino communities in central Africa that are hunted -- mostly by witch doctors, who will cut off parts of their body and either sell them or use them in rituals, because they're believed to have magical powers.

"The film follows a young boy who lives in a constant state of fear about being caught and killed and cut up for that purpose. His mother and father can't really support him anymore, so they send him off to live with an uncle in a large city. And that's a bit more dangerous than hiding out in a small village -- although only by a degree.

"The story of him trying to make a living, trying to lay low, trying to avoid being killed is an incredible story about growing up in a world of brutality. You identify with him, and you're scared for him."

Continue for Brit Withey's Sunday pick, as well as videos for all three films and more.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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