The Top Ten Movie Events in Denver for March 2015

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Sundance is over and Oscar season — but the show will go on at local movie theaters. In March, screens will light up with two Alfred Hitchcock classics, several film festivals and a survey of Italian neorealism. Audiences will also be able to spend an entire weekend with one of the masters of the American avant-garde and enjoy a theatrical tip of the hat to a John Hughes coming-of-age classic. So bust out the popcorn, reserve your tickets and get ready for a month of cinematic glee.

10) Kalos Film Festival
7 p.m., Wednesday, March 4
Alamo Drafthouse

What kinds of films are being made by directors who'll be acclaimed at the Oscars decades from now? For a sneak peak into the future of cinematic excellence, check out the Kalos Film Festival, which will feature work by some of the country's best high school filmmakers. The event will include a red carpet gala, an awards ceremony and a presentation by film industry pros. Reserve your seat for $12 at the Alamo Drafthouse website.

9) Boulder International Film Festival
Thursday, March 5 through Sunday, March 8
Various locations

Each spring more than 25,000 filmmakers, distributors and cinephiles congregate in Boulder to celebrate the movies. This year’s Boulder International Film Festival includes eight Sundance selections, a guest appearance by actor Alan Arkin, parties, foodie events and more. The opening night film is The Wrecking Crew, a documentary about a group of unknown studio musicians whose familiar sounds graced hundreds of hit pop recordings. The festival ends with the documentary Racing Extinction, which follows undercover activists using video to expose the trade, exploitation and abuse of exotic animals. For tickets, passes and more information, go to the BIFF website.

8) Cinema in the Ashes of War
1 p.m. Saturdays in March, starting March 7
SIE FilmCenter

Former Rocky Mountain News film critic Robert Denerstein will be walking audiences through the emotionally bleak and cinematically exquisite landscape of Italian neorealism in this class. Looking at classics like Rome Open City and The Bicycle Thief, the course will explore directors such as Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini, who used a medium often reserved for glamor and entertainment to tell the morally rich yet depressing stories of everyday people struggling in an unjust world. The course costs $100; to see the rest of the lineup and reserve a spot, go to the FilmCenter website

7) Brakhage Center Symposium
Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8
Atlas Black Box Theater

The Brakhage Center Symposium is an annual event where experimental film buffs gather to explore the genre. This year’s symposium celebrates the life and work of Ken Jacobs, one of the masters of the American avant-garde. On March 6, Jacobs will show his feature film Keeping An Eye on Stan, about the late filmmaker Stan Brakhage, another force in the experimental film world. On March 7, film theorist Tom Gunning will help Jacobs present three programs of his work. Festivities wrap up on March 8 with a screening of Razzle Dazzle: The Lost World. For more information about the symposium, go to the First Person Cinema website

6) Vertigo
Alamo Drafthouse
2 p.m., Sunday, March 8

Many consider Alfred Hitchcock to be Hollywood’s greatest director and his 1958 thriller Vertigo to be his masterpiece. The film stars Jimmy Stewart, who plays a detective suffering from a fear of heights. The character develops an unhealthy fixation on his dead friend's wife —played by Kim Novak — who has an identity that is as dizzying as the film’s animated opening sequence. Fans of Gone Girl who have never seen this classic will enjoy digging into the history of the psychological thriller genre. Tickets cost $9 and can be purchased at the Alamo Drafthouse website

5) The Birds
7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12
The Visual Arts Complex Basement Auditorium (1B20)

Few things are scarier than birds — leftover dinosaurs with an insatiable need to peck out people’s eyes. Okay, perhaps that’s just our ornithophobia pecking away at the keyboard (even the word "pecking" is terrifying). But we know we’re not alone: Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock agreed that birds can be very, very scary and his1963 film The Birds, based on a Daphne du Maurier short story, proves it. While Hitchcock’s films often explore the psychological motivation behind murder, The Birds bushwhacked new, frightening terrain: the unyielding, chaotic power of nature. Tickets cost $8; for more information, go to the International Film Series website.  

4) Black Maria Film and Video Festival
Monday, March 16
Naropa University Performing Arts Center

Since 1981, the Black Maria Film and Video Festival has featured some of the best contemporary short narrative, documentary, experimental and animated films and videos. Named after Thomas Edison’s Black Maria Studio, the first film production studio founded in 1893, the festival always has a surprising, fresh and occasionally shocking array of work. Festival director Jane Steuerwald is currently traveling the country, presenting a selection of her favorite festival award winners — and she'll land in Boulder on March 16.

3) ScreenPlay
Monday, March 16
Buntport Theater

ScreenPlay is a Denver-based theater troupe that features local actors reinterpreting scripts from Hollywood movies. This past year they interpreted the screenplays for The Princess Bride and Reservoir Dogs, and now the group will be performing the 1985 John Hughes classic, The Breakfast Club, which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. The performance takes place at the Buntport Theater; for more information, go to the ScreenPLAY website

2) Women + Film Festival: Voices
Tuesday, March 17 through Sunday, March 22
SIE FilmCenter

The year-round Women+Film series at the SIE FilmCenter will be ramping up into a five-day spring festival, Voices, featuring documentary, short and narrative films as well as parties and panels celebrating films by and about women. On opening night, Jennifer Siebel Newsom will present The Mask You Live In, a documentary that follows a group of young men struggling to maintain their sense of self while wrangling with the limits of masculinity. The closing night film, The Keeping Room, tells the story of three Southern women protecting their home after the American Civil War. Festival passes cost $100; check out the FilmCenter website for the rest of the lineup. 

1) Growing Up Baumbach: A Tribute to Noah Baumbach’s 20 Years in Film
Monday, March 23 through Thursday, March 26
SIE FilmCenter

In advance of the screening of independent filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, the Sie FilmCenter will host a retrospective featuring Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale and Frances Ha, a selection of the filmmaker’s coming-of-age movies. Guests who buy tickets to these older Baumbach films will receive free entry to the 7:15 p.m. March 26 preview of While We’re Young. Tickets to the individual films cost $10; for more information about the series, go to the FilmCenter website. 

Find me on Twitter: @kyle_a_harris

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