West Side Stories shines a light on Denver's colorful Jewish history

An important piece of Denver's cultural foundation will be revealed tomorrow night when West Side Stories, a film documenting the city's deep Jewish history, is shown at the Denver FilmCenter as part of the ongoing DocNight series. The hour-long documentary tells the story of the Eastern European transplants who settled in the Sloans Lake neighborhood and around West Colfax Avenue.

The Jewish community was a significant part of the new city, making an indelible impact on Denver's architecture, industries and culture.

Filmmaker Steve Feld talked to dozens of people who'd lived and worked in this once-burgeoning neighborhood. A rough cut of West Side Stories debuted last spring at the Hebrew Educational Alliance, where it drew hundreds of enthusiastic viewers. Feld has since done more interviews and made further edits, and the film is fleshed out and ready for another showing.

"There is a lot of history as well as a desire for people in Colorado to learn more about the state and the city," says Keith Garcia, program director of the Denver FilmCenter. And because of the number of people who came out to see West Side Stories at its unofficial premiere last year, Garcia is encouraging people to buy tickets, $12-15, for tomorrow's 7 p.m. showing online as soon as possible. The program also includes a post-film discussion with the Feld.

For more information, go to www.denverfilm.org or call 303-595-3456.

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