What's Up Doc?, the Denver Public Library's documentary film series launches with The Cove

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Denver Public Library's Chris Loffelmacher wants people to see the DPL as "a community gathering spot where citizens can be with their 'tribe.' That has always been a goal of libraries, but it has become more and more important in the age of social media. We want to give our community a chance to connect -- with new ideas and with each other."

As part of that push, DPL's curatorial team hosts the yearly "What's Up Doc" series of documentaries geared toward adult audiences. It begins Tuesday, July 1.

See also: The Cove: Japanese protestors block Japanese-dolphin-killing documentary from theaters

As the curators decide what to show, they discuss the notion of cinema verite, which translates into "truth in cinema." They debate the very existence of so-called nonfiction film.

"When the camera is running, people begin, consciously or unconsciously, presenting themselves for the camera, editing themselves for the screen," says Loffelmacher. "That is the fascinating part about documentaries -- separating out the real truth from the camera-ready truth."

Each year, the team picks a different theme. "After selecting a larger collection that is appropriate for screening to a broad, library audience, we then narrow the selection by current trends, staff knowledge levels and thematic motifs," he says. "This year's collection really speaks to the eccentricities and varieties of human experience. It underscores the idea that 'the ways that we are different' is the thing that makes us the same."

The program launches Tuesday night with The Cove, a film about Japan's fishing industry and the violent slaughter of dolphins.

"The structure of it -- similar to a heist film -- is so cinematic, kind of Old Hollywood. And it is an important story that folks should know about," says Loffelmacher.

The Cove plays at Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center, 10 West 14th Avenue, Tuesday from 6:30-9 p.m.. For more information, go to the What's Up Doc? webpage.

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