Film and TV

The Movies That Made Us

In 1978, popular movies such as Star Wars dominated Denver theater marquees for six months at a time. There was no Internet, no downloading, no Netflix. "Blockbuster" was still a term used without irony by studio execs. And art-house cinema was difficult to come by.

That same year, the Denver International Film Festival raised the curtain on its inaugural effort, "Ten Days in May," which premiered on May 4 at the Ogden Theatre with a celebration of 100 years of Warner Brothers cinema. Robert Altman was the artist honored that year, and the festival closed with a sold-out screening of the director's A Wedding.

"Our goal from the beginning was to bring film from around the world that wasn't going to be shown here otherwise," says spokeswoman Britta Erickson.

And they have been ever since. From its humble beginnings at such since-shuttered theaters as the Flick and the Aladdin, the DIFF has grown into a starlet-studded affair that now sells-out not only the Starz FilmCenter but also mammoth rooms like the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and the Buell Theatre. See how it all came to be at The Movies That Made Us, a compilation of clips and photos from the past 29 years that screens on Friday, May 4, at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli.

You'll want to see what made the final cut since the selection process nearly divorced the Starz programming team. "The experience of attending a festival is so personal and diverse, we all had certain films we were pulling for," Erickson says.

The result features something for everyone, from Bill Murray to Krzysztof Kieslowski, as well as an insight into how the festival became what it is today. Thirty dollars covers admission as well as cocktails and hors d'oeuvre afterward. For more details, check out

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Adam Cayton-Holland