Denver Film Society successfully raises $3.5 million for Sie FilmCenter

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When we talked to Denver Film Society executive director Tom Botelho back in November 2011, the organization was only a month away from bidding farewell to the Starz FilmCenter, which the organization had occupied for a decade -- and he was uncertain where its new home would be.

A lot's happened between then and now. The organization just announced that it's reached a $3.5 million fundraising goal it's been working toward for nearly three years.

Actually, the society surpassed it. As of this week, according to the DFS, the "Home for Film" capital campaign, launched in December 2010, had collected $3.7 million with help from a Kickstarter fundraiser and 2,300 supporters, including seven lead and fifteen major-gift donors.

The last description certainly fits philanthropists John and Anna Sie. At last year's Starz Denver Film Festival, fest vet Ron Henderson revealed that the Sies had gifted the DFS with $2.5 million to go toward buying the Denver Filmcenter/Colfax, located in the same complex as Twist & Shout and the Tattered Cover.

This outlay, combined with the other contributions, has allowed the DFS to purchase new digital projection equipment and otherwise upgrade the renamed Sie FilmCenter.

"The vision of moving DFS operations to the East Colfax neighborhood was the catalyst in launching the Home for Film capital campaign which at the time was a bold move for the organization," Botelho notes in a statement. "Yet, it was also the dedication, focus, and enthusiasm from our board, staff, community leaders, and film lovers across the front range who by embracing the campaign from the start helped us surpass our goal."

The campaign isn't officially over. It'll conclude on September 15, and until then, contributions are still be accepted -- including the purchase of named seats at the FilmCenter. And a second phase of the effort is expected to be announced later this year, with a focus of creating "an organizational endowment to help ensure its ability to provide educational and public programming and ongoing support of Colorado's filmmaking industry well into the future," a DFS release reveals.

Sounds ambitious. Then again, so did that $3.5 million goal back in 2010.

More from our Television & Film archive circa November 2011: "Starz Denver Film Fest attendance, revenue up, Starz FilmCenter replacement search goes on."

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