Film and TV

Starz Denver Film Fest must-see pick for Nov. 8: "Close Encounters of the Animated Kind"

Again this year, Starz Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest -- including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies.

Here, he shares his choice for tonight: "Close Encounters Of The Animated Kind."

"Close Encounters of the Animated Kind" Various directors 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, November 8 Denver FilmCenter/Colfax

"This is a collection of animated short films," says Withey -- ten in all, featuring offerings such as 1989 (When I Was 5 Years Old), Grandpa Looked Like William Powell and Luminaris, in which actors are animated using the pixilation technique . And he believes all of them deserve the big-screen treatment.

"Where do you get to see short films anymore, unless you're going to sit down at a computer and watch them online?" he asks. "That may be fine and dandy, but it's one of the great losses of cinema that you don't get to see short films in front of features anymore. Which is why shorts packages are some of the great things you can experience at a festival -- especially with the number of filmmakers who are going to be here with them."

He particularly enjoyed Shapes in the City by Becky James, which he describes as "an abstract little shape-painting film, with shapes swirling around an animated painting, and they escape from Los Angeles. It's wonderful."

As Withey notes, collections like this one "can sometimes be overlooked because of the red carpet films. It's easy to get excited about seeing something big that's not going to be in theaters until December. But I'd love to steer people to some things you're never going to see again -- and you're never going to have the opportunity to see these things again outside of a festival context."

Click here for more information about "Close Encounters of the Animated Kind," look below for an amazing trailer for Luminaris, and visit The Latest Word throughout the festival for more of Brit's picks.

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More from our Television & Film archive: "The Descendants is a small story that made for a Big Night at the Starz Denver Film Festival."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts