Denver's diamond in the rough, The Festivus Film Festival, rolls out its fifth year with a fresh slate of indie films from January 12-15, 2012. It's a micro-festival, big on hospitality, that doesn't limit itself to genre or region. Founders Jonathan Macfarlane and Tim DeMasters have organically grown a festival that hasn't lost its Indie roots.
It's a Festivus after all, and that means it's a Festivus for the rest of us. Festivus has struck a chord with Denverites who continue to seek their way in a burgeoning music scene and desire for a community of cinema. Last year, Festivus was named one of the "20 Coolest Film Festivals" in the country by MovieMaker Magazine. It was a great week, with lots of intimate screenings that were "thought-provoking and engaging," as writer Lana Bandoim reported.
As I said in 2011 coverage of Festivus, festivals are all about recharging that energy lost through distribution channels, where the umbilical cord of experience is cut between creator and audience. Festivus provided that unpretentious environment where one big melting pot of energy simmers between the movers and those they leave shaking in their seats.
Alright, that's enough glowing praise; we are talking about an industry that thrives on the motto "what have you done lately?" With 62 films programmed at Festivus 2012, 13 are world premieres. Macfarlane mentioned that "60 percent of the films will be represented by the filmmakers in person, some traveling from Germany, Switzerland, Canada, England, Australia, and or course all over the U.S."
Making its Colorado premiere is the comedic mystery "Searching for Sonny" from Andrew Disney. It screens Saturday, January 14, at the Oriental Theater at 8:00 p.m. with producer Red Sanders in attendance. There is a much-anticipated World Premiere of Sridhar Reddy's intelligent horror take on Dante's Inferno, "Lilith." Leading lady Julia Voth will be present at the 3:45 p.m. screening at the Oriental Theater also on Saturday, January 14.
"Cellmates" is a Southern-fried comedy with veteran actors Tom Sizemore and Stacy Keach about a Klansman who gets locked up and is inspired by love to learn racial equality in close quarters. It screens Friday, January 13, at 6:45 p.m. at the Oriental Theater. Other feature films include Jeremiah Gurzi's "Heaven Strewn," Ross McQueen's Australian crime comedy "Blockhouse Blues and the Elmore Beast," and the documentary "Facets of Winter."
One facet of Festivus definitely worth exploring is the seven short film showcases, including a block of Comedy, Abstract and Experimental shorts, Twisted Tales, and a Colorado Locals Only Showcase. Of course, the after parties are equally explorative, with a chance to mingle with filmmakers and local culture creators and connoisseurs.
Check out the full Schedule for Festivus 2012. If you see enough eventfulness to suit your appetite, consider nabbing the $75.00 festival pass, good for all events, parties, and screenings. The pass even comes in the shape of the Festivus Skull Logo -- a pretty cool keepsake to hang from your rearview mirror as you look back at all the shenanigans you got into.
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