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Rising Star Adepero Oduye Coming to Starz Denver Film Festival

2011 Starz Denver Film Festival
Acclaimed for her role in Pariah

Adepero Oduye, who portrays "Alike," a 17-year-old coming to terms with her sexuality in Pariah, will be in Denver to receive the 2011 Rising Star Award following a screening of the film on Monday, November 7. Denver Post Film Critic, Lisa Kennedy, will moderate a discussion with Oduye as part of the program.


Oduye, whose acting credits include performances in live theatre, short films and television, appeared in the award-winning original, short film version of Pariah. The Brooklyn-born daughter of Nigerian immigrants is a pre-med graduate of Cornell University.   She discovered her real passion in an acting class during her senior year of college. Her career path broke with her parents' desire that all seven of their children become doctors.


"We are thrilled to have Adepero at our festival this year and to be able to recognize her extraordinary talent," said Britta Erickson, Festival Director. "Her portrayal of 'Alike', a young, African American lesbian in hiding, is stunning and has propelled her onto a new and even larger professional stage. She is clearly a Rising Star who we will be hearing from again and again in the near future."


Oduye will also participate in the panel discussion, Do Ask, Do Tell on Sunday, November 6, 1:30 p.m. at the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax as part of the Starz Denver Film Festival's (SDFF) Women+ Film Series. Moderated by Denver Film Society board member and founder of the W+F Series, Barbara Bridges, the panel, including Oduye, Wish Me Away directors Bobbi Birleffi and Beverly Kopf, One Colorado Deputy Director Jess Wodrum, and Denver Post Film Critic Lisa Kennedy will explore why it is important to share stories of coming out and how accurate media portrayals and films on the subject can move the dialogue forward. 


Pariah, in its original short film form, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008 and later won awards from several other festivals, including Palm Springs and Los Angeles. The semi-autobiographical full-length feature that will be presented at SDFF and which is the directorial debut by Dee Rees, also features Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell as Alike's unhappily married parents, and Pernell Walker as her best friend, Laura.