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ANNA AND JOHN J. SIE PROVIDE $2.5 MILLION TO DENVER FILM SOCIETY
2012 Starz Denver Film Festival
Funds provide a permanent home, fulfill future needs, for the new SIE FilmCenter
The Denver Film Society (DFS) today announced a $2.5 million donation from the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation that has enabled DFS to purchase the building and theaters at 2510 East Colfax Avenue. The complex and the building will be renamed the Anna and John J. Sie FilmCenter, the Sie FilmCenter for short. In addition, the main theater within the Sie FilmCenter will be named the Maria and Tommaso Maglione Theater in honor of Anna's parents.
$1.5 million of the donation is an outright gift and $1 million is a low-interest loan over five years. The Sies' donation allows the Denver Film Society to own rather than lease space. With a permanent home and a solid financial base, DFS intends to organize long-term sustainable growth in programming, education, and outreach that will propel it to be the best in the United States.
"We salute the visionary leadership and the incredible generosity of our dear friends, Anna and John Sie. Their steady support of our capital campaign, and their major donations at critical times of our existence over the last ten years, has made it possible for the Denver Film Society to thrive and realize our dream of owning our own facility. We can now secure Denver's place as a leader in the world of film for decades to come," said Tom Botelho, executive director of DFS.
John J. Sie stated, "We're excited to be able to play a part in making Denver a major player in film, a unique American institution. In addition, with our fantastic neighboring enterprises within the complex, we are contributing to the revitalization of the Colfax Corridor that will continue to spread and improve the economy and value of the neighborhood. Anna and I are very pleased to be able to give back in this way to the film industry that has been very good to us."
John J. Sie is the retired founder of Starz Entertainment Group, LLC. Together with his wife, Anna Maglione Sie, they established the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation in 2003. The Foundation supports philanthropic endeavors throughout the global community, with emphasis on Down syndrome, international security and diplomacy, education, media, business, and technology.
Through both Starz Entertainment Group and their Foundation, the Sies have been generous supporters of the Denver Film Society for many years. In 2000, John J. Sie and the company he founded, Starz Entertainment, donated $5 million over 10 years to the Denver Film Society and the University of Colorado at Denver to secure a lease on the 12-screen film complex at the Auraria Campus that was the home venue and office for the non-profit Denver Film Society and its programming initiatives for a decade. In 2008, the Sies established the first endowment for the Denver Film Society to fund the Maria & Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award, a $10,000 award presented to an outstanding Italian Filmmaker each year during the Starz Denver Film Festival.
Two years ago, DFS leased the vacated former Neighborhood Flix cinema from Frank Schultz, president and co-owner of Tavern Hospitality Group, with an option to purchase. The theater was renamed the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax and a capital campaign was launched November 2010 to purchase the building and establish a DFS Endowment Fund for programming. Since opening at the new East Colfax location, the Denver Film Society has seen substantial increases in membership, box office, and concession revenues.
The Sies' donation augments the DFS Capital Campaign Fund which has received generous donations from other lead donors including Michael and Amber Fries, Robert and Liane Clasen, Mary Caulkins and Karl Kister, James Bunch and Linda Petrie Bunch, Luisa and Chris Law, Mark and Maxine Rossman, Barbara Bridges and the Boettcher Foundation.
"Our move to this vibrant arts and cultural hub, now the Sie FilmCenter on East Colfax is a significant chapter in DFS history. A large group of community supporters provided leadership every step of the way," said Botelho. "The neighborhoods surrounding our new home have welcomed our cultural presence, and as we launch the 35th Starz Denver Film Festival, we are confident we will continue to expand programming and grow our audience in this new location."
Michael Smith, attorney with Husch Blackwell, represented Denver Film Society on the purchase with additional services provided by Steven Levey, accountant with GHP Horvatch P.C. The Anna and John J. Sie Foundation was represented by Neil M. Goff of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.
About the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation
The Anna and John J. Sie Foundation supports the sharing of knowledge among peoples and cultures throughout the global community, with an emphasis on Down syndrome, international security and diplomacy, education, media, business and technology. The foundation is a supporter of the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children's Hospital Colorado, the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the BioFrontier's Institute at the University of Colorado, the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies, the Denver School of Science and Technology, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Film Society, and numerous other civic, social and educational institutions.