Films / Programs

First Look Student Film Section

The First Look Student Film Section is an exclusive selection of short films reserved for outstanding student filmmakers from around the world. Started in 2000 as a stand-alone event and dubbed by The Denver Post as "arguably the best niche festival in Denver," First Look focuses on finding the brightest new talents in cinema and bringing them and their works to Colorado. The films in this category offer a rare and exciting glimpse into the hearts and minds of the great filmmakers of tomorrow. Founders and curators Wade Gardner and Joshua Weinberg continue to personally review and select all films for the program.

ITo celebrate, the talent being developed in educational environments the Starz Denver Film Festival is honored to present the annual Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award to a jury selected film in this section. After receiving a degree from Morehouse College with a BA in communication, Lee enrolled at NYU. Upon completing the graduate degree film program, he won a Student Academy Award for his short Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, which was also the first student film ever selected for the distinguished New Directors/New Film Series in New York City. Those accomplishments led to a heralded filmmaking career that makes Mr. Lee an inspiration to film students. It is with much pride that we present this annual award in his name to a deserving filmmaker.

  • Act of Bravery

    Act of Bravery

    USA , 2009 , 10 min. To save his leading lady, a lovesick stagehand must do the most terrifying thing he can imagine. A satire within an original musical comedy, Act of Bravery is about the wonders and horrors of adolescence.... more
  • Allen Mack

    Allen Mack

    USA , 2009 , 17 min. A police shooting in Queens is examined from three distinct points of view: the deceased's best friend, a waitress in a club who interacted with all parties involved—and the cop who fired the fatal shots.... more
  • Clemency


    USA , 2009 , 18 min. A reporter confronts a sadistic killer who takes her on a terrifying thrill ride she will never forget.... more
  • Daughters


    China , 2009 , 10 min. When Maple, a quiet 14-year old girl living in rural China, is forced into an arranged marriage, she takes a dangerous path to free herself.... more
  • Dreams Awake

    Dreams Awake

    USA , 2010 , 7 min. A meditation on the immigrant experience through the life and poetry of Doroteo Garcia, a 45-year-old janitor and father of two, who discovers his artistic and political voice in the United States.... more
  • Fish Food

    Fish Food

    USA , 2009 , 11 min. Innocent 14-year-old Kasia brings home a beautiful fish for her family to cook for dinner. But nobody has the heart to kill it!... more
  • God of Love

    God of Love

    USA , 2010 , 18 min. A lovestruck, lounge-singing darts champion finds his prayers answered when he mysteriously receives a box of love-inducing darts.... more
  • The Haymaker

    The Haymaker

    USA , 2010 , 24 min. An uninspired youth joins a gym to prove his mother wrong—but has second thoughts when he realizes who the trainer is.... more
  • Kavi


    USA , 2009 , 19 min. An Oscar-nominated short about a boy in India who wants to play cricket and go to school—but instead is forced to work in a brick kiln as a modern-day slave. Unsatisfied with his lot, Kavi must choose to either accept what he's always been told—or fight for a different life.... more
  • The Last to Leave

    The Last to Leave

    USA , 2010 , 19 min. The Last to Leave documents the final day of the Vietnam War through the eyes of those who lived it.... more
  • Lost or Found

    Lost or Found

    Switzerland , 2010 , 22 min. Hanna has lost her memory. In an attempt to discover her identity, she steals suitcases from other women and takes over their personalities. When she finds a gun in a suitcase, she decides to rob a shop. During the robbery she meets Pablo and Luca.... more
  • The Monster

    The Monster

    South Korea , 2010 , 23 min. This genre-blending short pits a dedicated mother and her family against an insidious virus. A fascinating look at individuality and conformity within a horroresque narrative.... more
  • The Quartering Act

    The Quartering Act

    USA , 2009 , 17 min. France, 1944. A grieving mother confronts the enemy when three desperate German deserters guarding a dangerous secret invade her home.... more
  • Rats in the City

    Rats in the City

    USA , 2010 , 19 min. After his father's death, Matt is forced to choose between his friends in the punk community and honoring his father's memory by going against everything he believes in and joining the army.... more
  • Sami's Cock

    Sami's Cock

    USA , 2010 , 4 min. The Iraq War is explained in an animal parable written by an Iraqi writer in Baghdad. An international cast from the shows Entourage, Prison Break, Angel, Dexter, 24 and Ugly Betty performs it!... more
  • Still Here

    Still Here

    USA , 2009 , 21 min. New York City native Randy Baron has lived with HIV for nearly 30 years. A rare genetic mutation has given him the gift of continued health, but it has also made him an inadvertent witness to the horrors of the AIDS epidemic, which has killed almost everyone he loved.... more
  • Top Spin

    Top Spin

    USA , 2010 , 12 min. With hard work and family sacrifice, a young table tennis champion works toward becoming one of the top players in the world.... more
  • Trash-Out


    USA , 2009 , 6 min. On the frontline of an American tragedy, this fascinating cinematic essay documents the thoughts and emotions of a group of workers as they “trash out” the remains of a foreclosed family home.... more
  • Tuned In

    Tuned In

    USA , 2010 , 6 min. Naturally produced radio signals surround us all the time but are inaudible to humans. This film goes on a sonic journey into the world of one natural radio pioneer and his efforts to capture these mesmerizing sounds.... more
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