Festival News

33rd Starz Denver Film Festival Wraps 12-day Event and Announces Award Winners


The 33rd Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF33) concluded yesterday, Sunday, Nov. 14 and the votes are in for this year's Starz People's Choice Awards.  Juried awards were announced and presented on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the sold-out Closing Night Red Carpet presentation of Black Swan.


The 12 days of SDFF33 yielded a record 99 sell-outs out of the featured 224 films from 30 countries: 49 documentaries, 91 features and 133 shorts.  Attendance exceeded the previous record of 47,500 and ticket revenues were up 24% from last year.


"With the opening of the Denver Film Society’s new permanent home - the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax, star-studded Red Carpet presentations, and filmmakers from around the world joining us, the 33rd year of the Starz Denver Film Festival was an exhilarating cinematic celebration," said Britta Erickson, SDFF director. "Demonstrated in both numbers and response, the Denver community and the inspiring filmmakers and industry professionals who shared their work with our enthusiastic audience were paramount to this being such a successful year."


Starz People's Choice Awards:

Feature – happythankyoumoreplease

Directed by Josh Radnor

A lively dramatic comedy about three sets of young couples dealing with shaky relationships, questionable career choices and the uncertainties of life in New York City.


Documentary Feature – Grace Paley: Collected Shorts

Directed by Lilly Rivlin

The story of Grace Paley’s long and colorful life as a writer and political activist is chronicled in this seamlessly flowing documentary.


Short – Keep Dancing

Directed by Greg Vander Veer

Ninety-year –old dance legends Marge Champion and Donald Saddler keep their love for their craft alive as they continue to create, rehearse and perform.


Juried Awards


The jurors for the Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film this year were David D’Arcy, film reviewer for Screen International and the BBC; Holly Herrick, director of programming at the Sarasota Film Festival and programmer for the Hampton’s International Film Festival; Palm Springs International Film Festival curator and Variety writer, Alissa Simon. The winner was The White Meadows, directed by Mohammad Rasoulof who was arrested and jailed in Iran last year. This visually elegant allegory operates without literalism and takes the viewer into an imaginative world of symbols, but Rasoulof’s film, shot in seaside deserts of salt, is also a beautiful logistical triumph.


The Festival's documentary award, the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film, named after the great filmmaker brothers, Albert and David Maysles is presented each year to an outstanding documentary.  The jury this year was comprised of Tanja Meding – a Maysles Films producer and co-chair of the documentary committee of the Producers Guild of America East; an award-winning documentary filmmaker; Stephen Nemeth, founder and head of Rhino Films; and founder and producer of Studio on Hudson, Heather Winters.


The recipient of the 2010 Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film was awarded to Secrets of the Tribe, directed by Jose Padilha, for its fascinating exploration into the world of anthropology and the atrocities committed against the Yanomami tribe. The film artfully combines provocative interviews and haunting archival footage which enlighten, shock and greatly move. The film My So-Called Enemy directed by Lisa Gossels received a Special Jury Prize for Filmmaking for its eight year commitment documenting the lives and friendships of a group Israeli and Palestinian young women, some of whom are becoming the next generation of ambassadors for peace.


The Emerging Filmmaker Award is given to a first or second-time director without U.S. distribution who best displays originality, artistic excellence and visual awareness, while maintaining a consistent directorial vision and technical proficiency.  The 2010 Emerging Filmmaker Award was awarded to Chris Brown for Fanny, Annie & Danny. The jury cited Brown for defying conventions by both confounding and pissing off the viewer, finding humor in the darkest of places—without being self indulgent. For being brave and bold enough to give us characters we love to hate.


The award was juried by writer/producer Darren Dean; Chris Horton, head of acquisitions for Cinetic Rights Management; and New York based-producer Jared Moshe.


The 2010 Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award was juried by actor Tom Bower; cinematographer/filmmaker Diego Quemada-Diez; Sarah Siegel-Magness - producer of multi-Academy Award nominee, Precious, and managing partner of Smokewood Entertainment; and cinematographer/fine art photographer Robert Muratore whom awarded Dreams Awake, directed by Kevin Gordon and Rebekha Meredith from Stanford University, as the stand-out favorite for its concepts and ideas, which were beautifully yet simply executed with honesty and integrity and poetically humanized the voice of the invisible.


The 2nd annual ASIFA-Colorado Prize for the Best Animated Short Award went to The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger directed by Bill Plympton for its style changing and surreal look at our dreams and desires, no matter how dark.


Jury members for Animated Short award include Evert Brown, freelance director and instructor at Art Institute of Colorado; Ed Desroches, an animator, Web designer and instructor; Judy Gardner, professor at Art Institute of Colorado and Metropolitan State College of Denver; Joey Buhrer, and animator and ASIFA-Colorado Board member; Wes Price, illustrator and animator; and Patrick Mallek, Boulder International Film Festival animation programmer.



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