#SDFF37 with Britta Erickson


Britta Erickson, looking fierce as usual [photo by james dimagiba]

Hey!  It’s no secret that I heart the Starz Denver Film Festival, so for the next two weeks I will be providing some festival-going tips and recommendations from some real deal festival insiders.

First up: Festival Director, Britta Erickson.  I can’t even imagine the slew of emotions that Britta must be experiencing with the festival just a mere two days away.  However, she was kind enough to take the time to provide Dear Denver with some insights for #SDFF37.  What to see, what to do, and how to party.  Bundle up and enjoy!

How are you feeling right now: Honestly?  Exhausted.  But, excited to get the train of SDFF37 rolling.

Give me five words that describe this year’s festival: Awesome (as always).  Spirited.  Diverse.  Brazilian (in a good way, not like that painful wax).  Surprising.

There are a lot of well-known film festivals around the globe, what makes Denver’s so special? We program for our dedicated film-loving audience.  We don’t play “the premiere game” – we want to bring the best films of the year to you even if they’ve already played at another film festival in a city you don’t live in like Cannes, Venice, or Toronto.  Oh, and our hospitality and parties are legendary.

What’s new/different about this year’s fest? Every year is so new and different because of the nature of the films we see and choose to program.  We’ve made a one-year move from the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to the Buell Theatre for our Red Carpet presentations.  That is different but not wholly unfamiliar…before the Ellie was renovated, the Buell was our Red Carpet presentation house.

What are you MOST excited about this year? I’m pretty jazzed that my amazing event staff has secured a Ms. Pac-Man arcade game for the Reel Social Club Arcade Party.

If someone has never attended the film fest before, what are they missing out on? Being the coolest most in-the-know person around the water cooler.  We have programmed 250 of the best new films.  We are bringing in over 150 incredibly talented filmmakers to share their work and discuss it with audiences.  The festival gives you a much richer experience than an average Friday night movie at your local multiplex.

There are so many films programmed for the festival; I’ll admit it can be a little overwhelming.  What advice would you give to newbies trying to select films to attend? It can definitely be overwhelming…even to me.  Read the festival guide, choose something up your alley of interest.  Then, put on a blindfold and throw your finger on something else in the guide and take a chance.  Film festivals are about discovery.

Not to miss movie at the 2014 Starz Denver Film Festival: That’s such a tough question.  But seeing Walking Under Water on the big screen is breathtaking.  It is a documentary about a dying way of life in Borneo and it is quite a feat of filmmaking, shot almost entirely on a small, not-so-reliable boat and underwater.

Top 5 (or how many you want) movie recommendations at this year’s fest: Little Accidents, Seymour: An Introduction, Lake Los Angeles, I Believe in Unicorns, Wildlike.

Best movie for a first Tinder date: No-brainer – our opening night film, 5 to 7.  Trust me…it is a Tinder (before Tinder) story and it’s a fancy pants Red Carpet screening with a post-party so epic that you could lose your Tinder date if you needed to do so.

Best film to watch after visiting a dispensary: Despite the fact that I’m producing a film titled, Rolling Papers, which follows The Denver Post and The Cannabist as they’ve been covering the legalization of recreational marijuana in our state, I don’t visit dispensaries.  But, I would imagine any of our Stanley Nights horror selections (presented by the Stanley Film Festival) would make for an interesting experience.

What are some of the other special event highlights? For seasoned or aspiring filmmakers, our Filmmaker Focus events at RedLine are great crash courses.  You can learn from some of the industry’s best: Producer Michael Beugg (Up in the Air, Thank you for Smoking), Emmy award-winning composer Charles Denler, Jenni Wolfson (Chicken & Egg Pictures), Molly O’Brien (Sundance Institute’s Catalyst Film Forum), and Entertainment Lawyer, Irwin Rappaport (Zero Dark Thirty, The Grand Budapest Hotel).

Describe the level of eye candy at the Starz Denver Film Festival: Have you seen my staff?

Any fashion predictions? Given the weather reports, I predict we’ll be seeing lots of parkas.

Recommend a pre-movie restaurant/bar to hit up during the fest: Henderson’s Lounge at the SIE FilmCenter of course!

Festival-going tips: You actually nailed this one – PRO TIP: STEP INTO THE STORY.  But pro tips aside: watch films, bring friends, ask questions, take chances, talk to strangers, drink water, sleep later.

What are you looking forward to doing after the festival is over: SLEEPING.