#DFF39 With Kristin Nolan


Denver! It’s Day 9 of the Denver Film Festival and what a week it’s been. You may/may not feel like you’ve just experienced a very traumatic car accident and are still walking around a little dazed. The good news is that the festival is there for you, offering solidarity, laughter, camaraderie, permission to cry, or more simply, an ability to escape, if only for a few hours.

There are still plenty of great films remaining through Sunday, no matter what kind of experience you are looking for. Shout-out to all of the wonderful festival staff + volunteers for putting on such a great event thus far.

One of those staff members in particular is Festival Producer, Kristin Nolan. One look at this lady and it is apparent that she gets. shit. done. We recently asked Kristin to take a few moments from her busy schedule to jot down her experience with the fest and what it’s like to be on the inside, looking out. Here’s what she had to say.

Describe your job in five words or less: Informational wrestling match.

What do you enjoy most about your job? My Denver Film Society (DFS) family and the warmth of the community that surrounds the event.

Describe the fest in five words or less: Denver cultural landscape gem.

If someone has never been to the festival before, what are they missing out onThe life changing and intellectually stimulating experiences the festival programming and events bring to our community.

While the actual execution of the festival is a marathon of exhaustion balanced by the joy of seeing it happen, it is the weeks leading up to it that are truly the most challenging (and spazzy). Thought I would start there.

T-Minus 7 days

The production of a festival is like a roller coaster and if at any moment one should try to abandon the ride, organizational peril awaits. Envy of people living life and communing over patio cocktails is rampant. There is, however, no choice but to plow forward through exhaustion, general stupidity, and the intermittent contemplation of a festival-related death. My mother always said to take responsibility for what you do and say, so I will accept the path I chose knowing it is the post-festival catharsis that drives the engine. It’s a sickness really.

T-Minus 6 days

The physical readiness for a festival is made evident by transitioning a desk and office that resemble a hamster cage lined with scraps of paper into a spotless productivity zone. It is here that the details of 250 films, 140 staff members, 4 venues, and all the other whatnots can be boiled down to a bare minimum of papers not to exceed 4 sheets for optimal ease of travel throughout the 13 days of the event.

T-Minus 5 days

Appreciation day! I have worked no less than 100 festivals in my many years and there is absolutely nothing that compares to our Denver Film Festival (DFF) staff. As the festival is but a few days away and the office and venues are operating at light speed readying for the onslaught, there is nothing more fabulous than looking around and knowing you are surrounded by love and the most unbelievable grouping of talent out there. The DFF staff is one-of-a-kind and with skill, understanding, humor, and grace, they get the job done.

T-Minus 4 days

There are seemingly 1,000 incomplete items to address before the festival starts and yet, I am feeling quite accomplished having finally taken a moment to fill out my ballot. It now resides alongside my toothbrush (grabbed in a hygienic emergency) and is awkwardly sticking out of the back of my bag, the inside of which is now smeared with toothpaste in perfect complement to the peanuts that spilled in there a few days before. Back to the list.

T-Minus 3 & 2 days

Spent the weekend prepping for the fabulous chaos to erupt on Monday. Managed to squeeze in three loads of laundry in the wee hours of the morning and even applied a flame to food grown on earth as opposed to the Frito-Lay farm where I frequently graze. Work/life balance success?

T-Minus 1 day

Being completely out of it, I had no idea it was Halloween and in the spirit of our most fabulous production assistants arriving, I opted for a gas station attendant shirt, embroidered with my porn star bowling moniker – Grizzy. Spent the day fending off questions about the nature of my non-existent costume.

Opening Night

Every possible variable is in play for Opening Night and weeks of fret and sweat are completely negated by the entry and exuberance of the crowd, the reaction to the film, and watching Emma Stone with hands-on-her-knees backstage, overwhelmed as Britta Erickson (our incredible Festival Director) delivers a perfect tribute to her work. The magic of film wins again.

And we’re off…

All venues are open and the myriad of hard-fought pieces are coming together. The memory of the “tough” times is fading as it is replaced by the magnificent reality of what the entire DFS team has created and a smidge of slap-happy silliness. I have hugged upwards of 200 people, films are flickering away in every theater, the community is alive, and this is exactly the way it should be #DFF39