Since so many of us have spent the bulk of our recent movie-watching time using streaming apps like Netflix, the only curation we’re getting is algorithms reflecting our own tastes back to us. That’s one of the things that makes film festivals so enlightening – they provide options viewers wouldn’t normally be able to access.

And so even though the 43rd annual Denver Film Festival will be switching to mostly virtual this year, audiences will still be able to check out thoughtfully selected films from all over the world.

“I’m super excited that we can offer a festival of the same quality that we’ve been offering for the last 42 years,” said Britta Erickson, the festival’s director. “We’ve always challenged audiences, and now we’re giving them more options to see more films on the virtual platform. What they’re getting this year is the best of the best.”

The Denver Film Festival runs from Thursday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Nov. 8, with the bulk of the films streaming on Denver Film’s virtual platform. The platform allows for viewers to stream their selected films on Roku, AppleTV or their computer or mobile device. Three films will be shown in drive-in form at Red Rocks.

“It’s a tough situation, because we’d much rather have these films presented to people in the theater. But we’re doing the best we can, just like so many other festivals,” said Matthew Campbell, artistic director with Denver Film. “But the power of film is that people still want good, quality films in their lives. And we’ve got a line-up with films that anyone can enjoy.”

As always, the 180 films to select from at the festival come from all over the world – some with familiar themes, like Women + Film and the Sheila K. O’Brien Spotlight on UK/Ireland Cinema, while others are new. Thanks to a partnership with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, this year there will be selections from the Colorado Dragon Film Festival available, and there’s a new spotlight on social justice.

“We’ve always endeavored to bring audiences films that raise issues around social justice, so this isn’t a shift in the way we program – we’re reframing the conversation,” Erickson explained. “One of the timeliest films we have is `MLK/FBI,’ and there couldn’t be a better time to bring this film to audiences. Because we can all learn from the past.”


While this won’t be the familiar festival experience for many long-time attendees, there’s the hope that allowing viewers to do all their watching at home will bring in new audiences that have never participated before.

“We’re widening the net a little bit, and getting exposure to people who might be interested, but maybe never engaged before,” Campbell said. “We have the challenging films people are used to, and we also have a lot of very audience-friendly options.”

For the full lineup and tickets, visit

Clarke Reader will be covering the film festival on his Twitter and Instagram. Follow along with his coverage there.


A classic horror story on a classic medium

During this pandemic, many families have been using the screens the way people used to gather around the radio, so it’s fitting the Arvada Center is bringing a dash of the past back with its radio play of the masterpiece, “Dracula.”

Created by former Black Box Repertory Company member Zachary Andrews, this one-man radio adaption is available through Nov. 1; after you purchase a ticket you can access a Vimeo link of the play, and it can be streamed as many times as you want through the 1st.

For a taste of old-fashioned horror, visit


Clarke’s Concert of the Week – Teenage Cancer Trust Unseen series

Over the last 20 years or so the Teenage Cancer Trust has had all manner of legendary rock groups perform to benefit their work – running from immortals like Paul McCartney and The Who (featuring patron Roger Daltrey) to Noel Gallagher and Them Crooked Vultures. And now in support of the charity it has launched The Unseen series on YouTube, where through Monday, Oct. 19, unseen performances by some of these legends will be shown.


Visit to donate and see the full lineup of performers.


Streaming style – 70 Years with the Peanuts Gang

This October marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of the first strip to feature Charlie Brown and the rest of his friends, so why not pay respects to one of great creative projects?

From 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, mark 70 Years with the Peanuts Gang with a live-streamed event with Simon Beecroft, author of the new “The Peanuts Book: A Visual History of the Iconic Strip,” and representatives from the Schulz Museum and Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. They’ll discuss the history and development of the classic strip and more.

Visit for details.


Clarke Reader’s column on culture apears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at