It’s full-swing for film festival season, following September’s twin pillars of prestige and influence, the Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Fest — the latter continuing through Sunday, Sept. 18.
Here in Colorado, we’re geared toward adventure and nature films, as well as features and shorts that explore Latino and Indigenous and Asian-American Pacific Islander cultures. We like our snowboarding shots, but also our hard-edged docs and glitzy features. So what does fall 2022 hold?
Here’s a quick roundup of this year’s events, all of which would love your butt in one of their seats. The buffet of offerings allows for customization, so don’t be afraid to dive into the schedules. There is, as they say, a little something for everyone.
San Souci Festival of Dance Cinema
One of a handful of dance-focused film fests anywhere, Boulder’s San Souci makes the art form accessible with screenings, meet-and-greets and other activities. It’s more of a series than a discrete festival, with free virtual screenings tied to Hispanic Heritage Month running through Sept. 25, and lots more virtual and in-person events (again, some of them free) taking place in Boulder and online through November. sanssoucifestival.org
Breck Film Festival
With 87 films, six of them world premieres, this year’s Breck Film Festival is going big. The Sept. 1 schedule announcement revealed local titles with considerable momentum, such as Julian Rubinstein’s “The Holly” doc (based on the so-named book), but also the 1980s homage “Drinkwater” (opening night, Sept. 15, along the Riverwalk) and closing-night darling “River.” With free kids’ programming (Sept. 17, including animated and shorts screenings) and girls-in-STEM workshops, it’s also got a wider, more all-ages view than most film events. Sept. 15-18, with virtual screenings running through Sept. 25. breckfilm.org
Crested Butte Film Festival
Leaf-peepers can turn their colorful drive into an overnight or weekend destination with a visit to this fest, with screenings that take on social issues both domestic and international in addition to buzzy narrative features such as “Murina” and “I Love My Dad.” Visiting filmmakers and panels round out events that this year include a program for kids and teens. In-person and virtual, Sept. 21-25. cbfilmfest.org
This year’s Aspen Filmfest will again take over the town’s Wheeler Opera House (pictured) with screenings and filmmaker events, Sept 27-Oct. 2. (Provided by Aspen Film)
Not to be outdone by its Academy Award-qualifying Aspen Shortsfest, the 43rd Aspen Filmfest is returning with a strong, in-person lineup at the Wheeler Opera House, Isis Theatre, Crystal Theater (in Carbondale) and other venues. Keep an eye out for Toronto International Film Fest and Cannes winners such as “Bad Axe” and “Broker,” but also star-driven titles like “Empire of Light” and “The Banshees of Inisherin.” In-person and virtual, Sept. 27-Oct. 2. aspenfilm.org/festival/filmfest-2022
Grand Junction Film Festival
This competitive, submission-based event also turns up a few surprises amid its two-dozen or so screenings. Educational panels and workshops round out the titles — particularly on closing day Oct. 9 at the Avalon Theatre in downtown Grand Junction — help connect viewers with local filmmakers. Oct. 7-9. filmfreeway.com/grandjunctionfilmfestival
Denver Film Festival
As the largest regional film fest, and one that draws celebs and world premieres in addition to local docs and music videos, Denver Film Festival is celebrating its 45th anniversary with a typically robust slate (to be announced Oct. 3) at the Sie FilmCenter, Ellie Caulkins Opera House and other venues. It’s our favorite film week of the year, packed with in-person insight and fun, but we don’t know yet what 2022 holds. Passes are available now, with single tickets on sale in the coming weeks. Virtual and in-person, Nov. 2-13. denverfilm.org
Neustadt’s JAAMM Series
The 15th season of the Neustadt Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music Series (JAAMM) kicked off Sept. 15. But programmers have more in store for the coming months as it outgrows “its footprint as a one-season festival,” they said in a press statement. Film offerings are slight this year, with just a trio of events announced so far, but they’re unsurprisingly poignant and hyper-relevant. In-person at the Elaine Wolf Theatre Nov. 9-10, and virtually Nov. 9-17. Also check out the Denver Jewish Film Festival in March 2023, and see more about JAAMM at bit.ly/3S04h5a.
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Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
This brilliantly curated event at various Colorado College venues in Colorado Springs has evolved into an international celebration of women filmmakers and titles. Its parent nonprofit has programmed more than 20 events this year ranging from free office screenings, outdoor films, award-winning shorts, and exclusive events with filmmakers — a fitting tribute for a tenacious festival that has lifted its torch now for 35 years, and established itself as the oldest women’s film fest in the Western hemisphere, according to organizers. Nov. 11-13. rmwfilm.org/festival
Vail Film Festival
This late-season event has the perk of featuring already-established 2022 festival favorites (even if the programming takes place months prior), and attracting a broader audience as a result. Titles have not yet been announced, but there’s a screenplay competition open now for features, shorts and TV pilots. The schedule for the 19th event, which will feature dozens of films in the high country ski town, will be announced in the coming weeks. Dec. 1-4. vailfilmfestival.com
Note: This article has been updated to remove the Mile High Horror festival, which is not returning to Denver this year.