Denver, Colorado: Ultimate Outdoor Flicks Headed For Civic Center Park

Many Denver film fans are anxiously awaiting an entirely new cinematic experience when US OpenAir brings 30 consecutive evenings of movies under the stars to downtown Denver this July.

FILM BUFFS WILL BE TREATED TO A FULL MONTH OF OUTDOOR FILMS IN CIVIC CENTER PARK, JULY 14-AUG. 12. US OpenAir, which has produced similar festivals in locations as diverse as Sydney, Australia, Dubai, and Zurich, Switzerland, will show classic and current-run films to 1,400 patrons nightly ($15-20 admission) on a state-of-the-art, three-story-high screen with sound produced by a 32-speaker surround-sound system. As the city continues to pursue a formal policy on fee-based events in Denver parks, differing opinions remain as to whether the planned film fest is in accordance with, or in violation of, the City Charter. See OpenAir article on pg. 36.

From opening night July 14, through Aug. 12, some 1,400 filmgoers will pay $15 ($20 on show night) each evening to view a broad spectrum of cinematic offerings on an enormous high-tech, high-resolution three-story screen to be set up in Civic Center Park, at Broadway and Colfax.

From their perch in an equally high-tech grandstand seating area, movie buffs will be treated to a roster including current and classic movies as well as preview screenings of new films. Comedies and thrillers, dramas and art-house fare, the line-up is expected to include titles appealing to casual movie-goers and videophiles alike. A different film will be shown each evening.

While this is US OpenAir's first such presentation on American soil, its film festivals have captivated fans in Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates for more than 20 years.

In addition to the unique viewing venue, guests will have the opportunity to purchase a menu of tasty food and beverages provided by a small, but select, group of Denver-based caterers and restaurateurs. The grandstand seating will also include preferred box seating as well as a lounge area for more casual viewing.

As the evening sky approaches dusk, the giant screen will rise dramatically we are promised on hydraulics. A 32- speaker, surround-sound system will be positioned to ensure state-of-the-art audio to keep distractions out and the soundtrack front and center.

US OpenAir Executive Director Rob Bryant said that Denver was chosen as the inaugural location in the United States so the festival would coincide with theВ Biennial of The Americas a month-long cultural celebration of innovation, imagination and the artistic achievement of the Western Hemisphere which will be occurring simultaneously in Denver. The impact of both events will position Denver in the national spotlight again following the success of the Democratic National Convention, said Bryant.

US OpenAir is planning additional stateside film fests this year in San Diego, New York and other locations not yet released.

While a number of film lovers anxiously await the arrival of the outdoor series, the Civic Center extravaganza has not been greeted with open arms by all sides. As Denver continues to hammer out a policy that would formally allow for fee-based events to be held in some city parks, some feel that the contract with US OpenAir violates the city charter. Denver's City Attorney has argued that the extended plan at play in Civic Center is a lease of parkland which is allowed by the City Charter.

The film festival is expected to take up some 11 percent of Civic Center Park, and will require 12 days for set-up and an another 10 days to disassemble, when the 30- day event concludes.

Those who look forward each year to Denver Parks & Recreation's freeВ Movies In The Park series will be glad to hear that the 2010 season will run from June to August, with at least 10 movies on tap. Currently six evenings are planned at Skyline Park, with at least four other nights at parks around the city.

Amy Allen


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