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The Shepherd, directed by Jonathan Cenzual Burley
The Shepherd

The Denver Film Festival (DFF) revealed its first wave of films through its popular sidebar programming. The Festival will feature a focus on Spanish cinema, sidebars for CinemaQ, CineLatino, Late Night Showcase, Women+Film, Culinary Cinema and Colorado Spotlight.

Focus On National Cinema: Spain

This year, DFF will be focusing its international spotlight on the country of Spain. “I’ve been wanting to include Spain as our Focus for a long time,” said Denver Film Society Artistic Director, Brit Withey. “For more than 20 years we’ve been calling attention to one specific country out of the 40-plus that make up each festival program. Spain has been a bridesmaid in this process for many, many years and we’re thrilled to finally give her the spotlight. The films in this section are diverse in tone and substance, varying from deeply serious to dead sexy.”

First announced film in the Focus On National Cinema: Spain:
The Shepherd, directed by Jonathan Cenzual Burley
In this timely story of one man’s struggle to preserve his traditions in a rapidly changing world, Anslemo’s quiet life on the Spanish plains is turned upside down when he’s confronted by developers who will go to any lengths to take over his land.


DFS focuses year-round on queer voices, queer visions and queer lives through the CinemaQ programming and Festival. This year’s CinemaQ sidebar of DFF39 will highlight the best in films that reveal the LGBTQ rainbow from every angle, including documentaries and narratives.

First announced film in the CinemaQ sidebar:
Growing Up Coy, directed by Eric Juhola
Meet the Mathises, a Colorado family whose four-year-old self-identifies as a girl, though born a boy. When Coy is forced to use the boys’ bathroom at school, they’re spurred to take legal action. This documentary follows their struggle all the way to the Supreme Court.


As a nod to the popularity of one our newest mini-festivals, the DFF39 programming team assembles some of the year’s most anticipated films from Mexico, Central and South America to celebrate the diversity of Latino culture through cinema.

First announced film in the CineLatino sidebar:
Warehoused, directed by Jack Zagha Kababie
Before Mr. Lino retires from his warehouse job of 39 years, he must train young Nin on the finer points of the position. But the yawning generation gap between them appears at every turn of this an absurdist Mexican dramedy.

Late Night Showcase:

Experience the dark side of cinema, from horror to oddball sci-fi, the Late Night Showcase is for the brave night-owl looking for outlier fare. Midnight cult flicks mixed with arthouse shockers offer a trip to the bizarre.

First announced film in the Late Night Showcase:
We Are The Flesh, directed by Emiliano Rocha Minter
In this post-apocalyptic arthouse shocker from Mexico, a brother and sister meet a depraved derelict who offers them shelter—at a twisted price. Their lives will never be the same as all taboos are broken.


Women+Film is a year-round partnership between DFS and the Women+Film organization, formed not only to celebrate the art and accomplishments of women filmmakers around the world, but also to bring together audiences and community leaders to shine a spotlight on social issues through cinema.

First announced film in the Women+Film sidebar:
Jackson, directed by Maisie Crow
Based in Jackson, Mississippi, this gripping documentary delves into the conflict between religious freedom and reproductive rights in the Deep South. As the last-standing abortion clinic in the state is threatened with closure, prominent leaders of the pro-life and pro-choice movements come to a head.

Culinary Cinema:

In partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association and Southern Wine & Spirits, Culinary Cinema brings the best food focused films to DFF39. Screenings are combined with an event featuring food and drink from a restaurant or caterer who attempts to pair their reception to the themes of the film.

First announced film in the Culinary Cinema sidebar:
Bugs, directed by Andreas Johnson
Equal parts culinary documentary, political conversation starter and travelogue, filmmaker Andreas Johnsen’s absorbing documentary sets out to unearth the role bugs will play in the future of agriculture and to break down the cultural barriers to keeping insects off our plates.

Colorado Spotlight:

DFS offers a robust series of programming to support and highlight filmmaking in Colorado. DFF39 will showcase a number of films made in Colorado, and will culminate with the TRUE GRIT Award, which will be given to one Colorado produced film.

First announced film in the Colorado Spotlight:
Actor Martinez, directed by Mike Ott & Nathan Silver
True story: regular Festival guests Nathan Silver and Mike Ott met volunteer Arthur Martinez two years ago in the Filmmaker Lounge. Over drinks, they decided to make a film together. The result is a startling, genre-bending investigation into the creative process and the motives behind it.

DFF39 will present more than 200 titles among local, national and international independent films, industry panels, workshops, achievement awards and tributes.

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