What can’t television do?
The answer to that question used to be obvious. These days? Not so much. Modern shows can have just as high production value as blockbusters, entice the same A-list talent as Oscar-bait dramas and be just as sophisticated as any auteur-driven production.
All this makes it easy to see why there’s a lot to celebrate in the eighth season of SeriesFest, which returns to in-person events from May 5 through May 11 at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver.
“It’s really, really exciting to be back and have the industry converging in Denver,” said Randi Kleiner, co-founder and CEO of SeriesFest. “This will be our sixth in-person festival and we’ve grown exponentially every year to a more global audience.”
SeriesFest is a non-profit organization dedicated to championing artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling.
SeriesFest’s Season 8 features special events, screenings and panels that bring the best of current television shows as well as the opportunity to get an advanced look at the vanguard of the new generation.
“We have a nice mix of things to watch on screen and other events that provide audiences the chance to see how these works get made,” said Claire Taylor, director of programming. “We’ve seen the industry do a lot of shifting and we’re seeing a demand for social change and a level playing field.”
Some of the highlights from this year’s event include:
Jennifer Loren (director of the Cherokee Nation Film Office & Original Content.), Stacey Rice (casting director), and Sierra Teller Ornelas (co-creator/showrunner of “Rutherford Falls”) discuss modern Native American representation.
One of the highlights of the festival every year, this Red Rocks concert will feature comedian and late-night host Amber Ruffin and a performance by Lake Street Dive.
Directed by Amanda Berg Wilson and written by Misty Brawner, Betsy Leighton, W.A.W. Parker and Rosanne Welch, this live reading features cast members Denzel Whitaker, Tara Westwood and more.
And while these marquee events are exciting, it’s important to remember SeriesFest is a great opportunity to experience up-and-coming talent in events like the Independent Pilot Competition and Collegiate Spotlight.
“The success of shows like `Squid Game’ are opening up people’s mindset and we’re seeing an interesting in content from all over the world,” Kleiner said. “Many of the pilots we’re receiving are much more international and we’ve created a program that reflects that depth of talent.”
No matter what audiences check out, the aim is they come away thrilled and moved by what they saw and what the future holds for the medium.
“I hope people live inspired and excited and have learned something about themselves and the industry, whether they work in it or not,” Taylor said. “We’re all excited for the way this storytelling medium is continuing to grow.”
For a full schedule and ticketing options, visit www.seriesfest.com.
See Rita Moreno in-person
In partnership with the Newman Center, Denver Film and Women+Film, Rita Moreno will be in the Denver area for two events.
She’ll be participating in a conversation and Q&A with Aisha Ahmad-Post, the executive director of the Newman Center, 2344 E. Iliff Ave, at 7:30 p.m. on May 12. And she’ll be at the Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, at 11:45 a.m. on May 13 to receive the Barbara Bridges Inspiration Award. Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, will also be on hand to receive the Impact Award.
Visit https://newmancenter.evenue.net and https://womenplusfilmfestival.eventive.org/ for tickets.
Derby Day comes to Union station
Derby Day at is back at Denver Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St., on May 7.
The free event will be held on the Terminal Bar’s patio and feature live music by the Royal Street Ramblers and drink specials including Mint Juleps and Frosé, according to provided information. Naturally, there will be a live screening of the race inside the Great Hall on big-screen projects. Other restaurants at the station will be doing food specials.
Get the details at https://unionstationindenver.com/event/derby-at-union-station/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Orville Peck at Mission Ballroom
If you knew nothing about South African masked musician Orville Peck, you might think the music he makes is Bjork-esque experimental or even some kind of metal. But the man has one of the best pure country voices the genre has heard in ages. He’s just recently released his long-awaited sophomore album, “Bronco,” and it’s a hum-dinger.
In support of the album, Peck has wrassled up Teddy & The Rough Riders and will be visiting Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on May 8. This will be a great show to get you in the spirit for summer weather ahead. Get tickets at www.missionballroom.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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