There are many reasons to attend a festival, but most regular attendees will explain that it’s the community of attendees that keeps them returning. This year, the Colorado Dragon Boat Film Festival will be able to offer that again, with the return to the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, from Thursday, March 3 through Sunday, March 6.
“Film and the arts in general are unique because they offer large platforms for people to represent their own experiences, perspectives and ideas,” wrote Ambriehl Turrentine, programming coordinator at Denver Film, in an email interview. “Those who attend the festival will leave having formed a dynamic and fruitful connection with the stories they saw on screen — a connection that fosters creativity, understanding and action.”
The 7th annual festival features more than 10 screenings, two community conversations, and three special events. We spoke with Sara Moore, Colorado Dragon Boat executive director, about the event and what keeps it vital.
Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
Tell me about planning this year’s event?
Our festival is the only all Asian and Asian American film festival in Colorado. This is a unique festival that truly thrives as an in-person event. The goal of our festival is to promote and highlight the amazing contributions and accomplishments coming out of Asia and the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in film. The best way to do that is by bringing people together to share their stories.
Tell me about what you were looking for in films to showcase at this year’s festival?
This year’s theme is “Celebrating our Resilience.” The meaning behind our theme has to do with the last two years of hardships and pain the AAPI community has endured and still to this day has to endure. Throughout the pandemic and the horrible atrocities against the AAPI, we as a community have stood together with strength, compassion and resilience. This festival highlights and celebrates that strength.
Why is that theme important?
I think one of the most unique aspects of our film festival is that we bring people together. Not only do we bring the AAPI community together (under that umbrella there are over 35 different cultures and ethnicities), we bring the general public together as well. We encourage everyone to come to the festival to learn from our films, our filmmakers, our audience members and more. We bring people together to share their stories and learn more about the cultures and traditions that make up Colorado. I truly believe that the best way to fight racism and AAPI hate is to come together, share your stories, and listen. And that is what our festival does.
What do you hope people who attend the festival come away with?
I hope they go away with new stories to tell, new friendships that have been made, a mind full of inspiration and compassion and very full bellies from our delicious culinary partnerships we have throughout the festival.
See the full schedule and purchase tickets at denverfilm.org.
Gang of Youths produce dynamic examination of grief
We’ve all had to become more accustomed to grief over the last two years than any of us could imagined when the pandemic first started. But grief has been a subject of art for as long as people have been able to create. On Feb. 25, Australian indie rockers Gang of Youths are releasing their third album, “angel in realtime.,” which delves into the aftermath of the death of frontman Dave Le’aupepe’s father. The result is an album that is both gutting and joyous, one that celebrates life while acknowledging the challenges presented by loss.
The album — which is available on streaming services and record stores — takes listeners through an entire grief cycle, while admitting that there’s no complete end - just learning to live with memories of life and joy. It couldn’t be more vital or timely.
A celebration and encouragement of bold women
Our country is still struggling with many issues related to gender equality and the History Colorado Center is hosting Bold Women. Change History. Women’s History Symposium to discuss some of the many past achievements and what still lies ahead.
The symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26 at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway in Denver. The event — which includes a catered lunch and refreshments — will include historians, researchers and museum professionals “for a day of learning, discussion, and connection,” according to provided information. Get tickets and information at historycolorado.org/events-experiences.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Jazmine Sullivan at Summit Music Hall
Philadelphia’s Jazmine Sullivan is one of modern R&B’s most incisive and intoxicating voices and much like her peer Frank Ocean, we don’t hear from her nearly enough. Last year she released her first new music collection in six years, “Heaux Tales.” The EP was named album of the year at NPR, Pitchfork, Entertainment Weekly and more.
As part of her tour, she’ll be performing at the Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St. in Denver, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. She’ll be joined by up-and-comer Tiana Major9. Get tickets at livenation.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.