100 Colorado Creatives: Brit Withey
#35: Brit Withey
Brit Withey and director Drake Doremus, following the premiere of Like Crazy at SDFF34.
As artistic director of the Denver Film Society, Brit Withey is the man behind the curtain pulling all levers when it comes to bringing innovative, rare and artful film to the Sie FilmCenter for special screenings throughout the year. But at the annual Starz Denver Film Festival, which opens November 6 for a run through November 17 (visit the website for a complete schedule and ticket information), he also gives a face to the DFS as he meets the public and all of the fest's filmmakers and movie glitterati. On the eve of SDFF's opening night, we asked Withey to share his thoughts on the cinema and the local arts scene; Withey's 100CC questionnaire follows.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Anyone in history is so daunting that I kept it contemporary: Erroll Morris. He's probably my favorite filmmaker. I just love the topics and people he decides to makes his films about, the manner in which he films them, the music, the use of archival imagery. Each film of his is a wonderfully unfolding detective drama.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
For the past few years I've been more and more intrigued by a certain type of documentary filmmaking -- Personal Cinema, for lack of a better term -- such as Gustav Deutsch, who is an Austrian archivist and whose films border on the experimental, but are more accessible than that word implies, and a Spanish filmmaker in this year's festival, Oskar Alegria. Their films are so lyrical, so transcendent, and both pack so much into them that you want to watch them over and over and over and it truly gets better with each viewing. Really amazing work.
What's your day job?
As artistic director of the Denver Film Society, I get to collaborate on all the special events (DocNight, W+F screenings), mini-festivals (J'adore, Women+Film Voices, Cinema Q, Animation), and spend a lot of my time in the programmatic trenches of the Starz Denver Film Festival.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I'd love to put together a film festival just once where there were no financial considerations whatsoever. One where I could bring in any film I wanted, any guest I wanted, use as many venues as I wanted. Include a 35mm retrospective of ten Werner Herzog films, introduced by Werner Herzog. Fund a new 'Five Obstructions' project with Terrence Malick and Ramin Bahrani that has its start during the festival. Have the director of every film present to discuss their work. And bigger parties.
Continue reading for more from Brit Withey.