Lights, Camera, Action! Spotlight on Boulder International Film Festival

Oscar-nominated actor James Franco and Oscar-winning producer/director and screenwriter Oliver Stone will be among Hollywood’s marquee names at the seventh annual Boulder International Film Festival Feb. 17-20, named “one of the coolest film festivals in the world” by MovieMaker magazine.

More than 50 films from 25 countries will be featured at the festival, along with music, food, workshops and discussion panels.

The Colorado Film Society, a nonprofit organization founded by Colorado filmmakers Kathy and Robin Beeck, presents the Boulder Film Festival every year to give the Denver/Boulder area a look at what’s new and happening on the international cinema stage.

Franco, who stars in director Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” plays Aron Ralston, the Colorado mountain climber who was forced to amputate his right arm below the elbow when he became stuck under a boulder in a Utah canyon in 2003. The Boulder Film Festival will feature “A Conversation with James Franco” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19, including an audience Q&A.

Stone, known for “Platoon,” “Wall Street” and “Midnight Express,” among other films, will be honored with a “Master of Cinema Award” on the film festival’s closing night Feb. 20 at the Boulder Theater. The Stone tribute will include a retrospective of his works and also a Q&A session.

The festival begins at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 with an opening night red carpet gala – ‘70s themed to match the first film, “Troubadours,” about The Troubadour Club in Los Angeles, where several singers and songwriters launched their careers.

The event continues through the weekend, with parties scattered throughout Boulder’s restaurant scene. Workshops cover topics such as making your own short film and the basics of movie animation. Plus, pre-show music and entertainment will set the mood for the culture and content of certain films.

Programs include global awareness documentaries like “Mother: Caring Our Way Out of the Population Dilemma” and social films like “The First Grader,” telling the story of an 84-year-old Kenyan man who takes advantage of Kenya’s new free public education. A number of shorts include a range of filming techniques from real-life to animation to puppet actors.

The second annual Digital Media Symposium (DiMe) also will be held Feb. 18 during the festival. The DiMe explores Colorado’s entertainment-based digital media through a collaboration between the Boulder International Film Festival, Colorado’s Creative Industries Division and the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau. The event will include several panels with film, media industry and game design experts discussing media in Colorado. This year’s topics are “Digital Distribution and Monetization” and “The Future of 3D.”

If You Go

Film tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. All-access Festival VIP passes are also available. Go to or call 303-786-7030 to purchase tickets.

For more information on the Boulder International Film Festival and to see the schedule of events, visit

The DiMe will begin at 1 p.m. at the St. Julien Hotel and Spa, with hors d’oeuvres served at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50, and can be purchased at