The Denver Film Society, a hidden Denver gem


Posted Thu, Feb 20, 2014

Sie FilmCenter's Chic Entry photo by Mia Szabo

Sie FilmCenter’s Chic Entry [Photo by Mia Szabo]

DENVER— A night at Sie FilmCenter is an experience to be talked about. Nestled between the Tattered Cover Book Store and Udi’s Pizza Cafe Bar, the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Ave., is tucked a few feet back from the sidewalk. Upon walking in, Sie FilmCenter bears little resemblance to the average movie theater. Instead, the moment one enters they are hit with a cool and sleek room that might be a cafe if it wasn’t for the concessions stand for popcorn and soda to the right. On the left there is a spacious seating area and bar where a mixture of confidant twenty-somethings and middle-aged couples confer over beers and wines.

Sie FilmCenter is Denver’s independent films venue owned and operated by the Denver Film Society. DFS has been the movers and shakers of Colorado’s film culture for decades. They have put together all of Denver’s major film festivals including Denver’s Annual Starz Film Festival in  November. The festival in 2013 showed over 250 films and had around 60 thousand guests over 12 days. They also are responsible for Film on the Rocks, where the Red Rocks Amphitheater is turned into a giant movie theater during the summer.

Who is the Denver Film Society?

The Denver Film Society’s mission statement is,”To develop opportunities for diverse audiences to discover film through creative thought-provoking experiences.”

The DFS began in 1978 to promote film as art and “a civic forum” as their website said. DFS’s mission is to build community through film, not a multiplex and to bring new films to Colorado while bringing in people into a new community. DFS describes themselves as “…developing a program that includes year-round screenings, community outreach projects and renowned special events.” In addition to that, they are a nonprofit organization and the DFS is able to boast that it is “the only nonprofit organization in Colorado dedicated to engaging both its members and the general public in a lifelong, life-altering relationship with and understanding of film and film culture.” The best part about them being a nonprofit? They don’t have advertisements before the movies.

A bar to enjoy a beer or wine before or after a film, photo by Mia Szabo

A bar to enjoy a beer or wine before or after a film. [Photo by Mia Szabo]

Auraria and the Denver Film Society 

Just four years ago there was no Sie FilmCenter, instead there was the Starz Film Center located on the Auraria campus. Then the DFS was able to work with students and was a “great cultural assert for the campus,” said Tom Botelho, the executive director of the Denver Film Society. In 2002 DFS moved into the Tivoli for a ten year lease for $3 million, or $25 thousand a month where they showed independent movies for students and others. In 2010 a little before when the lease was up, they moved into their current building and Auraria students lost the connivence to go see foreign and indie films at the drop of the hat.

How to get involved

Even though DFS doesn’t have a theater on campus anymore, they still work with students all the time. There is a student membership of $25 that pays for one movie ticket and popcorn along with other discounts. Plus, whenever there is a festival, there are great volunteer opportunities.

To learn more about the Denver Film Society visit their website at

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About Mia Szabo

Mia Szabo is a Denver-Area Freelance Writer

View all posts by Mia Szabo

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