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Denver Film Festival will open with Knives Out and present Rian Johnson with the John Cassavetes Award

42nd Denver Film Festival :: October 30–November 10, 2019


The 42nd Denver Film Festival will present filmmaker Rian Johnson with the John Cassavetes Award after Opening Night screening of new film Knives Out.

Oct. 15, 2019 (DENVER) — The 42nd Denver Film Festival announced today that it will open Oct. 31 with Rian Johnson’s latest film, the crowd-pleasing whodunit, Knives Out with Johnson receiving the 2019 John Cassavetes Award following the screening. It will be the second time the Denver Film Festival will open with a title written and directed by Johnson (DFF31 Brother’s Bloom), the first filmmaker to accomplish this feat in the 42-year history of the Festival.

"Rian Johnson is one of the most important voices in the new Hollywood era and one we've been celebrating for his entire career,” said Festival Director, Britta Erickson. “Long before Star Wars: The Last Jedi screened to sold out audiences at Film On the Rocks, the Denver Film Festival screened Rian's first film, Brick, to rave reviews. We are honored to bring Rian back to the Festival and present him with this year's John Cassavetes Award. He is an artist who is changing the landscape of cinema across the globe and that is reflected in the stellar cast he assembled for Knives Out."

In Knives Out, when famed crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead, debonair detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) must untangle the web of red herrings and lies spun by Harlan’s dysfunctional inner circle to get to the truth in this delightful whodunit. The film also stars Toni Collette, Michael Shannon and Chris Evans.

The prestigious John Cassavetes Award was established in collaboration with Gena Rowlands in 1989. It is presented annually to a film artist who has made a significant contribution to the world of filmmaking and whose work reflects the spirit of the late John Cassavetes - his unique vision, maverick sensibility, unwavering integrity and tenacious ability to survive as an artist against difficult odds. Past recipients include Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch, John Sayles, Alan Rudolph, Robert M. Young, Seymour Cassell, Hal Hartley, Charles Burnett, Errol Morris, D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Barbara Kopple, Sean Penn, Richard Linklater, Nick Nolte, William H. Macy, Kevin Bacon, Philip Baker Hall, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, JK Simmons, Elliott Gould, Judy Greer, Vince Vaughn, Harry Dean Stanton, John Turturro and Kyra Sedgwick.



The Festival will open with a tribute to former Artistic Director, Brit Withey, a highly-respected film industry leader who worked for Denver Film for more than two decades. He will be honored with an evening tribute on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at the Sie FilmCenter.

The Opening Night celebration will commence on Thursday, Oct. 31 with a Red Carpet screening at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House followed by the Opening Night Party at the historic McNichols Building in Civic Center Park.

The full 12-day Festival program will be announced Thursday, Oct. 10. Individual tickets go on sale to Denver Film members Friday, Oct. 11 and to the general public Monday, Oct. 14. High-level members will be able to purchase their tickets in advance of the general membership and public on-sale dates. Tickets will be available for purchase online at or the DFF42 main box office location at the Sie FilmCenter (2510 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80206).

The year-round home of Denver Film, the Sie FilmCenter, will serve as the anchor venue for the Festival. Screenings will also be presented at the UA Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall, and Red Carpet Presentations will screen at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Festival Annex, located inside the historic McNichols Building at Civic Center Park, will play host to panel discussions, virtual reality, interactive and immersive experiences, High School Day, community engagement, and a Festival Lounge for the public.

Press accreditation is currently open and closes Friday, Oct. 11. Complete details on how to apply are currently available at:

Festival Ticket Packages are currently on sale. The following packages offer the best discounted prices to attend the Festival. Packages increase in price after Tuesday, Oct. 8.

Six Pack: $66 Member, $90 Non-Member - Valid for regular-priced screenings, not valid for special presentations.

Fifteen Pack:  $150 Member, $210 Non-Member – Valid for regular-priced screenings, not valid for special presentations.

Red Carpet Pack: $75 ($25 per ticket) Member, $90 ($30 per ticket) Non-Member - Three Red Carpet film experiences at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, including Opening Night - Oct. 31, Centerpiece - Nov. 1; and Closing Night - Nov. 9. These tickets are for the Red Carpet films only and do not include any Festival receptions or parties that precede or follow the screening.

Enjoy DFF42 in a whole new way by becoming a Member. Memberships begin at just $65 and allow you to purchase DFF42 tickets at a member discount. For more information on membership please visit:

To experience DFF42 as an insider, join the Leadership Circle for exclusive Festival access. Please visit: for a breakdown of levels and benefits. In addition, please contact Suzanne Yuzer at or 720-709-7735 to purchase a Leadership Circle Membership. 


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