Celluloid heroes 

Film enthusiasts bring format-busters to our blockbuster world

Since you know how to use Fandango and navigate your way to a stadium seat at the multiplex or to Kimball's Peak Three (kimballspeakthree.com) for the latest indie release, let's skip the obvious and talk about non-neon film offerings locally.

In this realm, our major player is the Independent Film Society of Colorado (ifsoc.org), which works in conjunction with Rocky Mountain PBS and its Independent Lens Community Cinema series to bring free, monthly screenings of thoughtful documentaries to Colorado College. Filmmakers sometimes attend, but discussions and Q&As are scheduled regardless. IFSOC also premieres excellent indie films before they're released on DVD; seats to those screenings are $4 ($2 for students).

The nonprofit is also behind the Indie Spirit Film Festival (indiespiritfilmfestival.org). Now in its fourth year, it's moved from downtown venues onto the CC campus to screen some 100 films between April 14 and 17. Individual tickets are $10, with three-day passes running $75 and VIP passes (with perks) $100. Also look for IFSOC's free quarterly Colorado Short Circuit Film Series at the historic Lon Chaney Theater downtown.

Elsewhere on the festival front, we're home to a handful of others, including North America's longest continuously running women's film festival: The Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival (rmwfilmfest.org). Scheduled for Nov. 4 through 6 at CC and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the 23-year-old event (check closer to the date for pricing) hosts documentaries, feature films and shorts. The group also hosts movie nights throughout the year and maintains a video library at its downtown office, where the public can borrow past films for free.

Now in its sixth year, the Springs' version of the Windrider Film Forum (windridercolorado.com) is set for June 9 through 11 at CC. Organized locally by the Fuller Theological Seminary, this international effort features full-lengths and shorts aimed at inspiring compassion and social change. Tickets are $10 per film ($5 for students), and this year's event kicks off with a screening of the PBS documentary Freedom Riders, in honor of the 50th anniversary of that part of the civil rights movement. Original freedom riders will attend and speak.

The 12th annual Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival (pplff.org) runs Sept. 23 to 25 on CC's campus, with individual tickets running $10 and full passes $75. Organizers pull their favorite short and feature films from each year's San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. Much how the Rocky Mountain Women's programming appeals to men, Lavender's movies — from comedies and dramas to documentaries — please wider audiences.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is home to the free biennial Intersections Film Festival (uccs.edu/~iff) from Oct. 14 through 16, which focuses on women in the Arab Middle East and North Africa, and issues they confront. Two films will screen at the FAC; the rest will be at UCCS.

Some festivals not based here do pass through annually. Snow junkies can count on the Warren Miller Film Tour (skinet.com/warrenmiller) to stop sometime each autumn at the Pikes Peak Center. Also in the fall, the Reel Rock Film Tour (reelrocktour.com) swings through CC with hardcore climbing scenes filmed all over the world. (Boulder-based CC alums Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen and Rob Frost of Sender Films give Reel Rock a local connection.) And in spring, the Banff Mountain Film Festival (banffcentre.ca) brings a batch of international outdoor films featuring extreme mountain culture and sports.

Non-new-release films don't just show up at Picture Show (pictureshowent.com), our $1.50 theater; you'll find various screenings throughout town during the year at churches, schools and other community gathering points. Shuga's (shugas.com) offers a Cinemaholics night at 9 on Tuesdays, with some cult classics, drink specials and free popcorn. Manitou Springs Public Library (manitousprings.colibraries.org) and Pikes Peak Library District (ppld.org) regularly show free films, across genres and for all ages. PPLD ties some screenings into its "Read It Before You See It" series, and the library's theme for 2011 is "Lights, Camera, Action — The Spotlight's On You." As such, look for a monthly film contest, starting in April, called "Colorado Cinema Spotlight," which feeds a half-hour show on PPLD TV.

The best place to locate up-to-date local info on all things film is in our weekly print listings or at csindy.com, inside our searchable database of movie times and area listings.

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