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Upcoming film courses you can't afford to miss

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It's a new year with new goals for all. Whether your plan is to build fresh knowledge and skills, or simply attend some insightful events, the Denver Film Society has a number of programs to tickle the fancy of filmmakers and film buffs alike.

Starting next week, acclaimed writer Terry Dodd leads a unique screenwriting workshop series. The program consists of eight classes, at the end of which participants' scripts will be performed at the Sie FilmCenter. Dodd, who was featured on Westword's 100 Colorado Creatives last October, has been a director and playwright for over three decades. A well-known name in the local performing arts community, Dodd's work has appeared at venues such as the Arvada Center and the Aurora Fox. He has received many awards and recognition for his crafted projects, and takes pleasure out of teaching others about the written word.

Over the years, Dodd has also taken interest in screenwriting. A number of his scripts are under contract—one was even sold to 20th Century Fox producers Laura Ziskin (Dinner With Friends) and Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan, A Simple Plan). Dodd's screenplay, Close To Heaven, won the 2002 Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship.

The two-hour screenwriting sessions will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting 7 January, between 11am and 1pm. Total cost for DFS members is $175, and $200 for non-members. Sign up on the DFS website today.

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Later this month, an analytical series will be led by Howie Movshovitz. Consisting of four classes, the program will discuss the Four Major Elements of Cinema: melodrama, genre, sound, and colour. Though titled “Film 102,” the program contains no prerequisite aside from an interest in sharpening and deepening the cinematic experience.

January 20th, Melodrama: Discussions will revolve around the concept popular among most American (though also including many non-American) films. Melodrama is misunderstood as exaggerated sentimentality. However, in truth, it's an exploration of race, society, culture, and the experiences of men and women. Clips from James Cameron's Avatar will be used in the discussion, as well as the feature Stella Dallas.

January 27th, Genre: The defining atmosphere and expected cinematic elements of a film fall under the category of genre. People are familiar with comedies, dramas, westerns, action, sci-fi, etc. While each genre has its own set of rules by which to govern, a filmmaker's ability to use or abuse those rules are what make film experiences lousy or successful. Clips from Shane will be highlighted in addition to Hitchcock's feature Notorious.

February 3rd, Sound: Film began as silent sequences of moving photographs. Evolution came when technology allowed for the inclusion of sound. Obstacles and debates initially occurred around cinematic sound. At its inception, it was believed to add too much realism to an otherwise poetic medium. However, dialogue has opened a deeper level for understand and analysing film, allowing for complex characters and emotions. Orson Welles' Citizen Kane clips and feature film Nashville will be shown at this segment of the program.

February 10th, Colour: As with sound, the addition of colour brought a cinematic revolution. The use and manipulation of colour in film can add certain mysterious aspects to the visual medium. Clips and features include Swing Time and Ju Dou.

Each class will be held between 6:30 and 9p at the Sie FilmCenter on the dates coinciding with the topics of discussion. Tickets can be purchased at the DFS website at $125 for members, $150 for non.

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