‘American Mustang’ gallops into the Starz Denver Film Festival

October 28, 2013

The historic mistreatment of wild horses is examined in the film “American Mustang,” which chronicles an emotionally charged journey through a tenuous landscape dotted by ranchers, wild horse advocates, government agencies and the American people.

The film screens at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the SIE FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax, as part of the 36th annual Starz Denver Film Festival. The movie-lovers madness opens Nov. 6 with an 8 p.m. screening of “Labor Day” and runs through Nov. 17.

In her filmmaking debut, “American Mustang” producer Ellie Phipps Price, vintner and animal welfare advocate, brings her passion for protecting wild horses to the big screen.

“American Mustang” is a feature film, shot in eight Western states with wild horses filmed for the first time in 3D. Threaded into the narrative is the story of a girl, a cowboy and an American icon – the wild horse. The film encourages protection of America’s wild horses while being aware of the reality of limited grazing and resources on the open range.

The film is narrated by actress and activist Daryl Hannah. Throughout a 30-year film career, Hannah has starred in more than 40 feature films, and has created numerous iconic roles in successful, critically acclaimed and enduring movies.

Collaborators on “American Mustang” include director Monty Miranda who worked closely with writer and co-producer Henry Ansbacher and executive producer Phipps Price. Phipps Price and Ansbacher co-wrote and developed the characters based on extensive interviews that create a rich palate of voices for the film. The interviews are with people who are on the front lines of the battle over preservation and management of wild horses – a contentious issue that incites strong emotions from every side.

Phipps Price spent her early years in Colorado, studied film at University of California, Berkeley and currently resides in Sonoma, Calif., where she produces Dunstan Wines from the Durell Vineyard. She adopted her first mustang, Dunstan, from the Bureau of Land Management holding facility at Cañon City in 2009.

Recently, Phipps Price established a 2,000-acre wildlife preserve for wild horses in northern California. “I am thrilled to be coming home to Colorado for the launch of ‘American Mustang’ – a film about these amazing and beautiful animals that have captured my heart,” she said.

Director and former Denver dweller Miranda attended the University of Colorado to study film and journalism and currently lives in Los Angeles. His career includes credits for the memorable TV commercials for John Hickenlooper’s mayoral campaign. Miranda’s feature-film directorial debut, “Skills Like This,” won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Colorado-based Ansbacher of Just Media focuses on film projects that have a history of bringing change, social justice and raising awareness about environmental issues. Ansbacher’s film “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short.

More information on the movie at: www.americanmustangthemovie.com.

For screening times and to purchase tickets, go to: http://www.denverfilm.org/festival/film/detail.aspx?id=25922&FID=77.

To learn more about the 36th annual Starz Film Festival and the featured movies, go to http://www.denverfilm.org/festival/index.aspx.

Cowboy Luke pets one of the horses in the fil, 'American Mustang.'

Cowboy Luke pets one of the horses in the film, ‘American Mustang.’ The film, which has many Colorado ties, will screen Nov. 7 at the 36th annual Starz Denver Film Festival. (American Mustang|Just Media photo)


Top spots

I told you on last week that Lakewood was included in the Top 100 Best Places to Live on liveability.com’s inaugural ranking, but that was only part of Colorado’s prized participation. Culinary Colorado’s Claire Walter (thanks, Claire!) pointed out that there’s more to the story.

While Lakewood ranked No. 88 (besting Scottsdale at No. 89), Aurora scored No. 49, and Boulder came in at an impressive No. 2. Topping the lauded list was Palo Alto, Calif., which I’m proud to say is my hometown (think Stanford University, John Elway, Eddie McCaffrey, Andrew Luck, etc.).

“The list was created in partnership with the Martin Prosperity Institute, the world’s leading think tank on the role of location, place and city-regions in global economic prosperity. The list was produced after studying U.S. cities and factors that make them the best places to live, work and play,” according to the Livability.com website.

Factors included in the Top 100 ranking included good schools, hospitals, amenities, affordability and the local economy. Read more at http://livability.com/top-100-best-places-to-live#/palo-alto/ca.

Viva los muertos!

Denver Botanic Gardens continues its annual celebration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican day of remembrance and honor for the departed, with expanded programming this year.

In Mexico, streets near cemeteries are filled with parades, colorful decorations, flowers, candy, skeletons and skulls. It is believed the spirits of the dead visit their families Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. Families make altars with a photo of the deceased, along with offerings of food, candles, incense and yellow marigolds. 

The Gardens will observe the tradition with an all-ages celebration of Latino music, food, art and history on Friday. All events take place at the York Street location. For tickets and more information, go to: http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/d%C3%ADa-de-los-muertos.

Celebrate Dia del Los Muertps at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Denver Botanic Gardens on Friday, Nov. 1. (Photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)


Shanahan shares steaks

The Washington Redskins lost to the Broncos Sunday, but head coach Mike Shanahan’s team will eat like winners on the plane home.

Shanahan told 104.3-FM The Fan on Friday his team will nosh on Shanahan’s Steakhouse fare on the plane ride home after Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. Shanahan also noted he wouldn’t have time to visit his signature steakhouse in south Denver.

And speaking of the Broncos…

Ace Eat Serve at 501 E. 17th Ave. will be the place to catch all the Denver Broncos football action this season where the games will be shown on one of two projection screens.

Happy hour specials for the entire game (menu at www.acedenver.com/menus/happyhour).  And, tap into your own competitive spirit with free Ping-Pong as long as the Broncos are playing.

Tables can be reserved in advance, and for the entire length of the game. Get your reservations now for the next game (Broncos vs. Chargers on Nov. 10 since Sunday is a bye week) at 303-800-7705.  Free Ping-Pong and extended happy hour specials will be available during all Broncos home and away games for the rest of the 2013 – 2014 season.

The seen

The “dolphin trainer” actor in the Colorado Lottery commercial (created by local ad shop Cactus) shopping Thursday at Whole Foods Market on Hampden. He wasn’t spotted in the fresh fish section.

Eavesdropping on a group of golfers at the Eagle’s Nest restaurant at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club: “I wonder if Shanahan took the team to Shanahan’s (Steakhouse) last night?”

“Well, he sure didn’t take them to Elway’s!”

Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” in Colorado Community Media’s 17 weekly newspapers circling Denver? Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.