Neil Truglio was the main reason I was at the Denver Film Festival at all. He served as the press contact for the entire festival, and, in an effort to expand the reach of the Fest and tell the stories of the participating filmmakers in a new way, reached out to Denver podcasts to participate. The result was five shows I’m immensely proud of, and it was because Neil understood my show, set me up with an amazing lineup of guests and gave me the space to have any conversation I wanted to have with them. If you haven’t heard me talk to the likes of Zoe Bell or Joey Skaggs or Ian Cooke, click this link and check out all my episodes from #DFF38.
This episode has two main parts. The first is Neil talking me through what an insane whirlwind of 20-hour days the Denver Film Festival is, the scope of work he undertakes all geared toward 12 days a year, his experience putting the shoe on the other foot when his film We Are the Sea debuted at festivals, and how he came to be involved with Denver’s premier film festival.
The second is focused on Neil’s theater company Modest Arts. And as someone who counts doing high school theater as integral to who I am and who I became, this chat was completely invigorating. Modest Arts is a college preparatory program for creative young artists who desire to take their talents to the next level. And what Neil understands better than anyone I’ve ever talked to who cares about theater and art and live performance is that the theater is not in trouble, it’s always evolving.
The back half of our discussion centers around this notion and directly informs the productions Neil and Modest Arts create. How do you engage younger audiences? How do we change the perceptions of what theater is and can be? And if we’re changing what theater is “supposed to be,” do traditional productions like Death of a Salesman or Oedipus Rex still have a place? The answer is yes, and the answers to the other questions are fascinating.