DENVER
09/22/2010 03:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The 11th Annual Moondance Film Festival Returns To Boulder

Tragedies often serve as the most effective catalysts for meaningful social discussion. Such was the case in 1999, when--after the massacre at Columbine High School--longtime Boulder resident Elizabeth English wanted to create an outlet for storytelling that would enable people to share their perspectives in a fresh and non-violent way. She wanted to empower underrepresented stories and ended up creating the Moondance Film Festival to celebrate them with an audience.

"I realized that film could make a big difference in people's lives while I was working as a technical advisor on the set of 'Dances with Wolves.' That's what I wanted for Moondance," English said. "To make a damn difference in the world and make the audience a part of that."

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WATCH TRAILERS FROM SOME OF THE MOONDANCE FESTIVAL'S FEATURED FILMS:

Thus, English set out to make Moondance a user-friendly festival. "It's like walking through my door, you won't just walk around with a nametag and have everyone ignore you. No one is VIP at my festival, I'm not even VIP," English said.

The festival offers a unique opportunity for writers, composors, and filmmakers to participate in a workshop with professionals and receive a consultation.

English says she called the festival "Moondance" as a complimentary contrast to the Sundance Film Festival.

"Sundance does great work but I realized, when I started Moondance, that after 22 years of history they didn't have any women who had won. So in the first year, Moondance was only open to women. After that I opened it up to men as well and I am really glad I did. I wanted my film festival to be about equality," English said.

Actress Jodi Foster has been a past sponsor of the festival, along with the Writer's Guild of America in the west, Celestial Seasonings, Oprah's "O" Magazine, and several others.

Click here for ticket information

What: The 11th Annual Moondance Film Festival

When: Friday September 24-Sunday September 26 10a.m. to 10p.m.

Where: Mostly at the Hotel Boulderado at 2115 Thirteenth Street, Boulder
(see Web site for additional off-site events)

Cost: $6.75- $11.75 each
Click here (ticket prices vary)