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Skills Like This

Skills Like This

Skills Like This – Opening at the Starz FilmCenter – Friday, April 17 thru April 23

Many are happy to see that “Skills Like This” is returning to Denver where it began, not only in inception but in filming, to open it’s official run at the Starz FilmCenter this Friday. An none too soon.

“I’ve been getting tons of interest in the film, emails and calls, agents and managers, stuff like that,” said Monty Miranda, the film’s director, of the film’s buzz in 2007. “But my biggest thing is finding out when we get our distribution.”

It was two years, almost to the date, when the feature film premiered at the 2007 SXSW Film Festival, leaving Austin with the Audience Award in hand. Perseverance has paid off, and “Skills Like This” now has distribution through Shadow Distribution (, which released another award winner, “Sita Sings the Blues.”

Having worked on film production projects through college and the proverbial free music video for a local band, Monty started his own company because it just felt like the logical next step. “So far we’ve built a really nice career doing television commercials. That’s really fine, but it’s always been about making movies for me.”

onty felt like he was getting sidetracked and needed to get back to making his own film. That’s when Donna Dewey, a mentor of his (and an Academy Award winner of the Best Documentary for “A Story of Healing”) came into the picture (no pun intended) again with a project.

Donna was the first person Monty had contacted right out of film school and he had kept in contact with her throughout the years. In the way that projects travel from one to another in the film community, Donna presented him with a script that seemed right up his alley. “I’d been shooting a commercial that day and got home, thinking I’d read a few pages and ended up reading the whole thing. I flipped over it. It was the first script I’d ever read where I laughed out loud.”

Skills Like ThisIt was a script by actor Spencer Berger, who plays the lead character, Max, in the film, a character that realizes that his desire to succeed as a screenplay writer will never come to be. It is the opening scene in the film that we experience Max’s dismay through his eyes as he stands off stage during a horrible, yet funny performance of his play, “The Onion Dance.”

What follows next is a series of non-stop, hilarious events that bring to life the other two characters, his friends Dave, played by Gabriel Tigerman, and Tommy, played by Brian Phelan. Dave is the straight-laced, always nervous, smart-ass who is the angel on Max’s shoulder, while Tommy, with a football player physic and mentality, is the red devil on the other shoulder cheering Max’s shift to robbing banks and anything else that’s not locked down.

I remember watching the premier of “Skills Like This” in Austin at the Alamo, enjoying not only the film itself and the audience’s reaction to it, but seeing familiar spots in Denver playing their bit parts in the movie.

Although the trailer for the film focuses on Max’s discover of crime as an alternative to a career as a writer, the other two main characters also find a bit more of themselves in the process. Tommy’s endearing, naïve and abrasive nature gets him further than he or anyone would expect. Dave finally figures out that playing it safe and buy the rules doesn’t always pay off or bring happiness. And Max, well he discovers…um, let’s leave it at that for now.

Let’s just say that, like “Tropic Thunder,” “Superbad,” and most recently, “I Love You Man,” “Skills Like This” has plenty of funny lines that will not only cause soda to shoot out of your nose mid-drink, but you’ll be exchanging film qutoes between your friends long after the credits run.

Monty, who has since moved to Los Angeles, was in Denver as a judge for the Starz Denver Film Festival at the end of last year. It was then that I learned that the film had secured distribution. The official opening of “Skills Like This” will have a special, local Denver touch, including music performances at Starz from artists featured in their “Skills Like This” soundtrack.

Opening night on Friday, April 17, will present The Wheel prior to the 7:45pm showing, with proceeds going to the Denver Film Society. The $25 ticket price also includes an after party at Sengers (3014 E. Colfax Ave) where the cast and crew will be hanging, just like the one-night Denver showing back in 2007.

There will be Q&As with Skills talent at ALL 7:45pm shows during opening week. At the last showing on Thursday, April 23, Halden Woffard & The Hi-Beams perform prior to the 7:45pm show.

Check out the Denver Opening event page on Facebook where you can RSVP:

Check out for all showtimes.


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