The Denver Post is reporting that filmmaker George Hickenlooper was found dead this morning in Denver, where he was about to premiere his latest movie Casino Jack starring Kevin Spacey as jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff, at the Starz Denver Film Festival. He was just 47 years old.
George Hickenlooper first made his mark in 1991 with the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse about the problems Francis Ford Coppola experienced while making his war film Apocaylpse Now. Ironically, the director would run into his own problems with his 2006 film Factory Girl starring Sienna Miller as Eddie Sedgwick, but not before making dozens of acclaimed documentaries and dramatic feaures including Mayor of the Sunset Strip and The Man from Elysian Fields.
The director’s cousin John Hickenlooper, mayor of Denver and a Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Colorado, made this statement to The Denver Post:
Shock and sadness do not begin to describe our emotions. We are devastated. George had immense creative talents and cinematic gifts, but he was so much more than that to us and all his family. His passion for life, zeal for people and unquenchable curiosity enriched everyone who had the fortune to know him. We will miss his sense of humor, his warm character and the avid encouragement he gave anyone around him. Our hearts go out to his wife, Suzanne, and his son, Charles.
Denver Film Festival director Britta Erickson has said that this year’s festival will be dedicated to Hickenlooper’s memory and Casino Jack is still scheduled for release on December 17.
You can read a terrific obituary to Hickenlooper at The Denver Post by the paper’s political editor Curtis Hubban.