Stars and Cars: Week One

40th Denver Film Festival via the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium

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For the past four years, I've had the privilege of covering the annual Denver Film Festival, presented by the Denver Film Society. As a film fan, it's an amazing opportunity. As a resident of Colorado Springs, though, not Denver, the 140-mile round trip to attend screenings, panels, red carpets and more has slightly dampened my enthusiasm for the honor each time festival time rolls around.

This year Toyota came to my rescue, providing not just one vehicle for zipping up and down I-25 for the festival, but two. For week one of the 40th Denver Film Festival, Toyota delivered to my door a 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium plug-in hybrid, which turned the trips to and from Denver into festive occasions pert near as fun and entertaining as the event I covered.

I was surprised by how attractive and well-appointed the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium is. How comfy and flat-out cool it is, too.

And, sheesh, it's the most economical vehicle I have ever driven, getting 133 miles per gallon in the Electric + Gasoline mode (54 mpg gasoline only) with the Hybrid Synergy Drive System 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine. The nifty energy monitor on the 4.2-inch color dash display of the Prius makes it simple to keep tabs energy use (gas or electric) as driving.

Denver traffic is about 100 percent more insane than Colorado Springs traffic, but the Prius eliminated much of my behind-the-wheel stress with its easy handling, brake- and steering-assist features, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure alert and extensive airbag coverage that eased my mind... just in case.

Plus, the navigation system (11.8-inch HD multimedia display) kept me moving in the right direction, the 10-speaker stereo system kept me tapping tunes on the wheel all the way.

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 STORY OF A GIRL, Kyra Sedgwick's feature directorial debut.

STORY OF A GIRL, Kyra Sedgwick's feature directorial debut.

There was a Red Carpet event for SUBMISSION, in which she plays the wife of a respected novelist and professor (Stanley Tucci) struggling with writer's block and a seductive student; a screening of her current television drama, Ten Days in the Valley; and the screening of her feature directorial debut, STORY OF A GIRL (my review here), which she attended and discussed afterward.

Some highlights of her post-screening discussion:

Kyra Sedgwick discusses directing her first feature film, Story of a Girl, at the 40th Denver Film Festival.
Kyra Sedgwick discusses directing her husband, Kevin Bacon, in her first feature film, Story of a Girl. A panel at the 40th Denver Film Festival.
Kyra Sedgwick discusses how her first feature film, Story of a Girl became a family affair in a panel at the 40th Denver Film Festival. In addition to her husband, Kevin Bacon, starring, their daughter Sosie Bacon had a starring role and their son Travis Bacon worked on the score.

Before leaving Denver after Kyra Sedgwick's panel, my husband and I decided to take the Prius for a spin to the upper level of the parking structure to see what we could of Denver. The surprisingly sporty hybrid maneuvered the cramped space with ease — and proved a perfect model at the top.

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Screening new films and test-driving swank new vehicles is just one part of what I do. Engaging in grandma duties is another, including bi-weekly after-school care for my local grandson, James.

I'm pretty sure the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium boosted my grandma cred with James, the first day I picked him up after school in the stylish ride. I'm positive my demonstration of plugging in the hybrid for charging when we got home made me — okay, the car — even cooler in his eyes.

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My 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium in Titanium Glow has an MSRP of $36,305 (includes optional equipment). Visit Toyota.com for more information on the impressive and efficient plug-in hybrid.

Visit Denver Film Festival for more information on the award-winning annual event.

And be sure to stay tuned for Stars and Cars: Week Two for highlights of the movies and mode of Toyota transportation that made up my second week of the Denver Film Festival.

Disclosure: I received limited access media pass for film festival events. Toyota provided the test drive vehicle free for review. All opinions are my own.