ASPEN " Aspen Film has announced the prize winners from its 17th annual Aspen Shortsfest, which was held April 2-6 with events in Aspen and Carbondale. Fifty-three films, from some 30 countries, were screened in Shortsfest's International Competition, and more than 50 filmmakers and industry professionals attended the festival.
The Audience Favorite Award was shared by "Come Back to Sudan," about a young man returning to his native Sudan after several decades; and "One Bridge to the Next," which focused on solutions to the homelessness problem in Pittsburgh.
Best Comedy went to the Australian black comedy "Spider," directed by Nash Edgerton, with Romanian director Adrian Sitaru taking Best Drama for "Waves." Best Documentary was shared by two U.K. productions: Nancy Willis' "Elegy for the Elswick Envoy," about a woman's desire to find a final resting place for her car; and Pinny Grylis' "Peter and Ben," about an offbeat pair of friends.
Best Short Short went to British director Matthew Walker's four-minute, animated romance, "John and Karen." The Ellen Award, named for Aspen Film founder Ellen Hunt, was given to Romanian director Gabriel Sirbu, for the drama "Life's Hard."
Special Jury Recognition honors were given to the Norwegian film "Brackish Water," the Icelandic short "Rattlesnakes," the Spanish film "Salvador," and "It's My Turn," a Turkish/German production. The Ellen Jury Special Recognition award went to the Irish film "The Wednesdays."
Other award winners included "Lavatory Lovestory" (Animated Eye); "On the Line" (Best Student Film); "Waves" (Best Cinematography); "Spider" (Hard C High-Five to Lo-Fi); "Sikumi (On the Ice)" (Bafta/Los Angeles Award for Excellence); "Aquarium" and "Waves" (Bafta/Los Angeles Certificate of Excellence); and "Cherries" (Youth Jury Prize).