Aspen Film has announced the program for the 35th annual Aspen Filmfest. The festival, with English-language features, foreign films, documentaries and the Surprise Film, is set for Sept. 24-29, with screenings at the Isis Theater and Paepcke Auditorium.
Heading the English-language feature film category is “Nebraska,” the latest work by Alexander Payne, director of “Sideways” and “The Descendants.” Presented in black and white, “Nebraska” stars Bruce Dern as a cantankerous resident of the American heartland on a road trip with his son. Dern earned a best-actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal.
Additional English-language features to be screened are “One Chance,” a biopic about an opera singer’s meteoric rise after appearing on the TV show “Britain’s Got Talent”; “Short Term 12,” based on the short film of the same name set in a group home for troubled teenagers; “A Birder’s Guide to Everything,” a coming-of-age story involving a group of teenage bird-watchers; and “August: Osage County,” based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play, and featuring a cast of Meryl Streep, Juliette Lewis, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard and Chris Cooper.
The closing night film is “The Fifth Estate,” director Bill Condon’s take on the rise of the politically explosive WikiLeaks website. Filmfest will open with a preview screening of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” starring British actor Idris Elba as the South African freedom fighter.
Topping the list of documentaries is “Thomas Keating: A Rising Tide of Silence,” Peter C. Jones’ portrait o the Trappist monk who heads the St. Benedict’s Monastery in Old Snowmass.
Other documentaries on the program are “Linsanity,” about the unexpected overnight success of Chinese-American NBA player Jeremy Lin; “Muscle Shoals,” about the fabled Alabama recording studio that drew Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rolling Stones; “Spring & Arnaud,” about the Canadian artist couple Spring Hurlbut and Arnaud Maggs; “This Ain’t No Mouse Music!” about the owner of the Arhoolie record label and his quest for authentic music; “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia,” about the opinionated cultural critic; the Los Angeles Film Festival best documentary winner “Code Black,” an examination of America’s health-care system set in the trauma of Los Angeles County Hospital; and “Antarctica: A Year on Ice,” the end product of photographer Anthony Powell’s 15 years on the icy continent.
Foreign films in Filmfest include the Japanese family drama “Like Father, Like Son,” which earned the Jury Prize at Cannes; the twist-filled Japanese comedy “Key of Life”; Brazilian director Bruno Barreto’s “Reaching for the Moon,” about a love affair in 1950s Rio de Janeiro between an American poet and a famed Brazilian architect; the Laotian drama “The Rocket,” which earned three top awards at the Tribeca Film Festival; and “Mother, I Love You,” about a troublemaking boy who stumbles into maturity.
Tickets for Filmfest go on sale to members on Sept. 6, and to the public on Sept. 11, at aspenshowtix.com or at the Wheeler Opera House box office. For detailed information on the program, go to aspenfilm.org.