Aspen Film announces Shortsfest program | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Film announces Shortsfest program

Staff report

Aspen Shortsfest, running April 5 to 10 at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House and Carbondale’s Crystal Theatre, will feature a diverse lineup of films from more than 20 countries – among them are 13 world premieres, three North American Premieres, four U.S. premieres and three international premieres.

The nonprofit Aspen Film announced the lineup for the 25th annual festival this week.

Aspen Shortsfest is widely recognized as a premier North American showcase for short comedy, drama, documentary and animation, as well as a destination for discovering breakthrough talent. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell) are among notable alumni whose earliest work — short films — first screened at Aspen Shortsfest. Among the Shortsfest selections to win Academy Awards were this years Best Animated Short Film, “Bear Story,” which played at last year’s festival.

“We could not be prouder of the program for the 25th installment of Aspen Shortsfest,” Aspen Film artistic director Maggie Mackay said in the announcement. “A truly eclectic program, representing so many corners of the world and reminding us, in ways touching, enlightening, harrowing, hilarious and most of all memorable, how we are all connected, this year’s lineup offers a story for everyone,” says Aspen Film Artistic Director Maggie Mackay.

Tickets will go on sale to the public Friday, March 18. All tickets are available through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office and aspenshowtix.com. General admission tickets for regular Shortsfest Programs are $15 each and Aspen Film Members receive a 20% discount on single tickets for $12 each. VIP and Priority Pass options are available to new and current members. For more information on the benefits of a membership with Aspen Film visit aspenfilm.org or call 970-925-6882.

25TH ANNUAL ASPEN SHORTSFEST PROGRAM

Across the Sea

A stolen phone sheds light on the dreams and sorrows of both a new mother and a teenaged boy in this deceptively subtle and beautiful drama. (Kelly Robinson, UK, 11 min.)

*

Bacon & God’s Wrath

At age 90, Razie contemplates her journey of self-discovery upon deciding to try bacon after a lifetime of keeping kosher in this quirky, insightful documentary. (Sol Friedman, Canada, 9 min.)

*

Before the Spring

Cairo, 2011: revolution is in the air, but Tamer—who has a bright future awaiting him and his family in America—wants no part of it. Whether he has a choice is the question compelling this gritty drama. (James Kaelan, USA/Egypt, 12 min.) World Premiere

*

The Black Belt

At once infuriating and hopeful, acclaimed documentarian Margaret Brown’s timely foray into the voter-ID debate introduces the Alabamans at the center of the fray. (Margaret Brown, USA, 11 min.)

*

Brillo Box (3¢ off)

While tracing the 40-year journey of an Andy Warhol original from her family’s living room to the auction block, documentarian Lisanne Skyler delivers a delightful, nostalgia-tinged snapshot of the American middle class, colorfully framed by a crash course in postmodernism. (Lisanne Skyler, USA, 40 min.) World Premiere

*

Charlotte

A teenaged girl experiences the highs and lows of an unexpected crush in this tender and honest take on coming-of-age. (Angel Kristi Williams, USA, 11 min.)

*

Chekhov

Grief and ire shot through with wicked humor: a brief phone call from the director to his sister contains all the elements of the namesake master’s works. (Jack Dunphy, USA, 5 min.)

*

A Coat Made Dark

In this dark animated fable, stolen treasure marks a change in fortune for an evil dog and his exploited manservant—but not in the way they think it will. (Jack O’Shea, Ireland, 10 min.)

*

Dancing for You

Young Vilde’s passion for folk dance, zest for life, and tender affection for her beloved granddad intermingle within the picturesque framework of the Norwegian countryside in this moving documentary. (Erlend E. Mo, Norway, 29 min.) U.S. Premiere

*

Deer Flower

At once unsettling, whimsical, and amusing, this stop-motion, 3D-printed fairy tale follows a young boy who partakes in an ancient rite of passage. (Kangmin Kim, USA/South Korea, 7 min.)

*

Dirt

Stylish and captivating, this stark thriller unfolds less as a whodunit than as a whoitdunto. (Darius Clark Monroe, USA, 7 min.)

*

Edmond

In the hilariously grotesque tradition of Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers, this piece of stop-motion animation takes you on a trip around the world of an unabashed freak. (Nina Gantz, UK, 9 min.)

*

Everything Will Be Okay

The stakes of a weekend reunion couldn’t be higher for a father and his little girl in this taut yet sensitive Oscar-nominated drama. (Patrick Vollrath, Germany/Austria, 30 min.)

*

The Evictor

A low-level gangster meets the most unexpected of adversaries when he breaks into the house of a family he’s supposed to eject in this multilayered, beautifully directed drama. (Bumsue Chun, South Korea, 15 min.) World Premiere

*

First Night Out

A woman takes herself to dinner for the very first time. (Will Mayo, USA, 3 min.)

*

For A Good Time

Desperate for respite in the midst of mourning, Jane calls a number scrawled on a bathroom wall. As this bittersweet comedy shows, she gets what she’s looking for. Sort of. (Aemilia Scott, USA, 20 min.) World Premiere

*

Glove

An astronaut recalls a glove he lost in space in this charming animated meditation on the spirit of human endeavor. (Alexa Lim Haas, Bernardo Britto, USA, 6 min.)

*

God Willing

This portrait of Palestinian artist Mais Rosol AbuSaa doubles as an inspiring examination of the role of women in Islamic society today. (Gayle Embrey, USA, 7 min.) World Premiere

*

Good White People

The struggle for the soul of a historic Cincinnati neighborhood comes to an end as gentrification displaces the longtime black residents featured in this hard-hitting, emotionally resonant documentary. (Jarrod Welling-Cann, Erick Stoll, USA, 16 min.)

*

Hotel der Diktatoren

Welcome to the Hotel Ledger Plaza Bangui. Once owned by a notorious dictator, it’s palatial by the standards of the Central African Republic—particularly the local employees, who show up for work every day in hopes it will one day reopen to guests. Think Waiting for Gaddafi. (Florian Hoffmann, Germany/Central African Republic, 16 min.)

*

Hounds

Teamwork and treachery, devotion and deceit intersect in this surreal and strangely comic tale of bureaucratic breakdown, set in a museum with a pernicious pecking order. (Omer Tobi, Israel, 30 min.) International Premiere

*

House Sitting

Things always look better in the morning—and as the hapless hero of this gentle comedy discovers, sometimes they smell better, too. (Joe Burke, USA, 16 min.) World Premiere

*

I, Destini

Delicately animated in black-and-white, Destini Riley’s affecting account of the impact of the prison-industrial complex on African-American families like her own was actually submitted as evidence in her brother’s trial. (Nicholas Pilarski, Destini Riley, USA, 14 min.) World Premiere

*

Irregulars

Against a tellingly hypnotic factory backdrop, a refugee encapsulates the global immigration crisis in his own wrenching words. (Fabio Palmieri, Italy, 9 min.) North American Premiere

*

Just a Song

When Dennis serenades his girlfriend, things don’t go as hoped—at least not for her. (Gina Hirsch, USA, 5 min.)

*

La Laguna

“I am not Mexican. I am Mayan,” says 12-year-old Yu’uk, and his statement reverberates throughout this luminous, deeply poignant journey into the heart of the rainforest, where his family’s way of life is under siege and the modern world encroaches. (Aaron Schock, Mexico/USA, 38 min.)

*

Melody

If music be the food of love, play on: a romance-minded young man discovers the truth of that famous line. (Jean-Pierre Caner, USA, 11 min.) World Premiere

*

Mining Poems or Odes

The shipyards of Scotland doubled as an institution of higher learning for the welder-turned-poet at the center of this lyrical portrait. (Callum Rice, Scotland/UK, 11 min.)

*

MissMe: The Artful Vandal

From subliminal to subversive: once a hot shot in the advertising world, MissMe has since found her voice and her bliss as a Montreal street artist. (Mohammad Gorjestani, USA, 4 min.)

*

Mondo Cane

Celebrated American photographer Thomas Roma shares his philosophies on art, life, and the canine species while discussing two of his most influential projects with filmmaker Michael Almereyda. (Michael Almereyda, USA, 12 min.)

*

Oh My Father

At the heart of this quietly touching real-life portrait is the daily routine of a 98-year-old man and the daughter who cares for him. (Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, Robert Machoian, USA, 11 min.) World Premiere

*

The Old Man and the Bird

Here’s a folktale as timeless as it is intelligently animated: in the dead of winter, an elderly hermit takes in one last breath of fresh air made flesh. (Dennis Stein-Schomburg, Germany, 7 min.) North American Premiere

*

The Orchestra

While the world around him shimmers with light and song, poor old Vernon wonders: can he ever emerge from the dark, tone-deaf shell of his own painfully shy making to strike up a tune with his new neighbor? (Mikey Hill, Australia, 15 min.)

*

Panic Attack!

In this amusing yet unsettling animated glimpse into the dark stream of one woman’s consciousness, one may find something all too familiar. (Eileen O’Meara, USA, 3 min.) World Premiere

*

Papé

A belligerent old fisherman realizes it’s time to make peace with his past in this folktale-meets-lullaby, beautifully shot on the shores of Guadeloupe. (Nicolas Polixene, France, 18 min.) U.S. Premiere

*

Partners

Sex, work, money, commitment: the duo driving this wry comedy cover all the greatest hits of arguing couples before they even get out of bed in the morning. (Joey Ally, USA, 7 min.)

*

Pickle

An electrocuted fish, a water-retentive goose, a paralyzed possum who eats scrambled eggs: with affection and humor, a pair of animal lovers recount the injuries and insults life has hurled at their menagerie. (Amy Nicholson, USA, 15 min.)

*

Red Folder

At his teacher’s behest, a troubled student Joseph goes in search of a red folder—but is it really a red flag? (Ben Kallam, USA, 10 min.)

*

Sea Breeze

In this intimate character study, a Taiwanese shopkeeper and a Filipino migrant find in one another a kindred spirit. (Chun-Yi Li, Taiwan/UK, 30 min.) International Premiere

*

Seide

Without hope of escape herself, can a village girl facing an arranged marriage at least set her most beloved companion free to roam the snow-covered steppes of their homeland? (Elnura Osmonalieva, Kyrgyzstan, 14 min.)

*

Semele

A tough-tender family drama ensues when a young girl tracks down her estranged father at work. (Myrsini Aristidou, Cyprus, 13 min.)

*

The Send-Off

In small-town America, a group of high-school students gathers for the biggest, brightest night of their young lives. (Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan, USA, 12 min.)

*

She Dances for People

A mix of mesmerizing archival and contemporary black-and-white footage offers a moving glimpse into the history and culture of Canada’s indigenous populations. (Michelle Latimer, Canada, 4 min.)

*

The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

In 2003, Japan was plunged into economic darkness, and its people needed a ray of hope. They found one in Haru Urara, a racehorse with a pink Hello Kitty mask and a career-long losing streak. (Mickey Duzyj, Japan/USA, 18 min.)

*

Snowbird

From the director of the groundbreaking indie hit Tangerine, in conjunction with cutting-edge fashion label Kenzo, comes this gorgeously lensed, off-the-grid, May-December romance. (Sean Baker, USA, 12 min.) World Premiere

*

Someone Is Happy Somewhere

A troubled, deaf handyman and a beautiful but struggling tenant of a Brazilian high rise meet at an emotional crossroads in this intense drama, set on the night of the country’s biggest soccer match. (Mario Furloni, Alvaro Furloni, Brazil, 18 min.) International Premiere

*

Speaking Is Difficult

Acclaimed documentarian AJ Schnack issues a lament for America’s gun-violence epidemic that’s all the more damning for its subtlety. (AJ Schnack, USA, 14 min.)

*

Step 9

With a loyal sidekick along for the ride, Marian discovers the most heartfelt search for redemption can double as a romp. (Leonora Pitts, USA, 13 min.)

*

Stripper Wars

A strip club becomes a dreamscape for a lonely exotic dancer longing for acceptance. (Giancarlo Loffredo, USA, 7 min.)

*

Summer of Sarah

This classic coming-of-age story finds sixteen-year-old Sarah struggling to juggle her hard-working father’s expectations, a demeaning job and the advances of a boy from the right side of the tracks. (Emma Benestan, France, 25 min.) U.S. Premiere

*

Thanks for Dancing

A glimmer of hope arises from the depths of grief on the wintry Norwegian horizon of this enduring love story. (Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken, Norway, 19 min.) North American Premiere

*

These C*cksucking Tears

Meet Patrick Haggerty, a singer-songwriter who has worn his fiercely antiestablishment heart on his sleeve since the 1970s, when he recorded the first gay country album. (Dan Taberski, USA, 16 min.)

*

Tuesday

In this slice of social realism, a teenage schoolgirl learns a bit about life during an ordinary day on the streets of Istanbul. (Ziya Demirel, France/Turkey, 13 min.)

*

Under the Sun

The wheels of corruption propel the cycle of despair for two families in this dystopic critique of modern-industrial Chinese society. (Qiu Yang, China/Australia, 19 min.)

*

Victor XX

His loved ones know him as Mari; strangers see him as Victor. Set in small-town Spain, this anguished yet inspiring coming-of-age story is also a coming-of-gender story. (Ian Garrido, Spain, 21 min.)

*

World Wide Woven Bodies

Just as he’s entering puberty, Mads gets ensnared in the World Wide Web in this Norwegian family dramedy set at the turn of the millennium. (Truls Krane Meby, Norway, 16 min.)


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