Aspen Film announces 64-film Shortsfest program |

Aspen Film announces 64-film Shortsfest program

Aspen Film announced its program for the 26th Aspen Shortsfest on Tuesday, including 64 films from around the globe screening April 4 to 9 at the Wheeler Opera House and Paepcke Auditorium in Aspen and at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.

In films running 40 minutes or less, the festival will explore unique themes through a series of 11 programs that feature the newest and most innovative shorts from the U.S. and abroad. The 2017 slate of films features 16 world premieres, 5 international premieres, 25 North American premieres and 16 U.S. premieres from filmmakers representing 31 different countries. Nearly 4,000 films were considered.

“The Aspen Shortstfest programming team has curated an extraordinary line-up showcasing the rising stars of world cinema today,” Kathleen McInnis, Shortsfest’s director of programming, said in the announcement. “I am so proud and excited to share these films and talented storytellers with Aspen. This is what it’s all about — putting filmmakers and audience together in an unparalleled setting.”

With a reputation as a premier North American showcase of short films, Aspen Shortsfest is Oscar-qualifying in four categories of its international competition. The festival is an industry-recognized destination for discovering breakthrough talent. Notable alumni include 2017 Oscar winner Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”), Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell”), all of whose short films first screened at Aspen Shortsfest before they became household names. Continuing the tradition of identifying and featuring Oscar worthy films, this year’s Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings featured the first-ever programmed package of Oscar-qualified short films, programmed by McInnis, showcasing The White Helmets which went on to win Best Documentary Short at 2017 Academy Awards

“We are exploring captivating and endearing themes with this year’s films, and we look forward to sharing this program with our friends and neighbors from Aspen and beyond,” Aspen Film executive director John Thew said in the announcement.

Tickets will go on sale to the public Wednesday, March 22, available at the Wheeler Opera House box office and VIP and Priority Pass options are available to new and current Aspen Film members.




ASPEN: TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 8:15 p.m.


A stunning global tour, sampling the striking works of our international filmmakers. From new world love to old school friendships, these films combine for a gorgeous cinematic roller coaster ride.

“High Cities of Bone”

Karlon, born in a slum in the outskirts of Lisbon and a pioneer of Cape Verdean creole rap, runs away from the housing project to which he had been relocated. Nights of vigil are spent under a sweltering tropical heat. Among the sugarcanes, a murmur is heard. Karlon hasn’t stopped singing. (João Salaviza, Portugal, 19 min.) North American Premiere


Precariously alight, two electrically compete to capture the attention of one. But is bigger, brighter, fancier always going to win? In this student animation, nature’s display of attraction sets the night on fire and lets sparks fly. (Alexander Dietrich, Johannes Flick, Germany, 5 min.) US Premiere

“Sandy Beach”

A beautifully rendered and evocative piece of storytelling about a woman who takes her elderly father to a pebbled stretch of Greek seaside called “Sandy Beach” on an off-season day. Little does she know everything is about to change. (Thanos Papastergiou, Greece, 12 min.) US Premiere


When a toy-stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his way: the “Lost and Found” box. From the wonderful team at Pixar comes Dave Mullin’s delightful short, Lou, set to be released in theaters along with Cars 3 on June 16, 2017. (Dave Mullins, USA, 7 min.)


Norwegian comedy of manners, Women&Wine, is equal parts charming and cringeworthy look at the shifts in closeness that happen in friendships over time—and one woman’s knee jerk reaction to the fear of being replaced. There are some things that even wine can’t remedy. (Liv Karin Dahlstrøm, Norway, 22 min.) North American Premiere

“Os Humores Artificiais/The Artificial Humours”

Anthropology and artificial intelligence combine to tell a tale as old as time. In this tender fable, a stand-up comedian falls in love with an indigenous girl. Touching on postcolonial, gender, and identity issues, this “love from the wrong side of the tracks” story will capture both your heart and funny bone. (Gabriel Abrantes, Portugal, 29 min).





Who of us trusts that most elusive and transitory of all our faculties—memory? From the terrifying to the common, each of these films examines the power and force of memories, and the ephemeral nature of that which we cling to.


A woman’s everyday routines, activities, and rituals are tracked in this intriguingly sinister hybrid documentary that uses half-whispered narration and insidious cell phone technology to create serious suspense. She is a woman watched, and so are we. A truly inventive and chilling non-fiction thriller. (Kevin Byrnes, USA, 12 min.) World Premiere

“I Was There Too”

A divorced social outcast would do almost anything to become close to his daughter and ex-wife again. An impulsive decision delivers the reconciliation, sympathy and community he’s been craving, but it’s a craven lie. Bold and timely, this tale of trauma is much bigger than any one man. (Joey Izzo, USA, 23 min.) World Premiere


A family gathers to prepare the perfect homecoming for the proverbial prodigal son, both prodding and protecting one another’s weaknesses as they anticipate his arrival. Cube is a resonant look at the bonds and scars inherent to our roots. (Alexandros Skouras, Greece, 23 min.) International Premiere

“After the Smoke”

A town gathers for the local rodeo in a remote outback mining station. As a series of events unfold, a young boy faces his first moments of manhood against a backdrop of heartbreak. (Nick Waterman, Australia, 9 min.) North American Premiere

“The End of Time”

On a nondescript Cuban street on a Tuesday, time seems to stop in this visually engrossing depiction of a moment. (Milcho Manchevski, Cuba/USA, 6 min.) World Premiere

“Out of Season”

Two exes, Vera and Bruno, find themselves unexpectedly spending the weekend together at a mutual friend’s Argentine country house in this rich, beautifully observed and zeitgeisty look at contemporary relationships and the impact of closure (or the lack thereof). (Sabrina Campos, Argentina, 23 min.) North American Premiere





It is not our parents’ world any longer. Whether stepping out into the real world for the first time, or opening the door to new vistas, these five stories offer a glimpse into worlds beyond our horizons.


A pair of childhood friends create an ingenious app that intuitively helps people structure their daily lives. The app is a soaring success and adopted all over the world, but the creators’ friendship frays as a result. Have they created a technology that will replace them . . . all of us? (Søren Peter Langkjær Bojsen, Denmark, 26 min.) North American Premiere


While in an immigration detention center in Rome, Rocio becomes pregnant. Since it is against the law to hold a pregnant woman, she is released. What will she do with the baby? A haunting story about impossible choices. (Carlo Sironi, Italy, 20 min.) North American Premiere

“Mixtape Marauders”

An offbeat, infectious, and refreshingly original ride that follows two twentysomething underachievers as they make the rounds selling dope and expressing themselves through mixtapes. It also has an appropriately awesome indie soundtrack. (Peter Edlund, USA, 17 min.) World Premiere

“Call of Cuteness”

A consumerist nightmare gone viral—devoured, exploited, fetishized, and revered, on this global playground The Cat reveals the causes and effects of power and pleasure. (Brenda Lien, Germany, 4 min.) US Premiere


A young woman tries to navigate her freshman year at college in this incredibly layered, vivid, and personal coming-of-age film. Smart, stylish and emotive, Fanny tackles sexuality, friendship and the ache for connection. (Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel, Norway, 29 min.) World Premiere




Bizarre, complex, illogical, the irony of the characters’ circular reasoning, a surreal world in which you don’t stand a chance—these are the quintessential qualities of our seven “Kafka’esque” films that straddle fantasy and reality, hopelessness, and hope.

“Children of Yam”

From Egypt comes a haunting story of reoccurring migration, the forces that drive us from our lands and the floods we carry within us. (Muhannad Shono, Saudi Arabia, 5 min.) US Premiere


In an elegant stop-motion reimagining of a classic of American literature, the typical office life for a small Wall Street firm begins to slowly fall apart when a new employee refuses to work, simply saying he “prefers not to.” (Laura Naylor, Kristen Kee, USA, 11 min.) World Premiere


Heading out to a job in another town, a backhoe operator finds his son has tagged along. Once they get to the site, the father learns the job is not what he expected and his son’s presence changes everything. (Miroslav Sikavica, Croatia, 15 min.) US Premiere

“Les Animaux Domestiques”

A crazy, wild romp through the swinging times at Monsieur and Madame Archibald’s house, as only the French could portray! When Dog, Cat, Toad, Mosquito, Fly, Moth (and the Mice!), come to visit, the Archibalds’ lives take on a decidedly unusual tone! (Jean Lecointre, France, 22 min.) US Premiere

“The Dressmakers”

After their shop is foreclosed, two no-nonsense, chain smoking, middle-aged sisters continue to run the remnants of their wedding gown business from the basement in this quirky ode to a dying art. (Benjamin Delaroche, France, 13 min.) US Premiere

“I Want Pluto to be a Planet Again”

An animated, transhumanist romance set in the very near future shows the dynamic losses and gains of becoming technologically enhanced human beings. Can a man of modest means score the girl of his dreams without being an H+? And what will it cost his heart? (Amachoukeli Marie, France, 13 min.) North American Premiere

“Wild Skin”

A young woman’s quiet, solitary life is disturbed by the sudden discovery that she is sharing her apartment with a baby python. The creature’s inexplicable arrival and growing influence leads her to explore her deepest desires and fully express herself for the first time. A feast for the eyes (and thighs). (Ariane Louis-Seize, Canada, 20 min.) US Premiere




Flights of fantasy or an invitation to a journey—it is the end of one and the beginning of another for our intrepid travelers in these six films. From the beauty of the imagination to the simplicity of a final call, it’s the first step that counts the most.

“Night Dancing”

Every night a man sees a beautiful woman dancing in the street. Is she real? What does it mean? (Barney Cokeliss, UK, 6 min.) US Premiere

“After the Volcano”

A mysterious volcano erupts, causing the villagers to flee into the woods where they start a new life amongst the wild beasts. Made of found footage combined to amazing effect, a fantastical yet oddly contemporary story. (Léo Favier, France, 18 min.) World Premiere


A girl watches on as her grandfather, with only weeks left to live, digs his own grave, surrounds himself with his most treasured possessions and creates a comfortable resting place deep inside the earth. A moody and magical movie set in remote northeastern India about death’s mystery. (Amar Kaushik, India, 21 min.) North American Premiere

“See Ya”

Ágúst spends one last morning roving around his sleepy Icelandic hometown with his best friend Dóri, conflicted about leaving the familiar for a dream football contract in England. See Ya is a quiet reminder that the most important crossroads in life necessitate discomfort, doubt and at times, a mean hangover. (Brúsi Ólason, Iceland, 12 min.) World Premiere

“The Crossing”

A captain steers his ship into a treacherous storm, in an attempt to regain the respect of his crew and relive his glory days in this visually arresting stop-motion animation, crafted entirely with salt and sand. (Marieka Walsh, Australia, 12 min.) North American Premiere


Stephanos is every teenager – reactive, distant, looking for a little bit of a fight. When he is left to care for his little brother and sister, and their sick dog, Lucy, Stephanos has no idea this will be the last carefree day of his life. (Jacqueline Lentzou, Greece, 29 min.) North American Premiere



ASPEN: FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 5:30 p.m.

How many times have we each been faced with a negotiation of remarkable proportions? When the stakes are high, there is no limit on the table. What would you be willing to lose?

“Nothing Ever Really Ends”

Seen over the course of three consecutive New Year’s Eves, a couple that just can’t seem to quit one another, resolve to break up only to make up again. Can a broken record of hurt feelings and happy endings lead to a healthier relationship? Superb writing records romance’s reality. (Jakob Rørvik, Norway, 23 min.) North American Premiere


Frantically packing to take an airplane to start a new life in Canada, a Serbian couple faces an unexpected dilemma when their young daughter wins a contest and a new friend. A bittersweet story of leaving home and leaving things behind. (Lee Filipovski, Serbia/Montenegro/Canada, 24 min.) US Premiere


A restrained and mysterious piece of storytelling about a disenchanted Peruvian family man who drives a taxi for a living. His perspective on life is transformed by a prophet, a dark road, and a passenger with a secret—all over the course of one shift. (Alejandro Roca Rey, Peru, 20 min.) North American Premiere

“All Exchanges Final”

New Mom, Dom (Aya Cash star of FXX’s You’re the Worst), goes to the hospital to pay last respects to her comatose sister. But hours before her sibling is taken off life support, she is offered an unbelievable opportunity to revive her sister. An unforgettable goodbye full of wisdom and wit. (Annabel Oakes, USA, 29 min.) World Premiere



ASPEN: FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 8:30 p.m.

A gorgeous collection of stories about the moment we leave one life behind and reach for the new life ahead. Each of these films spins their tale from idyllic settings that dive deep into our collective consciousness, even as their characters must face their own destiny.


Fascinated by Christianity, a young girl learns the meaning of sacrifice and forgiveness after making a deal with God to ensure her parents’ May Day party goes off without a hitch. A pitch-perfect portrait of infantile adults, the hubris of the creative class, and the importance of questioning your beliefs. (Ulla Heikkilä, Finland, 28 min.) North American Premiere

“It’s Not What You Know”

A grown man with a kid’s lunchbox shows up to an L.A. house party with a purpose, but his plans take a sharp turn when he runs into someone from his past. A slick and stylish story of serendipity and nostalgia that trips down memory lane. (Aaron Abrams, USA, 10 min.) World Premiere

“Schoolyard Blues”

On John’s first day of school, older brother Mika insists on taking him in order to teach him the hard lessons of the schoolyard and the real world in this heartbreak portrait of sibling love and frailty of childhood innocence. (Maria Eriksson, Sweden, 17 min.) World Premiere


The Summer of 1996 throws teenager Keven Guénette a curveball, triggering an unexpected series of events involving raging hormones and bruised egos. Mutants is a gritty, confident and devastating debut that subverts all conventions of the loss of innocence drama. (Alexandre Dostie, Canada, 16 min.) US Premiere

“Into the Blue”

Having recently broken away from her abusive father, thirteen-year-old Julija returns to the sun-soaked cliffs and dappled blue waters of her island hometown. When she doesn’t get the connection or validation that she so desperately seeks from her childhood best friend, she ups the stakes. (Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Croatia/Solvinia/Sweden, 22 min.) North American Premiere





Eight filmmakers examine our collective relationship to the four elements of wind, fire, water, and earth as they bring “landscape” (literally and figuratively) to the forefront of their stories. Be they emotional, confrontational, elemental or fantastical, these films showcase (wo)man’s connection to the natural world.

“Fisher Cove”

Finn and his dog head out across the lake at sunrise with big fish hopes and a six-pack of beer. But all is not as it should be on Falcon Lake today, and Finn — not known as a “sensible man”—can’t leave well enough alone when he churns the still waters. (Sean Skene, Canada, 9 min.) World Premiere

“Mountain Fever”

Trapped on a mountain in a terrible snowstorm in the dead of night, one of the climbers reports his tentmate missing. Now they have to embark on a dangerous search. (Frédéric Hambalek, Germany, 8 min.) International Premiere

“The Comet”

Based on the journey of the actor himself, Abdi Aziis plays a Somali man who flees to Sweden to escape the persecution of being gay. Award-winning director, Victor Lindgren, explains that the protagonist is our comet in this haunting and lyrical film about intimacy and loss. (Victor Lindgren, Sweden, 11 min.) North American Premiere

“The Man is Big”

A whale moves to the sky and transforms into a cloud after a giant man causes the sea to overflow in this allegorical and dreamlike hand-painted animation which will leave you pondering our impact on the natural world. (samo (Anna Bergmann), Germany, 10 min.) North American Premiere

“Child Dream”

A surprising world of wind and water playfully captures floating barges and rainfall that leaves puddles deep enough to drown in, but is this dream child’s play or something more? (Christophe Gérard, France, 11 min.) North American Premiere

“Three Red Sweaters”

A documentarian explores the way that we remember and record our lives through the lens of her grandfather’s breathtaking, Alex Colville-esque 16mm home videos. Deeply personal yet universally relatable—particularly in the age of social media. (Martha Gregory, USA, 10 min.) World Premiere

“E.B.C. 5300m”

Everest Base Camp, 5,300 meters. An ephemeral micro-city set in a mystical landscape. As mercurial as the wind, this landscape shifts and flows with the elemental impacts placed upon it, at once wild and yet familiar. Gradually, a poignant design emerges. (Léonard Kohli, Switzerland, 15 min.) North American Premiere

“Eyes of Exodus”

Fleets of vessels carrying Syrian refugees, arrive on the shores of a tiny, idyllic Greek island in this vital documentary, which provides both an affecting portrait of the refugee experience, and an unflinching look at humanity’s varying capacity for empathy. (Alexandra Liveris, Greece/USA, 28 min.) North American Premiere




Look closely at the interior worlds we present to you here: surprising discoveries lie just inside where desire, perspective, and space collide.

“Make a Wish”

Retirees, Anita and Gunnar, lead a hum-drum life that revolves around routine and television reruns, until one night when Anita changes the channel and makes a wish on a TV star. A charming and open-minded look at sexual desire and curiosity in the golden years. (Jonatan Etzel, Sweden, 13 min.) International Premiere

“Fight on a Swedish Beach”

A lovely summer day might be ruined when a group of obnoxious teens yell “Seig Heil” and call someone’s wife a whore, but it makes for great social media content. (Simon Vahlne, Sweden, 15 min.) North American Premiere

“Fig’s Representation”

Fascinated by their work, Joe Fig recreates artists and their studios in hard to believe miniature sculpture form. (Jonathan Napolitano, USA, 12 min.) World Premiere

“Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25”

Set during the launch of the first space shuttle of the Philippines, an ordinary old couple living in the suburbs attempts to go about their normal daily life during this very abnormal and strange day. (Carlo Francisco Manatad, Philippines, 18 min.) North American Premiere


Through a unique mix of animation, home movies, stop-motion and live-action, a jeweler tells his children the myth of diamonds’ origins and the apocryphal process of breaking the stones down in their uniqueness and conforming them to each other. (Chloé Mazlo, France, 12 min.) International Premiere


For the first time in years, Anna has a day to herself. No work, no child, she goes out into the hot summer day looking for a man for a brief encounter to rediscover a part of herself that might be lost. Winner of the Cannes Cinéfoundation Award for Best Short. (Or Sinai, Israel, 24 min.) US Premiere




In this world, turned upside down and askew, you have to look beyond the expected for answers. Don’t be fooled, these are grown-up stories for a grown-up world where anything can happen.

“Les Misérables”

In the modern-day Parisian neighborhood of Victor Hugo’s novel, a new transfer cop learns abusive policing practices of two veterans. When a young boy records them going too far, the community threatens to explode. (Ladj Ly, France, 16 min.) North American Premiere


After a night at the bar, a guy invites a girl home to see his angelfish. Over the course of just a few minutes, a promising connection is cut off and a fish is no longer a fish. A taut exchange that examines acceptable behavior in dating and mating rituals. (Dane McCusker, Australia, 6 min.) World Premiere

“The Log”

An actor balks at baring it all, but the director insists on full frontal nudity. A funny send-up that uses over-the-top humor, exaggeration and absurdity to flip the script on gender roles and power dynamics both in front of, and behind, the camera. (Teemu Nikki, Finland, 8 min.) US Premiere

“(le) Rebound”

Heartbroken from breaking up with the only man she ever loved, Claudia follows a rebound fling to an artist retreat in France. There they meet a strange and expressive couple and though they share a hedonistic night, Claudia’s sadness over the past remains. A funny and touching look at the rebound. (Laura Beckner, France/USA, 19 min.) World Premiere

“In a Nutshell”

A visually stunning story of the world today told through objects and unexpected associations between them. (Fabio Friedli, Switzerland, 6 min.) North American Premiere


Transcending reality through fantasy, the female body expresses itself radically in its new underwater environment—but now with as much vehemence by which it was treated when it was purely, simply, merely a woman. (Damien Ounouri, Algeria/Kuwait, 40 min.) North American Premiere




Six delightful films designed to share the experiences of being a kid with our audiences. Meant for kids (and their adult families) ages 8 and up, some of our stories are subtitled—please feel free to softly share the tale with those too little to read quickly enough.

“Cast Off”

Cast Off is a beautiful and stirring coming-of-age film about a boy who is coming to terms with the fact that he has to leave the island he grew up on to attend school on the mainland. It will leave you brimming with life and struggling to contain a battle cry of solidarity! (Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers, Canada, 20 min.) US Premiere

“The World’s Middlest Fish”

A young girl catches the most medium-sized fish anyone has ever seen and is launched to international fame. How long can it last? A charming animated take on the fickleness of fame. (Cathinka Tanberg, Norway, 11 min.) North American Premiere

“Revital is an Alien”

Gabriela is over the moon to find an otherworldly egg in the forest, and instantly falls in love with the alien that hatches. Bold, original, and beautifully bizarre, this stellar sci-fi shows a hover mother caught between love and letting go, and an extraterrestrial child torn between two worlds. (Gan De Lange, Israel, 16 min.) International Premiere


When a toy-stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his way: the “Lost and Found” box. From the wonderful team at Pixar comes Dave Mullin’s delightful short, Lou, set to be released in theaters along with Cars 3 on June 16, 2017. (Dave Mullins, USA, 7 min.)

“Kitten Witch”

A precocious kitten wants to become a witch’s familiar, but she will be nothing more than a simple cat unless she can pass a series of tests. An adorably, sweet story about overcoming fear, and the unstoppable power of improvisation and imagination. Catnip for kids of all ages! (James Cunningham, New Zealand, 9 min.) US Premiere

“Get Up, Kinasha!”

Denied entrance to his school because of the poor quality of his shoes, 10-year-old Samuel has to come up with some entrepreneurial businesses to get a new pair in this uplifting story of community and family in Kinshasa. (Sébastien Maitre, France, 21 min.) US Premiere

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