‘Momentum Generation’ and ‘3 Days 2 Nights’ win Aspen Filmfest audience awards | AspenTimes.com

‘Momentum Generation’ and ‘3 Days 2 Nights’ win Aspen Filmfest audience awards

Staff report

The surfing documentary "Momentum Generation" was the crowd favorite at Aspen Filmfest, the festival announced Tuesday.

The film, directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, won the balloted Audience Award for the 39th annual film festival, which ran Sept. 25 to 30 at the Wheeler Opera House and the Isis Theater in Aspen and the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.

It was followed by another documentary, "3 Days 2 Nights," which took the Audience Award runner-up. That doc, still a work in progress directed by John Breen, shares the story of brothers Andy and Mark Godfrey, who survived an Aspen-bound plane crash as children.

"Momentum Generation" will be broadcast on HBO in December.

"Both documentaries, which focus strongly on the concept of family and healing in the wake of tragedy, are powerful, moving and ultimately uplifting," Aspen Film Executive Director Susan Wrubel said in the announcement. "Although on the surface seemingly distinct, the messages of overcoming, emotional support and camaraderie come through, connecting these films with audiences on an emotional level."

Filmfest reported 10 sold-out screenings over the course of the festival, which drew more than 5,000 film-goers, while ticket sales were up 27 percent over 2017.

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The six-day showcase of independent and big-screen cinema included 21 features and documentaries from the international festival circuit punctuated by filmmaker guests, in-depth discussions and educational programming for Aspen Country Day School, Aspen High School, Aspen Middle School, Coal Ridge High School, Basalt High School and Colorado Mountain College.

The festival reinstated its Independent by Nature Award, which went to "Beautiful Boy" director Felix Van Groeningen and was awarded Sunday night after a screening of the film. The prize had not been awarded since 2009.

Van Groeningen has directed six feature films since 2004, including "Broken Circle Breakdown," which was Oscar-nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2014. The addiction drama "Beautiful Boy," starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell, is Van Groeningen's first English-language film.

In his acceptance speech Sunday, Van Groeningen said he was moved to be following in the footsteps of Independent By Nature recipients like Rob Reiner and Bob Rafelson.

"I think the 'independent by nature' stamp suits me well," he told the Filmfest audience. "And I will continue to be that."