Ready, set, action: Aspen Film’s 28th short-film festival kicks off |

Ready, set, action: Aspen Film’s 28th short-film festival kicks off


Aspen Film’s 28th annual Shortsfest festival is coming to the Roaring Fork Valley next week, exploring unique themes in 69 short films from 26 countries spread out over 12 programs.

Women directed more than 40 percent of the films, which will hit the screen in Aspen and Carbondale from April 2 to 7.

Culled from a record number of submissions — nearly 2,600 according to Aspen Film executive director Susan Wrubel — the shorts span documentary, animation, comedy and drama.

All of the films are 40 minutes or less and are shown in an intimate setting in which attendees can meet guest filmmakers and industry experts in Q&A forums, panel discussions and receptions.

Shortsfest will screen a feature film — a rarity in festival history — with director Destin Cretton here for a special presentation of his 2013 film “Short Term 12,” adapted from his short film of the same name. Cretton was recently named director of the Marvel superhero movie “Shang-Chi.”

Films will be screened at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale. Tickets can be purchased at the Wheeler box office and Tickets for the Crystal Theatre also will be sold at Bonfire Coffee in Carbondale.

Here’s a rundown of noteworthy titles to see each day of Shortsfest. The list represents a diverse representation of content, a mix of female and male directors and some with notable premiere status.

Tuesday, April 2, 8 p.m.:

“Alien Culture”

‘Alien Culture’

The film is set in West London in 1979. Racial tensions are running high in the UK and Margaret Thatcher is in office. Lucky and his younger brother get bullied by skinheads, and when Lucky discovers the truth, his world changes and so do his priorities. Also screening Saturday, April 6, in Carbondale. (16 minutes, international premiere)

Wednesday, April 3, 8 p.m.



Anarchy emerges when young girls go for a power grab as they compete against each other at a birthday party at public pool disco. As the game ratches up, the thirst for power grows and the girls lose control. (18 minutes, North American premiere)

Thursday April 4, 8 p.m.



A life-changing event for an African Pentecostal pastor forces her to question everything she believes. (15 minutes, North American premiere)

Friday, April 5, 8 p.m.

“sometimes, I think about dying”

‘sometimes, i think about dying’

Fran’s obsession with thinking about dying is disrupted when an attractive co-worker takes an interest in her. Instead of enjoying her death dreams, she’s worried about wondering how to live, and actually like it. Also screening Saturday, April, 6 in Carbondale. (12 minutes)

Saturday, April 6, 11:30 a.m.

“Nest Egg”

‘Nest Egg’

Male insecurity emerges when a man tries to blow up a deal when his young wife decides to become a gestational surrogate to a couple from China. (13 minutes, world premiere)

Sunday, April 7, noon

“Thatha’s Secret”

“Thatha’s Secret”

Every summer, Arya and her sister Tara spend their holidays at their grandfather’s forest home. Every summer holiday features their customary camping trip and their grandfather’s (Thatha) stories under the open night sky. But this year Thatha’s story has a few unexpected twists that could change Arya profoundly. (8 minutes, North American premiere)

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