2019 Aspen Shortsfest winners announced
Award highlights include ‘Nefta Football Club’ receiving both the Audience Award and Jury Award for Comedy, and “Brotherhood” being honored with The Ellen Award as well as Jury Award for Drama.
For the second year, Aspen Film presented the Vimeo Staff Pick Award, a prestigious honor from the creator-first platform and a live iteration of Vimeo’s Staff Picks laurel. The Award was given to Iceland’s “Kanari,” which is now available on Vimeo.
Shortsfest is an Oscar-qualifying film festival in five categories, including Animation, Documentary, Comedy, Drama, and Short Short. It ran April 2-7 at the Wheeler Opera House and April 6 and 7 at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.
The Shortsfest Jury was comprised of three established members of the international film community, including Miranda Bailey, Mike Plante, and Lili Rodriguez.
The complete list of winners:
* Audience Award: NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB (France), directed by Yves Piat
* Audience Special Recognition Award: MILTON (USA), directed by Tim Wilkime
* Aspen Youth Jury Award: THE TRIAL (USA), directed by Johanna Hamilton
The Aspen Youth Jury awarded Johanna Hamilton’s THE TRIAL as “[the film] shines a light on a historical event that changed our country forever.” In a collective statement, the Youth Jury stated that “This documentary humanizes the accused and their defenders. We learned about this event as history rather than something that happened in recent times. It presents an important message for the youth of today and is extremely relevant. It reveals that people need to be informed; the second you start relying on other people for information, then it becomes dangerous. Our entire culture of travel and security has changed due to these tragic events. Yet, some of the trials of the accused have still not been resolved. Over the years, the media has focused on the victims of our own country, but now, through this film, we see how the accused have been treated. This film shows a new perspective. We wish for this film to be seen and appreciated by everyone. We, the members of the youth jury, have been touched, and moved by the short film.”
* Vimeo Staff Pick Award: KANARI (Iceland), directed by Erlendur Sveinsson
Ian Durkin, Senior Curator at Vimeo, who presented this year’s Staff Pick Award, states, “The winner of the Vimeo Staff Pick award and $2,500 goes to a film that puts you in the passenger seat of a story filled with gut wrenching loss. With incredible performances and direction that keeps you on your toes, I’m pleased to give the Vimeo Staff Pick award to the film Kanari from director Erlendur Sveinsson.”
* The Ellen Award: BROTHERHOOD (Canada/Tunisia/Qatar/Sweden), directed by Meryam Joobeur
BROTHERHOOD is the recipient of this year’s Ellen Award, an annual award honoring Aspen Film’s founder and former executive director Ellen Kohner Hunt who retired in 1995. In a collective statement by the Ellen Jury: “The dynamic between a father and a son, made worse by war and religious radicalism, is brilliantly explored in this tense drama set in Tunisia. Meryam Joobeur’s well-drawn story features fine work by both first-timers and veteran actors. It reminds us that too many young men around the world are being radicalized, often with tragic consequences.”
* Jury Award for Student Film: SHE-PACK (Norway), directed by Fanny Ovesen
Aspen Film’s Shortsfest Jury awarded Best Student Film to SHE-PACK, calling it “a film that shows not all girls are made of sugar and spice, but we have collective experiences of vulnerability and the need for sisterhood.”
* Special Mention for Student Film: THE CLINIC (USA), directed by Elivia Shaw
* Jury Award for Short Short: LIFE IN MINIATURE (UK), directed by Ellan Evans
In a category recognizing films which are 10 minutes or less, Aspen Film’s Shortsfest Jury concluded LIFE IN MINIATURE to be “a film which sums up exactly what a good short short is. Original and compelling.”
( Special Mention for Short Short: JACK (USA), directed by Nick Paonessa
* Jury Award for Animation: SISTER (China/USA), directed by Siqi Song
“The quality of this animation not only engaged us with its style, but the substance of the story captured our imagination and hearts,” states Aspen Film’s Shortsfest Jury, which awarded SISTER with Best Animation.
* Special Mention for Animation: GUAXUMA (France/Brazil), directed by Nara Normande
* Jury Award for Documentary: ENFORCEMENT HOURS (USA), directed by Paloma Martinez
Aspen Film’s Shortsfest Jury states, “This documentary brings details to the headlines while bringing the human experience whether absurd or heartbreaking to the surface.”
* Special Mention for Documentary: CROWLEY – COWBOY UP (Germany), directed by André Hörmann
* Jury Award for Comedy: NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB (France), directed by Yves Piat
Aspen Film’s Shortsfest Jury awarded Best Comedy to NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB – also this year’s Audience Award winner – and stated, “This kind-spirited childhood adventure cleverly twisted our expectations by bringing humor to the subject and region, making it even more special with an Adele-loving donkey.”
* Special Mention for Comedy: MILTON (USA), directed by Tim Wilkime
* Jury Award for Drama: BROTHERHOOD (Canada/Tunisia/Qatar/Sweden), directed by Meryam Joobeur
In addition to receiving The Ellen Award, BROTHERHOOD was honored with the Jury Award for Drama. “This film constantly kept us on our toes while transporting us to a place in a world we’ve never experienced,” stated Aspen Film’s Shortsfest Jury.
* Special Mention for Drama: SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT DYING (USA), directed by Stefanie Abel Horowitz
The album reviews what’s truly valuable to invest time and energy in and explores themes like taking stock of your life, re-inventing yourself through second chances, pushing yourself to expand outside of comfort zones, and returning to inner joy, even when you’ve lost it.