Animals rule Shortsfest family films
Sharon Colman’s senior project at the National Film and Television School near London was not your average thesis. Her short animation, “Badgered,” was nominated for an Oscar.Talk about a good grade.Colman’s film is part of this week’s Aspen Shortsfest, which features films from all over the world. “Badgered” is entered in the international competition and also will show as part of “ScreenPlay!” a selection of family films (recommended for kids 10 and older) at 1 p.m. today at the Wheeler Opera House.”Badgered” brings back the classic 2-D animation that has been forgotten since the world of computers. It’s like that old Disney movie that makes you reminisce of your childhood.”I love seeing the director’s fingerprints on a movie, and with some of the newer technology you don’t,” Colman said. “It’s the story that matters.”Her fictional short, based on living near an ammunition dump, humorously touches on the perils of modern-day living and the effects they have on animals as a badger interferes with a rocket launch operation on his hill.”Badgers don’t really have much going for them,” she said, explaining why she chose that animal. “They’re basically a dog with stripes on their back.”Shortsfest helps give exposure to young filmmakers who don’t necessarily have the resources to produce a feature-length film. “Many, many filmmakers, you can go back to Disney … that’s how they started,” said Laura Thielen, executive director of Aspen Filmfest. “Disney, Spielberg, Spike Lee, they started with shorts. It’s a very important medium in terms of emerging filmmakers to cultivate their filmmaking skills.”The family program has a variety of films, including the story of a hungry gopher (“Gopher Broke”), a Middle Eastern misfit who has heavy metal dreams (“Heavy Metal Drummer”), a boy who meets an enchanting girl on the moon (“Moongirl”), and a father who wins back his estranged son (“The Great Zambini”). Another film in the family program, “Wolves in the Woods,” was B.J. Schwartz’s thesis for the University of Southern California.Portrayed through the eyes of a 5-year-old German girl named Katrina, the short explores how powerless everyone is, giving a child’s perspective deep meaning.”I wanted to capture it through the eyes of innocence,” said Schwartz, whose subtle, gentle movie was made without any sound the first time, leaving Schwartz to put all the sound in himself. Every twig breaking or gentle footstep is placed with purpose.
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Lift-Up has helped feed hungry families in the Roaring Fork Valley for 38 years, but experienced in a surge in demand this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is making changes to meet the demand and address allegations of incidents of discrimination.