Aspen Film announces Academy Screenings lineup, moves to January |

Aspen Film announces Academy Screenings lineup, moves to January

Staff report
The Fox News-centered drama "Bombshell" will open Aspen Film's Academy Screenings on Jan. 4.

Aspen Film unveiled the titles for its 28th annual Academy Screenings series on Monday.

For the first time in its history, the series will be held after the New Year. It will run Jan. 4 to 7, 2020.

Academy Screenings had previously been a cornerstone of the busy Christmas to New Year’s Day holiday season in Aspen, running for as long as two weeks and aimed at voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and British Academy of Film and Television Arts during Aspen’s Hollywood-heavy holiday week.

This year, the screenings run for just four days during the sleepier start of January and come at the very end of the Oscar nominations voting period. The final screening falls on the last day for nominations on Jan. 7 and conflicting with the broadcast of Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5.

“Once again we are presenting a provocative program of films which will all be getting attention during the 2020 awards season,” Aspen Film executive and artistic director Susan Wrubel said in the announcement. “We bring what we consider to be some of the highest caliber cinema that has not made its way to the multiplex, for your viewing pleasure, hoping to spark conversation and offer new insights into some global narratives.”

The full program:


 “Bombshell,” 5:30 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow and Margot Robbie star in “Bombshell,” a look inside the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time. Based on the real scandal, “Bombshell” tells the story of the women who brought down the infamous man who created Fox News. Directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph, the film also stars Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney. 

“1917,” 8 :15 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers — Blake’s own brother among them. 


The Elephant Queen,” 2:30 p.m. Isis Theatre

Embark on an epic journey of family, courage and coming home. “The Elephant Queen” is a genre-crossing wildlife documentary, uniquely crafted as a character-driven narrative. Its enduring themes are built upon a foundation of authenticity and integrity, brought from filmmakers Mark Deeble (“Voyage of Time”) and Victoria Stone’s (“The Queen of Trees”) 60 years of collective experience in the rich tradition of wildlife documentary filmmaking and production. Deeble and Stone, who are Emmy® and Peabody Award winners, spent 25 years living in the East African bush, preparing them for the unforgettable odyssey of “The Elephant Queen.” 

“The Truth,” 5 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) is a star of French cinema. She reigns among men who love and admire her. When she publishes her memoirs, her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) returns from New York to Paris with her husband (Ethan Hawke) and young child. The reunion between mother and daughter will quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed.

“Uncut Gems,” 8 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

From acclaimed filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie comes an electrifying crime thriller about Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.


“The Kingmaker,” 2:30 p.m. Isis Theatre

Centered on the indomitable character of Imelda Marcos, “The Kingmaker” examines, with intimate access, the Marcos family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. The film explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice presidency.

“The Apollo,” 5 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

The HBO documentary “The Apollo,” helmed by Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Roger Ross Williams, chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater. The feature-length film weaves together archival clips of music, comedy and dance performances; behind-the-scenes verité footage of the team that makes the theater run; and interviews with such artists as Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett, Pharrell Williams, Common, Patti LaBelle and Smokey Robinson.

“Les Miserables,” 8 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

Inspired by the 2005 riots in Paris, “Les Miserables” — directed by Ladj Ly — follows Stéphane (Damien Bonnard), a recent transplant to the impoverished suburb of Montfermeil, as he joins the local anti-crime squad.   Working alongside his unscrupulous colleagues Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga), Stéphane struggles to maintain order amidst the mounting tensions between local gangs. When an arrest turns unexpectedly violent, the three officers must reckon with the aftermath and keep the neighborhood from spiraling out of control.


“Incitement,” 2:30 p.m. Isis Theatre

In September 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announces the Oslo Accords, which aim to achieve a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians after decades of violence. Yigal Amir, a law student and a devoted Orthodox Jew, cannot believe that his country’s leader will cede territory that he and many others believe is rightfully — by the word of God — theirs. As the prospect of a peaceful compromise approaches, Amir turns from a hot-headed political activist to a dangerous extremist. Consumed by anger and delusions of grandeur, he recruits fighters and steals weapons to form an underground militia intent on killing Palestinians.

“Citizen K,” 5 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

Oscar winning writer/director Alex Gibney’s revelatory “Citizen K” is an intimate yet sweeping look at post-Soviet Russia from the perspective of the enigmatic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oligarch turned political dissident. Benefitting from the chaos that ensued after the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., Khodorkovsky was able to amass a fortune in financing and oil production and became the richest man in Russia.

“Just Mercy,” 8 p.m. Wheeler Opera House

“Just Mercy” is the true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battles for justice in Alabama. Stevenson refuses to back down as he fights a legal system without mercy stacked against him and his clients at every turn. One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man whose clear innocence means nothing to the corrupt and compassionless forces Stevenson doggedly takes on.

Advance tickets will be available for purchase to Aspen Film members beginning Monday, Dec. 16, and to the public on Friday, Dec. 20. 

Tickets can be purchased at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office and Aspen Film offers complimentary tickets to all voting guild members; if you are an entertainment guild voter, sign up in advance by emailing or calling 970-925-6882.

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