Aspen Filmfest to feature Ralston drama |

Aspen Filmfest to feature Ralston drama

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Chuck ZlotnickJames Franco stars as Aron Ralston in director Danny Boyle's "127 Hours," showing at Aspen Filmfest.

ASPEN – Filmgoers will get an early look at the film version of the story of former Aspenite Aron Ralston. Aspen Film has announced the program for Aspen Filmfest 2010, and among the features is “127 Hours,” director Danny Boyle’s dramatic take on Ralston, who resorted to extreme measures to rescue himself from a Utah canyon.

The film, starring James Franco (“Milk,” “Spider-Man,” “Eat Pray Love”) as Ralston, is Boyle’s first film since the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” and reunites Boyle with “Slumdog” screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and composer A.R. Rahman.

Aspen Filmfest is set for Sept. 29-Oct. 3, with events at the Wheeler Opera House and at Carbondale’s Crystal Theatre. “127 Hours” will show at the Wheeler on Oct. 1, and at the Crystal on Oct. 2. Ralston will participate in a conversation following the Aspen screening.

The opening-night film, “Nowhere Boy,” is another drama based on a real-life person, telling the story of John Lennon’s formative years in 1950s Liverpool. The film stars Aaron Johnson as the aspiring musician, with Kristin Scott Thomas as his aunt Mimi and Anne-Marie Duff as John’s mother, Julia. The screening will be followed by a performance by the surviving members of Lennon’s first band, the Quarrymen.

Also announced was “Skeletons,” a dark British comedy about a pair of exorcists who delve into people’s pasts. Previously announced feature films are “Blue Valentine,” a marital drama by former University of Colorado student Derek Cianfrance, and starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling; “The King’s Speech,” starring Colin Firth as King George VI as he struggles to overcome a speech impediment as a confrontation with Hitler’s Germany looms; and “Welcome to the Rileys,” with James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo as a grieving couple whose path to healing is aided by a teenage runaway (Kristen Stewart).

The slate of foreign-language films is topped by three French features: “Hideaway,” about a pregnant woman who takes refuge from tragedy in a beach house far from Paris; “Queen to Play,” the story of a hotel maid who, obsessed with chess, enlists an American (Kevin Kline) to teach her the game; and “Heartbreaker,” a comedy about a brother-and-sister duo who have one week to stop a young woman from marrying the man of her dreams.

Other foreign titles are the Thai film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” a comic fantasy about an ailing farmer visited by ghosts and scenes from his past lives, that earned the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival; and Czech director Jan Hrebejk’s political drama “Kawasaki’s Rose,” which won two awards at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Newly announced documentaries at Aspen Filmfest are “Summer Pasture,” an intimate look at a young Tibetan family struggling to maintain their traditional ways; “Brownstones to Red Dirt,” about an enlightening pen-pal program between students in Brooklyn and war orphans in Sierra Leone; D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ “Kings of Pastry,” which tracks three competitors in a French pastry competition; and “Hot Flash Havoc,” a film co-produced by Aspenite Heidi Houston that attempts to set the record straight, with facts and humor, about menopause.

Previously announced documentaries are “Thunder Soul,” about a high-school funk band in ’70s Texas that became an international hit; “Marwencol,” about a beating victim whose psychological recovery revolves around building a miniature replica of a World War II Belgian village; and “Make Believe,” which follows six young magicians as they make their way toward an international competition.

Filmfest will also include a Surprise Film.

Guests scheduled to attend include “Blue Valentine” director Cianfrance; “Brownstones to Red Dirt” directors Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker; “Thunder Soul” director Mark Landsman; “Marwencol” producer Kevin Walsh; and “Make Believe” producer Steven Klein, along with magicians from the film.

Tickets for Aspen Filmfest go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 15, at the Wheeler Opera House box office. For further information, including a detailed schedule, go to

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