Short films are such a breed apart from feature films that it’s hard even to consider the two the same medium. While almost all full-length movies are made with eyes on the financial returns, shorts are acts of whimsy, passion and personal commitment. Aspen Shortsfest, whose 14th annual celebration of short films opens this week, has made Aspen a central location for those who deal in shorts. Shortsfest 2005 drew nearly 2,000 submissions from 60 countries; the final cut includes 65 works from 27 countries. The finalists showing in the International Competition represent the widest range of styles and ideas, from two-minute “one-liners” to extended explorations of war, family and visual technique. Shortsfest, with kids’ screenings; Meet the Filmmaker events; and the special program the Director’s Chair, featuring screenwriter Frank Pierson, runs Wednesday through Sunday, April 6-10, with events in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.
Bob Schneider got his musical start as a kid drummer, touring behind his father in Germany, where Schneider was raised. After a stint studying visual arts at the University of Texas-El Paso, Schneider founded a series of Austin bands – Joe Rockhead, then the Ugly Americans – which were marked by the charisma of their lead singer. After the Ugly Americans folded, Schneider launched a career under his own name. Last year’s “I’m Good Now” is a turn toward singer-songwriter rock, and Schneider demonstrates vast range, mixing depth of emotion and humor, country beats and acoustic strumming. Schneider makes his first appearance in Aspen in some years, playing the Belly Up Sunday, April 3. Los Angeles roots-rock quartet Shurman opens.
Since its 2002 release, Hong Kong directors Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak’s “Infernal Affairs” has received more attention than the typical police drama. How much attention? The film has already spawned a pair of sequels in its homeland. And stateside, Martin Scorsese’s English language remake, titled “The Departed” and starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg (for starters) is reported to begin filming next month for a 2006 release. What’s causing all the fuss? The psychological thriller pits two con men against each other: one a cop posing as a gangster, the other a gangster posing as a cop. “Infernal Affairs,” praised for its complex plot and rich characters, shows at the Wheeler Opera House Monday and Tuesday, April 4-5.
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