Fests or festival? | AspenTimes.com

Fests or festival?

Stewart Oksenhorn

Quick now: Is Aspen Filmfest an organization that presents film festivals, among other things, or is it a film festival itself?For 28 years, the answer has been both, which has caused a small amount of confusion and explanation. Aspen Filmfest is an early-fall festival of independent movies, put on by an entity, likewise called Aspen Filmfest, which also presents such events as Aspen Shortsfest and Academy Screenings, as well as educational programs and workshops.Seeking to put an end to any confusion, the organization has announced a name change. The organization is now known as Aspen Film, leaving the Aspen Filmfest name for the group’s flagship festival. The new name, along with a new set of graphic icons, will make their debut at next month’s Academy Screenings series.”Increasingly, as our events have grown – in profile, and as we have added events – the name Aspen Filmfest was not adequate and caused lots of confusion,” said Laura Thielen, executive director of Aspen Film. “People thought of the fall event. They didn’t always realize it was the same organization that also did Academy Screenings and Shortsfest. They didn’t know we had year-round programs.”The confusion was potentially harmful to fundraising efforts. “Many times, when national funders saw ‘fest’ in the title, they’d say, ‘We don’t fund festivals,'” Thielen said. “They don’t see also our Latino Youth program, or the other educational programs.”Thielen said several names were under consideration over the past few years. Aspen Film worked for several reasons.”We’re keeping it simple with Aspen Film. It sounds right. It also gives us room to move and grow. We’re not boxed in.”Aspen Film’s programs include the internationally recognized Aspen Shortsfest, a celebration of short films that has its 15th anniversary outing in early April; Academy Screenings, which presents films considered contenders for Oscars; and a series of educational programs in and out of local classrooms.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.comThe Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.