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Film program full of memorable movies

Josh Spector
Special to The Aspen Times

In a fitting end to a week which saw large crowds pack the Isis Theater for the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival’s Film Discovery Program, the program’s awards were spread around to several films.

The Jared Hess-directed “Napoleon Dynamite” added to the buzz it first generated at the Sundance Film Festival by taking home the USCAF’s jury prize for Best Feature Film. Theatergoers, however, saw things differently, awarding their Best Feature kudos to the documentary “My Date With Drew.”

On the acting front, jury prizes went to Julianne Nicholson for her role in “Seeing Other People” and “Stella Street” co-stars John Sessions and Phil Cornwall, who shared the Best Actor honor.

Guy Maddin was presented with the Best Director jury prize for his Canadian ensemble comedy “The Saddest Music in the World,” while another foreign film, “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself,” earned the Best Screenplay award for writers Anders Thomas Jensen and Lone Scherfig.

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In the short film categories, Hank Azaria’s directorial debut “Nobody’s Perfect” was the jury winner for Best Short, while director Scott Rice’s “Perils in Nude Modeling” was named Best College Short by the jury.

Organizers noted that attendance was up from previous years and that films such as “Super Size Me,” “Mail Order Bride,” “Seeing Other People” and “My Date With Drew” played to packed houses throughout the week.

Film Program director Kevin Haasarud was thrilled with how the week played out.

“This was by far the best year we’ve had in the film program with eight world premieres, the media frenzy that was generated around ‘Super Size Me’ and the strong interest filmmakers received from numerous distributors,” said Haasarud. “With this year’s success, we have really taken the film program to the next level.”

He also hailed the community for its support of the Film Program.

“One of the main reasons the Film Program has blossomed is because it has been based in Aspen,” he said. “This is a unique environment that has been the perfect place to attract filmmakers, industry executives and local film fans as well.”


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