Local films kick off Shortsfest

Joel Stonington
Brandon Luck McDuffeys four-minute local showcase finalist V.H.S. P.D. is the story of movie police cracking down on late fees. (Courtesy Aspen Film)

ASPEN With an assignment to make a documentary for a film class, Hanna Kelly, 17, quickly decided her brother Evan would be her best subject. “He’s a lady’s man, he’s always with girls,” Kelly said. “I thought it was interesting and funny, so I sat down with him and asked a bunch of questions. He gave me a strong piece to work with.”

The resulting four-minute piece, “Girl,” is one of 18 films chosen to be part of this year’s Local Filmmakers Showcase finalists. The shorts will screen in a free 120-minute program at the Wheeler Opera House at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 1, kicking off next week’s Aspen Shortsfest.”I have a few clips of him with girls he hangs out with and clips showing how he flirts with girls,” Kelly said. “Little things that are the usual routine for Evan. The film ended up stronger than I expected it to be.”Many of the shorts in the screening are made by kids in high school and a few from middle schoolers from the valley. However, there also are several additions from more seasoned Aspenites such as Mike Marolt’s 5-minute compilation of high-altitude skiing.

“There’s a lot of local skiing and some stuff from big peaks in the Himalaya,” Marolt said. “It’s my tribute to the guys I do this with. The majority of us, we all grew up together. As we got older, we started doing a lot of stuff around here. Eventually we did some really cool things around the world.”In all, the 18 films are varied in themes and topics, from the revelry surrounding the 2006 world cup to a documentary of the pioneers of the Roaring Fork Valley to a tribute for the late Blake Davidson. Last year’s winner of the best student film, René Cousineau, 18, a senior at Glenwood Springs High School, said she couldn’t much discuss her 2-minute short because she didn’t want to give anything away.

“It’s a lot shorter and quite a bit different from the one I did last year,” Cousineau said. “It’s a strange little film, and I don’t think people are expecting what it is.”For a full Shortsfest program, go to Stonington’s e-mail address is