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Local teen filmmaker shines the spotlight on Aspen’s Mary Hayes

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – For nearly six decades, Mary Eshbaugh Hayes has been the person behind the camera, photographing Aspen and its colorful characters.

Tuesday, Hayes will find the tables turned.

“It’s a short film about Mary Hayes, the photographer,” said Emily Fout, whose short film “It’s Wonderful in Black and White” has its world premiere Tuesday as part of Aspen Shortsfest. “It’s a look at who she is and the work she’s done; Mary’s pretty amazing.”



But there’s more to this story than a filmmaker paying tribute to an Aspen icon. Fout is only 14 years old, and did not consider herself a filmmaker when creating the four-minute short that is now on appearing on the silver screen.

“I’ve never really been into filmmaking,” said Fout, a Glenwood Springs resident who is a home-schooled high school freshman.




In fact, Fout purposely shied away from filmmaking after watching her brother – a 21-year-old accomplished filmmaker who is now studying at Columbia College in Chicago – burrowed away making films in his room.

“Watching him just sitting behind closed doors for hours, working on films, that was enough to make me think ‘no way,'” she joked.

But last summer, Fout had no choice to but to dive into the genre. She was enrolled in a photography class at Anderson Ranch and the assignment was to interview and photograph a subject, and then create a film. Mary Eshbaugh Hayes was a natural choice for Fout.

“When I heard about Mary, I knew she would be the perfect person for me to interview,” she said. “I’m really into photography; and she is this amazing photographer.”

Thus the format of “It’s Wonderful in Black and White,” which features black-and-white snapshots of Hayes, of Hayes holding photos she’s taken, and of Hayes’ photos alone.

In fact, Fout interviewed Hayes along with another class member, who chose to focus her film on Aspen and Hayes’ perspective on that.

“I was more fascinated with Mary as a photographer, with her work,” Fout explained.

The experience did more than foster her love of photography, however. Now, Fout has celluloid dream of her own.

“It’s a pretty cool process, so I think I’ll go on to make more films,” she said, adding that she’s currently enrolled in an after-school filmmaking class.

“This whole thing has been really great,” said Fout, who in addition to having her film screened at Shortsfest will serve on its youth jury. “I watched my brother get in all these film festivals, but it’s different being the one with a film.

“The only place the film’s been screened is in front of the class, so this is pretty exciting.”

“It’s Wonderful in Black and White” is one of four films in Aspen Film’s new Digital Postcards: Colorado initiative, which aims to give Colorado residents a chance to share their films. According to Aspen Film, the selected films “have been created in and/or are about Colorado, ideally using a Colorado setting … tell a story, profile a person, explore a place, express a quality or essence, capture a memory, or in some way convey the filmmaker’s connection to the state.”

Other Digital Postcards: Colorado screenings include:

• “Snow,” by Roaring Fork Valley resident Corrie Francis Parks. Friday, 5:30 p.m., Wheeler Opera House.

• “New Broken Calculator,” by Carbondalian Brandon Luck McDuffey. Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Wheeler Opera House.

• “Projectors: The Last Outdoor Cinemas of Colorado,” by Mike Liguori. Friday, 8:30 p.m., Wheeler Opera House.

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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