Short and sweet, by local filmmakers |

Short and sweet, by local filmmakers

April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Nicholas "Blake" Davidson, who died Dec. 21 in an avalanche at Snowmass, is memorialized in the short film "Tribute to Blake D." by Yampah Mountain High School senior Drew Lederer. The film is a finalist in the Local Filmmakers Showcase which screens Sunday at Aspen's Wheeler Opera House. The locals event kicks off Aspen Shortsfest, April 3-8. (Courtesy Aspen Film)

ASPEN ” After a close friend was killed in an avalanche last year, Drew Lederer sought an artistic avenue to share his grief and pay tribute.

Lederer ” an 18-year-old senior at Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs ” found his release in his short-film creation, “Tribute to Blake D.” The three-minute film memorializes Nicholas “Blake” Davidson, 25, a Lazy Glen resident who died Dec. 21 in an avalanche while skiing the Lower Ladder section of Hanging Valley Wall at Snowmass.

Lederer’s work is a finalist in Aspen Film and Plum TV’s sixth annual Local Filmmakers Showcase. A free screening of “Tribute to Blake D” and the work of 17 other area filmmakers, takes place at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House.

“The piece is a tribute to him. I wanted to represent how he lived,” Lederer said. “I felt it was something that had to be done.”

Davidson and Lederer met, appropriately, while skiing. Lederer is an aspiring action-sports filmmaker who asked Davidson, a professional skier, if he would mind being filmed on the slopes.

“I had been his cameraman for a number of years,” Lederer said. “He was actually very camera shy when he wasn’t being filmed. The film is a montage of different skiing shots of him doing what he loved to do.”

Lederer became interested in filmmaking through the Mpower Media Empowerment Program, a course which helped develop his skills using digital video technology. New Castle-based Mpower, created by executive director Alec Raffin, promotes media arts and education through classroom instruction and teacher training.

“Alec has been a tremendous resource in making filmmaking more accessible to students in the valley,” said Terry Rigney, Aspen Film education coordinator. “He’s been one of the biggest advocates of student filmmaking in the valley.”

On Sunday, Lederer and fellow Local Filmmakers Showcase finalists compete for $3,000 in cash and prizes, including a Plum TV production package for the winner’s next film featuring a mountain theme. Rigney said the level of talent the filmmakers possess is impressive.

“They’re definitely stronger than in years passed,” she said. “People are becoming more adventurous in terms of style and editing.”

In his two submissions to the competition, Lederer exhibits potential for a career in filmmaking, Rigney said.

“He’s definitely on his way,” she said. “He has the eye. He has cool angles, good music, and he kind of varies his shots. He has the talent.”

The Showcase serves as the official kickoff to the 16th annual Aspen Shortsfest, an international short film and video festival. Film screenings take place at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.

In addition, the Wheeler Film Society will help set the mood with screenings of this year’s Academy Award-nominated short films on Saturday at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and again Sunday at 7:30 p.m.