Shortsfest |


Heather Stevenson and baby Ella enjoy a night at the movies.

A signal to the start of off-season is the highly anticipated Shortsfest hosted by Aspen Film each spring. The sixteenth annual festival took place last month in Aspen and Carbondale theaters, featuring shorts from genres from animation to documentary.

Over the years Aspen Shortsfest has established itself as one of the world’s finest short film and video presentations. According to film scout Mark Bielik of Cinema St. Louis, “It’s the premiere shorts festival in the U.S.” Bielik spent several days in Aspen networking with producers, directors and actors.”Five days. Thirty countries. Eighty-five films,” summed up Aspen Film’s executive director Laura Thielen in her opening statement for this year’s festival. Thielen’s husband and Shortsfest program director George Eldred and the volunteer screening committee considered over 3,000 shorts from around the world for this International Competition.

The 59 finalists that screened in Aspen Shortsfest’s annual International Competition competed for over $28,000 in cash and other prizes. A jury of distinguished film professionals judged the competition. Jury members included Oscar-nominated filmmaker Adrian Belic, program director Roger Gonin, award-winning director Cecilia Peck, and esteemed film and television director Lewis Teague.One of the most special attributes of the festival is the access to the filmmakers who travel from around the world to present their productions. Tom Brown of Wales attended Shortsfest on behalf of his film, “t.o.m,” which he wrote and directed with friend Daniel Gray. “I’ve only been here ten minutes and it’s been great,” said Brown on opening night. “I hope to come back again.”

“t.o.m” went on to earn a special jury recognition award at Shortsfest.

Cousins Craig and Kenny Curwood attended Shortfest for the second straight year as audience members. “It’s just worked out that Shortfest has been going on while we’ve been out here so we’ve gone to it. We love it now we’re Shortsfestifarians.”In addition to the shorts, the programming also included various workshops and special presentations such as a Local Filmmakers Showcase; Lights, Camera, Kids; MasterWorks: The Art of Film Editing; and For a Fistful of Dollars…or Less: Low Budget Digital Moviemaking.

Aspen Film’s upcoming events include summerFILMS, a film series presented in association with the Aspen Music Festival and School, which runs June 24 – August 13, and Aspen Filmfest this fall, September 26 – 30. For more information, visit contact May to send info, insights or invites, e-mail

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