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Aspen Film will present its 17th annual Aspen Shortsfest April 2-6, with programs in Aspen and Carbondale. Shortsfest ’08 includes the International Short Film + Video Competition, special presentations, filmmaker discussions and more.

The International Competition will include 53 films from 26 countries, including entries from Russia, Romania, India, Norway, Argentina, Iceland, South Korea and Kazakhstan. The films will be shown over eight programs, with three additional screening programs at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.

Among the films to be screened are “The Last American Ski Bum ” Bumps Jackson,” a spoof by Aspenite (and Aspen Times reporter) Charles Agar; “Drowning River,” a portrait of environmentalist, musician and former Aspenite Katie Lee; and “Cutlass,” a drama directed by actress Kate Hudson, featuring Virginia Madsen, Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning.

Special presentations include the Director’s Spotlight, honoring two-time Academy Award-nominated animator Bill Plympton; Real Shorts, a screening program featuring recent Academy Award-winning film “Freeheld”; British Shorts Panorama, featuring short films from the U.K.; and Lights, Camera, Kids, a screening program recommended for children ages 11 and up.

For further information, including the complete Shortsfest program, go to Tickets go on sale Friday, March 21, at the Wheeler Opera House box office.

The Woody Creek Community Center will hold a benefit wine-tasting event April 4. All proceeds from the event will go to the Community Center ” also known as WC3 ” the gallery, coffee shop and community center that opened last fall in Woody Creek.

Participants are asked to bring a bottle of wine, and local sommelier Frank Todaro will lead the group in a blind wine tasting. Participants will taste and comment on all the wines before Todaro unmasks the wines, and presents the winners. Snacks will be provided.

The event is limited to 60 people. Admission is $100 per person. To reserve a space, or for more information, call 922-2342.

The Aspen Music Festival and School’s Aspen Opera Theater Center will present three staged operas during the 2008 summer season. All three are tied to the Music Festival’s season theme, Once Upon a Time, involving an exploration of folklore, mythology and fairy tales.

The Opera Theater Center will present two versions of the classic Cinderella tale: Rossini’s Italian language farce, “La Cenerentola,” and Massenet’s French language “Cendrillon.”

Rossini’s opera, conducted by Bruno Cinquegrani and set for July 8, 10 and 13, gets a trailer-park setting, with pink flamingos, barbecue and Astroturf. Massenet’s version, conducted by Patrick Summers and scheduled for Aug. 12, 14 and 16, is a purely 19th-century French telling of the story.

Also on the schedule is Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel,” based on the dark German fairy tale as adapted by the Brothers Grimm. The opera, set for July 24, 27 and 28, will be conducted by Richard Bado.

All three operas will be directed by Edward Berkeley, director of the Aspen Opera Theater Center.

In addition the Opera Theater Center will perform a workshop version of “California Fictions,” a new opera by Aspen Music School alumnus Mason Bates, on July 24. The opera is set in the tech-boom decadence of San Francisco of the late ’90s.

The Aspen Music Festival 2008 season runs June 19-Aug. 17, with daily events including orchestral concerts, chamber music, master classes, lectures and more. For tickets, season passes and further information, go to, or call 925-9042.