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Aspen Filmfest has announced that two recent award-winning filmmakers, Paul Haggis and Jason Reitman, will make appearances at next month’s Aspen Shortsfest 2006.The 15th annual Shortsfest, presented by Aspen Filmfest, is set for April 5-9 with events in Aspen and Carbondale.Haggis, who earned Oscars for best picture and best original screenplay for “Crash,” will participate in MasterWorks: In the Director’s Chair. Haggis, who made his directorial debut with “Crash,” will be joined by Tom McCarthy (“The Station Agent”), brothers Mark and Michael Polish (“Twin Falls Idaho”) and Peter Segal (“The Longest Yard”). Moderating is Frank Pierson, who will use clips from “Dog Day Afternoon,” which he wrote, to offer insight into filmmaking.Jason Reitman, who earned the Breakout Filmmaker Award at the recent U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, will be the subject of the Director Spotlight conversation April 7. Reitman earned the award for his feature debut, “Thank You for Smoking,” which will have a Shortsfest screening April 9. Reitman is a two-time winner of Shortsfest’s Best Short award, for “Consent” in 2004 and for “In God We Trust” in 2000.Reitman will be on the jury for Shortsfest’s International Competition, along with cinematographer John Bailey, director Patricia Cardoso and film critic Bob Denerstein. Films from more than 40 countries were submitted for the competition.Aspenite director Bob Rafelson (“Five Easy Pieces”) will present part two of the talk, Confessions of a Filmmaker, April 6. The Shortsfest family program ScreenPlay! is set for April 9.The complete Shortsfest 2006 program is available online at Tickets go on sale March 29 at the Wheeler Opera House box office and at Sounds Easy in Carbondale.

Award winners in a variety of categories were announced by the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in a ceremony Sunday, March 12, hosted by Comedy Fest performer Robert Wuhl. The 2006 USCAF was held in Aspen March 8-12.Sharing the prize for best stand-up were Aziz Ansari and Mitch Fatel, who appeared in the late-night Round Midnite program at the St. Regis Aspen ballroom. Best alternative performance went to Colorado native Kristin Schall, host of the Aspen … On the Edge shows.The Whitest Kids U Know, a group of five graduates of New York’s School of Visual Arts, took honors for best sketch. Best one-person show went to “The West Wing” writer Rick Cleveland, for his performance of “My Buddy Bill,” an account of his acquaintance with Bill Clinton. Eliza Coupe, star and writer of the one-person show “The Patriots,” earned the Entertainment Weekly Breakout Award.In the Film Discovery Program, best feature went to Nicole Holofcener’s “Friends with Money,” featuring an ensemble cast of Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack. Best screenplay went to the British film “Keeping Mum,” written by Richard Russo and Niall Johnson.”The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang” produced a pair of award winners: best actor Justin Long and best director Tim Skousen. Director Jason Reitman earned a nod as breakout filmmaker for “Thank You for Smoking.” The Cinemax Audience Award went to “Shut Up and Sing.”In the short-film categories, Christopher Leone took the best live-action-short award for “K-7”; Steve Dildarian earned best animated short for “Angry Unpaid Hooker”; and Dan Eckman won best college short for “Check Out.”

The Aspen Choral Society will perform the world premiere of “Creation,” composed by Choral Society director and conductor Ray Vincent Adams, at its annual spring concert. The performances are set for March 31-April 1 at Harris Concert Hall.”Creation” is the final installment of Adams’ suite, “Five Sacred Pieces.” Each choral work in the suite – “Angels,” “Songs of Divine Love,” “Revelation” and “Requiem” – has been premiered by the Aspen Choral Society over the past six years.This year’s spring concert will open with Bach’s Double Violin Concerto, featuring soloists Julian Hallmark and Cornelius Dufallo.Tickets for the spring concerts are available at the Wheeler Opera House box office.Also, the Choral Society is seeking housing assistance and financial support for its concerts, through its Adopt-A-Musician campaign. For further information on assisting the Choral Society, call Adams at 925-3685.

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