Sundance to show local filmmaker’s documentary | AspenTimes.com

Sundance to show local filmmaker’s documentary

Joel Stonington

Annalisa Hodgkins' documentary film "Beyond Iraq" was accepted for the Sundance Film Festival. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Basalt resident Annalisa Hodgkins’ film “Beyond Iraq” will play at the Sundance Film Festival. It is one of 73 short films chosen out of 4,327 submitted. Hodgkins, a therapist based in Basalt, produced the film with her son, Thomas Eldridge, who directed and edited it. “Beyond Iraq” is only eight minutes long, but they are a powerful eight minutes. Hodgkins and Eldridge brought it down to the essential interviews that show the emotions of the soldiers who have lost so much but show so much heart. Hodgkins said the idea was really the baby of Amanda Boxtel, former director of Challenge Aspen, a group that provides recreational activities to those who have disabilities. For the film, Hodgkins and Eldridge interviewed five veterans who were learning to ski and snowboard.

“One had both legs blown off. He has no legs,” Hodgkins said. “Another was in a tank going along, or in a jeep, and his elbow was pretty well blown off. Two others had injuries to internal organs.”The film, even though it is short, shows the transformation when they got out on the snow.”When they came out, they were really anxious about reinjuring themselves, doing this dangerous sport,” Hodgkins said. “It totally changed. The team at Challenge Aspen that provides them with the equipment they need is absolutely incredible.”Hodgkins said they might lengthen the film because they filmed a group of recently injured veterans rock climbing and whitewater rafting, as well.

The idea originally came from an interview Eldridge and Hodgkins did with Boxtel while making a film called “From fear to faith: Ordinary people, extraordinary lives,” which won outstanding film and cinematography awards at the locals showcase in the 2005 Aspen Shortsfest. Eldridge, 27, was a ski instructor at Snowmass last year and started his film career making snowboarding videos. “He has talent,” Hodgkins said.Hodgkins said the making of the film has had a significant effect on her son.

“He’s just so easy about it all,” Hodgkins said. “He was getting disillusioned about the film world. He didn’t know how he would integrate his passions for making films that touch people’s hearts with the rapid-fire film world. When he was interviewing veterans, he turned to me and said, ‘This has changed my life. Now I know what I truly want to do.’ Being accepted into Sundance has really validated that.”Sundance runs Jan. 19 to 29 in Park City, Utah. “Beyond Iraq” will also be shown online after the festival is completed. To contact Annalisa Hodgkins, write to annalisa@icandifilms.com.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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