What’s up? Docs at upcoming Aspen Filmfest
True-life tales from Ireland, Iraq, Chicago in 1968, the fine-art market, and the wilderness will come into focus at Aspen Filmfest 2007. Documentaries, says Aspen Film executive director Laura Thielen, continue to be the big thing in the independent film realm, and Aspen Film – whose motto for 29 years has been Independent By Nature – is serving up slices of the real world at its upcoming festival.Filmfest 2007 is set for Sept. 26-30, with events in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.”Chicago 10″ is a trip back 39 years, to a time when political protests spilled out onto America’s streets. Brett Morgen’s film looks at the turmoil surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and its aftermath. For the protests themselves, Morgen uses archival footage. But since the equally memorable trials that followed were not filmed, “Chicago 10″ uses animation to bring the courtroom action to life.”War/Dance” tells the story of a group of children living in a refugee camp in northern Uganda – but the film is not about war and deprivation as much as about joy and creativity. The film, which earned a directing award for Sean Fine and Andrea Nix, focuses on the kids’ preparations for a dance and music festival.”My Kid Could Paint That” examines a 4-year-old prodigy whose paintings, which made a commotion in the international art world, may not be what they seem. Director Amir Bar-Lev injects himself into the controversy, raising questions about art and authenticity.Dereck and Beverly Joubert, naturalists in residence with National Geographic, will have a screening of their new wildlife documentary, “Living with Big Cats.”Film fans looking toward the stars will have several to choose from at Filmfest 2007. Julie Christie will be honored with Aspen Film’s Independent By Nature Award. The British actress earned a best actress Academy Award for the 1965 film “Darling,” and has earned acclaim in “Shampoo,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” and “Finding Neverland.” She starred in this year’s “Away From Her,” playing a woman afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.Another Julie – Julie Taymor, who directed 2002’s “Frida” and earned praise on Broadway for directing “The Lion King” – had to cancel her scheduled appearance. But her film, “Across the Universe,” a musical drama set in the 1960s and inspired by the Beatles song of the same name, will be screened. The films stars Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood.Frank Langella will be seen in “Starting Out in the Evening.” The actor, whose credits include “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “Dracula,” stars as a successful but obscure novelist who is also the subject of a young woman’s graduate thesis. Jude Law and Michael Caine star in director Kenneth Branagh’s remake of the 1972 classic “Sleuth.” The new version features a script by Harold Pinter.The Irish comedy “Small Engine Repair” looks at a group of small-town men with dead-end jobs and big dreams.”Save Me” features three Aspen-area residents – actress Judith Light, co-producer Herb Hamsher and writer Robert Desiderio, all of whom are scheduled to attend – in a drama about a young man forced to examine his down-and-out life while in a Christian ministry.The full program for Aspen Filmfest 2007 will be announced after Labor Day. Tickets will go on sale Sept. 17. For further information on Aspen Film, go to http://www.aspenfilm.org.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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