Apr 3, 2007

Aspen ShortsFest - Dispatch 1

This week the 16th annual Aspen ShortsFest takes place against the overwhelmingly gorgeous backdrop of the rocky mountains. Eighty-five films, culled from over 3,000 entries, will screen this week in the snowy resort town, 59 of which will compete in the international competition. A quiet, stately affair run by veteran programmer George Eldard and executive director Laura Thielen, the oscar qualifying fest boasts a fabulous reputation and one of the most impressive slate of international shorts of any North American film festival, placing it among the most prestigious festivals devoted solely to short films in North America. The festival kicked off yesterday with an out of competition shorts block of films by local filmmakers. The winner of the audience award at that screening, Bill Fisher's experimental short "Whirling Dirvish", a lyrical, voice over driven vehicle for his daughter, screened as part of competition program one, along with a number of terrific films, especially NYU grad student Philip Van's brisk distopian sci-fi relationship comedy "High Maintanence" and "McLaren's Negatives", Marie Josee Saint-Pierre animated documentary about Scotch born, Canadian based avant-garde animator Norman McLaren. More on those films in subsequent posts, but I'm off to program two which includes actress Jennifer Aniston's directorial debut "Room 10", starring Robin Wright Penn and palestinian filmmaker Cherien Dabis' drama "Make a Wish".