Shortsfest not just for Aspen
With Carbondale showings educational outreach throughout the Valley and a Glenwood director in the mix, Shortsfest is about more than just Aspen. “There’s a lot of good work happening in this Valley,” local documentarian Gayle Embrey told Glenwood Springs high schoolers on Wednesday. She encouraged students to check out the Isaacson School for New Media at Colorado Mountain College. “What the students there are doing is pretty phenomenal,” she said.
Embrey herself is a relatively recent convert to filmmaking. A painter and photographer by reputation, she set out to do a movie about murals, and in 2014 completed “Beyond the Walls.” Filmed in several countries and with assistance from some tech savvy associates, it was a significant success and played at numerous film festivals.
It also contained the seed of her next piece, “God Willing,” which takes a closer look at Mais Rosol Abusaa, a Palestinian woman she met through her first film.
“We hear about ourselves a lot… Film can bring the rest of the world to us,” she said.
“As I got more involved with film, I was really intrigued by how people tell a complete story in such a short time,” she recalled later. “I wanted to try my hand at it.”
She entered the short into the festival and was selected.
“There’s a lot of local support,” she said of exhibiting in her own back yard. “On the other hand, it’s putting myself out there and you never know how it’s going to go.”
“God Willing,” showed in Aspen Wednesday night. It was not among the films chosen to screen in Carbondale, but there’s still plenty to bring locals out the Crystal Theatre this weekend. The somewhat abbreviated run also means different juxtapositions.
“We really curated something a little bit different,” said artistic director Maggie Mackay. “It’s affected by what you see before and what you see after.”
Program C, for instance, includes several shorts involving song and dance which aren’t together upvalley– an unintentional theme.
Program B, meanwhile, is anchored by the 40 minute documentary “Brillo Box”.
“It’s a really intimate, funny, heartwarming look at the way that art connects to us personally,” Mackay said. “It doesn’t feel like 40 minutes. It’s very well balanced with the other films in the program.”
Nor does the longest film always the most striking. “First Night Out” is one of the shortest pieces in Program A, but may steal the show.
“That movie really touched our programming team,” Mackay said. “It’s a two minute film that got talked about as much as any longer film.”
Both Aspen and Carbondale events include Family Fun as illustrated by Aardman Animation.
“I think all of the films will really speak to people whether they’re little kids or adults,” Mackay said.
“Each program is a thorough overview,” she added. “We thought about films for all ages and the way they’d flow. You’re trying to give everyone a taste of everything.”