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Aspen Shortsfest ready to roll

Staff ReportGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Filmmakers and film lovers gather this week when Aspen Shortsfest 2007 hits the screen at the Wheeler Opera House and other locations in Aspen and Carbondale.In its 16th year, Aspen Shortsfest is revered as one of the finest international short film and video showcases. Shortsfest’s centerpiece, the International Competition, offers drama, comedy, animation and documentary – all 30 minutes or less. From timely subjects to flights of fancy, this year’s lineup introduces a compelling cast of characters including Australian Elvis impersonators, a Brazilian construction worker with a secret passion, a Senegalese street kid with the power to dream, and more. From the muddy Romanian countryside to a Belgian tango parlor to the streets of Mumbai, Shortsfest provides a global snapshot of new talent from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin and North America.”Shorts on cell phones, iPods, YouTube, you name it. We hear lots about the rapidly expanding new technologies,” said George Eldred, Aspen Shortsfest program director, in a press statement. “Curiously, we don’t hear much about the films themselves. That’s why a festival like Aspen Shortsfest is so important. We focus on showcasing remarkably accomplished and deeply personal short films from all corners of the world. It’s so exciting to see and share this year’s crop of talented new voices.”Fifty-nine finalists representing 30 nationalities were selected from more than 3,000 short films and videos from 60-plus countries. The Academy Award-qualifying festival will host a jury of distinguished film professionalsAwards will be announced at the free International Competition Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 7.Complementing the nightly International Competition programs are special presentations spotlighting filmmaking as a creative process.”MasterWorks: The Art of Film Editing” is an evening of conversation featuring renowned film editors Ron Bochar, Carol Littleton, Richard Marks and Tim Squyres. France takes center stage with “Planet Cinema: New French Shorts,” curated by Roger Gonin, a program director from the world’s largest and oldest short film festival, Festival International du Court Métrage Clermont-Ferrand. Lewis Teague sheds light on do-it-yourself digital filmmaking in his free special presentation, “For a Fistful of Dollars … or Less: Low Budget Digital Moviemaking.” Programs take place Saturday, April 7 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen.Sunday’s Local Filmmakers Showcase and the Lights, Camera, Kids family screening on April 8, as well as various free Filmmaker Lounge activities, are also part of Shortsfest programming. For information, visit http://www.aspenfilm.org.Tickets are on sale for the general public at the Wheeler Box Office (www.wheeleroperahouse.com or 920-5770), as well as Sounds Easy in Carbondale (963-1303). Tickets are also available at the door, pending availability.


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