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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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27th Aspen FilmFest: its a wrap

Aspen Filmfest played to significant crowds during its 27th edition. Audiences applauded a wide range of programs and filmmakers to the tune of several sold out shows in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, including the Independent by Nature Award tribute to Rob Reiner, Transamerica with Felicity Huffman, and the highly anticipated The Squid and the Whale. The award for Audience Favorite Feature went to Carroll Ballard?s heart warming adventure Duma, while the Audience Favorite Documentary went to What Remains of Us, a powerful film about Tibet. Both audience awards are sponsored by The Aspen Times.

Festival attendance was up 13% over last year with over 7,600 people attending the five-day event. Executive Director, Laura Thielen, comments: ?Undoubtedly, the most inspiring aspect of this very festive Filmfest was the audience. From school kids to industry professionals on holiday, we attracted a diverse crowd who attended film after film, truly embracing a wide array of films and topics. Documentaries and features alike attracted full and captive audiences. It was a pleasure to see everyone come together and journey around the world through film.? In addition, filmmakers visited 350 school kids in classrooms valley-wide. In all, over 850 students benefited from Aspen Filmfest?s Schools to the Theatre, Filmmakers to the Classroom and Schools to the Theatre programs.

From the moment tickets went on sale, it was apparent this edition of Aspen Filmfest would take on an enthusiastic energy all its own. Four shows sold out in four hours, a precursor to many great moments throughout the festival. At the Wheeler Opera House, Kathy Bates hosted a lively on-stage interview with Rob Reiner (who directed Bates in her Oscar winning performance in Misery and in the upcoming Rumor Has It). Reiner humorously and thoughtfully recounted pivotal moments and motivations throughout his career. The benefit dinner that followed at the Hotel Jerome raised money for Aspen Filmfest?s year round youth education programs. Aspen?s own Bob Rafelson (director of classics like Five Easy Pieces and The Postman Always Rings Twice) enchanted audiences with his insights to filmmaking, including early work with Jack Nicholson. Felicity Huffman, who gives a remarkable performance in the new Transamerica, took time from the set of ?Desperate Housewives? to attend the festival and talk about her first feature lead role.

Other guests included Kalsang Dolma (What Remains of Us), who received a standing ovation for her thought-provoking documentary on Tibet. Hank Rogerson (Shakespeare Behind Bars) shared his experiences filming The Tempest inside a Kentucky prison, and Carol Hopcraft (author of the book upon which Duma is based) spoke about the adventure of a boy and his cheetah.

To download high res press images, please visit:
http://www.aspenfilm.org/index.cfm?S=5#photos

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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