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Aspen announces its line up of film & events

Aspen Film announces its program for the 30th annual Aspen Filmfest, running September 24 - September 28, 2008 in Aspen and Carbondale, Colorado. Award-winning features and documentaries from around the world will be showcased at the Wheeler Opera House and Isis Theatre in Aspen and the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale during five days of unforgettable films during the height of the Rocky Mountain fall season. Special guests include composer Dario Marianelli (Atonement), director Angus Yates, (Crimes Against Nature), director Cass Warner, (The Brothers Warner), Jason Crigler, (the subject of Life. Support. Music.), director Mark Becker, (Pressure Cooker), and director Gini Reticker (Pray the Devil Back to Hell). A dinner celebration in honor of Lita Warner Heller, renowned Aspen resident, philanthropist, and daughter of the late Sam Warner (The Brothers Warner) and film star Lina Basquette, is a social highlight of the festival. Audience members will be among the first to see films that have won awards on the international festival circuit. Tickets go on sale to the general public September 15 through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler and Sounds Easy in Carbondale. The full schedule (with film descriptions) is now available at For more information, call 970.920.5770.

Aspen Film Program Director George Eldred states, "This year's selection bring us in to the lives of an amazing array of seemingly ordinary individuals. Though varied in tone and style, their stories explore often-hidden facts of the human condition and reveal, with compassion and insight, our surprising, and even inspiring, capacity for bravery, compassion, endurance and ingenuity."


Opening Night Film: Flash of Genius (Wednesday, September 24, 5:30pm, Wheeler Opera House):
This first feature, based on a true story, compellingly relays college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns' (Greg Kinnear) David and Goliath battle with the U.S. auto industry. Also stars Alan Alda and Dermot Mulroney.

Remembering Sydney Pollack (Thursday, September 25, 2:45pm Wheeler Opera House):
Aspen Film's 2002 Independent by Nature Award recipient Sydney Pollack will be honored at a special free community screening of a new print of one of his most beloved films, Tootsie. This comedy classic stars Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Bill Murray and a memorable cameo by Sydney himself. (1982, USA, 116 min. Print courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Lita Warner Heller Celebration Dinner (Friday, September 26, 8:00pm):
Aspen resident and philanthropist Lita Warner Heller will be honored, following the screening of The Brothers Warner. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit Aspen Film's new Emerging Filmmaker Fund. For dinner tickets, call 970.925.6882, ext. 105.

Crimes Against Nature and A Conversation with Director Angus Yates and NPR Correspondent Richard Harris (Saturday, September 27, 2:00pm, Wheeler Opera House):
The premiere of this new documentary inspired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s environmental bestseller and narrated by Morgan Freeman will be followed by a conversation with director Angus Yates and NPR science and environmental correspondent Richard Harris, who will discuss the current state of environmental policy and the roles that Americans and the media play to influence its future.

Music in the Movies: Film Clips and Conversation with Composer Dario Marianelli (Saturday, September 27, 10:30am Wheeler Opera House):
Oscar® and Golden Globe® winner Dario Marianelli has just completed scoring The Soloist, his latest collaboration with Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice and Atonement), starring Robert Downey Jr. He will discuss writing music for the big screen, and show selection of clips from this new film, as well as Atonement and Pride & Prejudice.

Peter Pan, 55th Anniversary (Sunday, September 28, 3:00pm, Wheeler Opera House):
Join us in Never Land as we celebrate the 55th anniversary of this beloved Disney classic with an exclusive Colorado engagement of a film that has not been screened in theaters for more than 20 years.

Surprise Film Finale (Sunday, September 28, 8:00pm, Wheeler Opera House):
An annual Filmfest tradition continues.

Aspen Filmfest 2008 brings features from around the world to Aspen and Carbondale.

*A Secret (France), adapted from Philippe Grimbert's bestselling novel, provides a provocative look in to how choices can affect future generations of a family.
*Ballast (USA), winner of the Sundance Film Festival's Best Director and Cinematography Award, is a captivating family drama set in the Mississippi Delta.
*How About You (Ireland) stars Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton, and Brenda Fricker in a humorous and deeply human tale adapted from the short story by Maeve Binchy.
*I've Loved You So Long (France/Germany), a critical and box office hit, stars Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient) who gives a sensational performance in a film that explores the terrain of forgiveness
*Lemon Tree (Israel/Germany/France) brings us to a Palestinian village on the West Bank where one woman's lemon tree grove is labeled a security risk by her neighbor, the Israeli Minister of Defense.
*Teddy Bear (Czech Republic), called a Czech Big Chill, relays with seriousness and wit the ups and downs of three 30-something couples.
*The Pope's Toilet (Uruguay/France/Brazil) follows one resident of a small Uruguayan town as he prepares in a unique way for the arrival of Pope John Paul II.
*Traveling with Pets (Russia), grand prizewinner at the 2007 Moscow International Film Festival, takes viewers to the outskirts of a rural Russian town where Natalja's dull world is infused with color and passion.
*Waltz with Bashir (Israel/France/Germany) garnering critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival as this animated documentary pieces together the director's past as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanese war.

Filmfest 2008 features a varied array of selected documentaries .

*Life. Support. Music. tells a miraculous story of family strength and how in this case, it brings a rock 'n' roller destined for stardom back to life. (Jason Crigler will be in attendance.)
*Pray the Devil Back to Hell takes us on the journey as women unite and change the political landscape of their country. (Director Gini Reticker will be in attendance.)
*Pressure Cooker takes us on a ride with inner city culinary students who are hungry to realize their dreams and compete for their big chance. (Director Mark Becker will be in attendance.)
*Religulous, featuring Bill Maher, host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, teams up with Borat director Larry Charles as Maher travels around the world to interview "believers".
*STRANDED: I've Come from a Plane that Crashed in the Mountains, winner of several prizes including the prestigious Joris Ivens Award, gives the audience a new perspective from survivors of an amazing mountain ordeal.
*The Brothers Warner celebrates The Golden Years of Hollywood, honoring the four film pioneers who founded and ran the Warner Bros. Studio for more than half a century.

Screenings in Aspen take place at the Wheeler Opera House and the Isis Theatre and the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale. Tickets for Aspen Filmfest go on sale to the general public September 15. Call 970.920.5770 or visit, or Sounds Easy in Carbondale at 970.963.1303. The full Filmfest schedule (with film descriptions) is online at

Aspen Film embarks upon its 30th year as a non-profit organization presenting festivals, film series, and youth education programs year-round making it one of Colorado's oldest and most established cultural arts organizations. Aspen Filmfest is made possible in part by its grantors and sponsors, including The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, The City of Aspen, Town of Snowmass Village, The Aspen Times, Aspen Peak, Aspen Public Radio, and REEL PEOPLE, Aspen Film's membership program. For more information about Aspen Film and its programs, please contact 970.925.6882 or visit

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