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Aspen Film announces the selections

Aspen Film announces today the selections that will be screening at the 32nd annual Aspen Filmfest, a five-day feast of film and fall color that will be held September 29 - October 3, 2010. With an emphasis on independent productions from around the world and a uniquely intimate scale, the festival champions filmmaking at its finest for film lovers and filmmakers alike. Screenings will be held at the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale, and tickets will go on sale September 15.

Over the course of the festival, Aspen Filmfest will light up the screen with award-winning new narrative and documentary features, as well as previews of eagerly anticipated new films and special events. "John Lennon, George VI, Aron Ralston ... this year's eclectic selection celebrates richly characterized stories about incredible people from around the globe and across time," says Aspen Film Artistic Director Laura Thielen. "From the stoops of Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood to the remote steppes of Tibet, our 32nd edition of Filmfest travels the world and promises laughter, intrigue, adventure, and surprise at every turn."

In addition to seven films announced just before Labor Day, as well as a special film/concert previously announced for opening night, the Filmfest 2010 program includes:

127 HOURS (USA) 2010
Director: Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire)
Cast: James Franco
The harrowing account of former Aspen local Aron Ralston, who performed one of the most dramatic self-rescues in recent memory after a gigantic boulder dislodged, trapping him in an isolated canyon in Utah for five days with seemingly insurmountable odds of survival. This viscerally gripping story will enthrall both those who remember the real-life drama as it unfolded and those who wonder what an incredible test of character can look like in the wild outdoors.

BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT (USA/Sierra Leone) 2010
Directors: Dave LaMattina, Chad N. Walker
When sixth-graders at a Brooklyn Bed-Stuy charter school start an unlikely pen-pal exchange with a group of war orphans in Sierra Leone, they discover they have more in common with their African counterparts than they ever could have imagined.
Awards: Runner-up for best documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival.

HEARTBREAKER (France) 2010
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Cast: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis
Alex is a professional heartbreaker, hired by concerned family members or friends to deploy his irresistible allure and turn any husband, fiancé, or boyfriend into an ex. But his perfect track record faces an unprecedented challenge in this delightful comedy featuring two of France's hottest young stars.

HIDEAWAY (France) 2009
Director: François Ozon (Swimming Pool, Under the Sand)
Cast: Isabelle Carré, Louis-Ronan Choisy, Melvil Poupaud, Pierre Louis-Calixte
This deeply affecting story of love, trust, and the complexity of the maternal instinct focuses on two young lovers whose lives are tainted by drugs along with an unexpected guest. Acclaimed director Ozon delivers a subtle yet touching exploration of relationships that challenges traditional ideas of where we expect to find happiness.
Awards: Winner of a special jury prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.

HOT FLASH HAVOC (USA) 2010
Director: Marc Bennett
A provocative and enlightening look at the confusion and misrepresentations regarding perimenopause and menopause, through personal stories and interviews with leading health experts. Co-produced by Aspen local Heidi Houston, this humorous, controversial documentary takes on the 2002 Women's Health Initiative study and attempts to set the record straight.
Awards: Nominated for best documentary on a contemporary issue at the DocMiami International Film Festival.

KAWASAKI'S ROSE (Czech Republic) 2009
Director: Jan Hrebejk (Beauty in Trouble, Shameless, Teddy Bear)
An eminent psychiatrist is about to receive a prestigious award for his campaign against the inhumanities of the Communist regime -- until a chance discovery demands accountability. This richly characterized family drama tackles the sensitive issue of the Czech Republic coming to terms with its collaborationist past.
Awards: Winner of two independent jury awards at the Berlin International Film Festival.

KINGS OF PASTRY (USA) 2009
Directors: DA Pennebaker (Don't Look Back) and Chris Hegedus (The War Room)
This irresistibly engaging documentary traces the journey of three finalists as they train and compete for the pastry world's highest honor: Meilleur Ouvrier de France. The details of the competition -- an epic three-day test of passion, artistry, and technical skill -- have never been made public before now.

QUEEN TO PLAY (France/Germany) 2009
Director: Caroline Bottaro
Cast: Kevin Kline, Sandrine Bonnaire
A maid's obsession with learning to play chess leads to family friction, a chance at a championship, and, ultimately, a new shot at life. This gently thoughtful debut film features Kevin Kline in his first entirely French-speaking role.
Awards: Honorable mention for a first feature film award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

SKELETONS (UK) 2010
Director: Nick Whitfield
Cast: Ed Gaughan, Andrew Buckley, Jason Isaacs
Davis and Bennett are two fusty, bickering philosophers in ill-fitting black suits whose day job is to enter clients' homes and remove the emotional skeletons lurking in their closets. Eccentric and strangely heartfelt, this film sparkles with tart dialogue and dry-as-a-bone wit.
Awards: Winner of the best new British feature award at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

SUMMER PASTURE (USA/China/Tibet) 2010
Directors: Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Tsering Perlo
For 4,000 years, nomadic yak harders have carved out a living in the remote Kham region of eastern Tibet (now China's Sichuan Province). This beautifully spare yet lyrical documentary gives an intimate glimpse into the lives of one endearing young couple and their infant daughter, who find themselves at a daunting crossroads.
Awards: Honorable mention for the Inspiration Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (UK/Thailand/France/Germany/Spain) 2010
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Sud sanaeha, Tropical Malady)
Uncle Boonmee, a farmer in rural Thailand suffering from kidney failure, is tended to by loved ones and visited by the ghosts of his wife and son. This sensory immersion is an otherworldly fable, graced with a contemplative pace and a Buddhist perspective that is mindful and playful.
Awards: Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2010.

Previously announced and opening the festival will be a memorable evening of film and music celebrating the 70th anniversary of John Lennon's birth, with an advance preview of the critically acclaimed film NOWHERE BOY and a live performance by The Quarrymen -- the band that became The Beatles. The directorial debut by Sam Taylor-Wood depicts the events and personal circumstances that led to the formation of The Beatles -- specifically, the underlying family currents that shaped the creative and inspirational qualities of John Lennon during his crucial formative teenage years. The film stars Kristin Scott Thomas as Lennon's Aunt Mimi and newcomer Aaron Johnson as the young Lennon. Following the film, the three still-active founding members of The Quarrymen -- childhood pals who were handpicked by Lennon to be in his first band -- will perform the key songs that the group played with Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison over their four-year run.

Other previously announced films are:

BLUE VALENTINE (USA) 2010
Director: Derek Cianfrance (first-time director who studied at the University of Colorado)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams
A searingly honest portrait of a married couple who try to reignite the spark in their once-passionate relationship. Through flashbacks and a present-day narrative, this film lives and breathes emotional truth.
Awards: Nominated for the grand jury prize at Sundance 2010.

THE KING'S SPEECH (UK/Australia) 2010
Director: Tom Hooper (The Damned United)
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon
Through the help of a maverick Australian speech therapist (Rush), with whom he eventually forms a strong friendship, the newly crowned King George VI (Firth) works to overcome a debilitating speech impediment and lead England on the brink of world war in the late 1930s.

MAKE BELIEVE (USA/Japan/South Africa) 2010
Director: J. Clay Tweel
A beguiling celebration of dreams, hard work, and dazzling sleight of hand, the film follows six exceptional magicians (including one from Littleton, Colo.) as they hone their skills for the opportunity of a lifetime: Teen World Champion.
Awards: Winner of the jury prize for best feature documentary at the Los Angeles International Film Festival.

MARWENCOL (USA) 2010
Director: Jeff Malmberg
When a savage attack ten years ago left Mark Hogancamp deeply traumatized, he constructed a small-scale town in his backyard, peopling it with dolls, to help regain both his hand-eye coordination and sanity. This documentary examines Mark's unique merging of art and therapy, and what happened when his collection of photographs unintentionally attracted art-world attention.
Awards: Winner of numerous awards, including the grand jury prizes at the SXSW Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, and Cleveland International Film Festival; the Cinematic Vision Award at Silver Docs; and Emerging Artist Award at Hot Docs.

THUNDER SOUL (USA) 2010
Director: Mark Landsman
Under the inspired direction of the charismatic and talented Conrad "Prof" Johnson, an all-African-American high school stage band in the 1970s went from mediocre players to international funk sensation, winning almost every competition it entered - including the Texas state championship - and touring Paris and Japan.
Awards: Winner of audience awards for best documentary at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, and Hot Docs.

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS (USA) 2010
Director: Jake Scott
Cast: James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, Kristen Stewart
Years after a family tragedy, Lois and Doug Riley remain mired in grief but cope in very different ways. Nuanced performances from three consummate actors infuse this emotionally true, gently humorous drama with surprising humanity.
Awards: Nominated for the grand jury prize at Sundance.

Tickets for Aspen Filmfest will go on sale September 15 through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House box office. And new this year, tickets for Carbondale shows will be available also beginning September 15, at the Third Street Café, 520 South Third Street (in the Third Street Center), and the Roadside Gallery, 320 Main Street. For more information and full film descriptions, visit www.aspenfilm.org. A complete schedule of films is also available in print.

Aspen Filmfest is made possible by the City of Aspen, The Aspen Times, Two Old Hippies, Stella Artois, Aspen Magazine, Aspen Public Radio, Hotel Jerome, the Sky Hotel, and Aspen Film's Reel People members.

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