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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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Aspen Film Festival awards

The 26th edition of ASPEN FILMFEST wrapped on Sunday evening to rapturous praise from audiences and filmmakers alike. All the films were warmly received including sold-out sessions of the MICHAEL DOUGLAS TRIBUTE, Walter Salles's acclaimed THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES and BEING JULIA starring Annette Bening at the Wheeler Opera House.

The award for AUDIENCE FAVORITE sponsored by THE ASPEN TIMES went to Shona Auerbach's heart-felt directorial debut DEAR FRANKIE starring Emily Mortimer. THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES and STAGE BEAUTY were the top audience picks at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale and Springs Theatre in Glenwood Springs, respectively.

Nearly 7,000 people attended the five-day festival, with average
attendance per screening jumping 9%. Additionally, many of the visiting filmmakers participated in Aspen Filmfest's Schools to the Theatre and Filmmakers to the Classroom programs, reaching a record 1,200 youth and educators from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. Executive Director LAURA THIELEN commented: "This year's very eclectic program brought tremendous energy to the festival, attracting a really diverse crowd. In addition to our devoted core audience, we saw a surge in new audiences, especially out of town visitors who'd heard about the program and traveled here for it. The pleasure of this event was seeing people return film after film, spending time to take a journey and share it with friends. From the zaniness of I HEART HUCKABEES to the thoughtfulness of THE BEST OF YOUTH, the festival succeeded in its mission to entertain and enrich."

The festival opened with the tribute to MICHAEL DOUGLAS, recipient of this year's INDEPENDENT BY NATURE AWARD. Engagingly interviewed by director JOEL SCHUMACHER (upcoming THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) and deputized by Pitikin County Sheriff BOB BRAUDIS, DOUGLAS delighted audiences with his thoughtful, down-to-earth manner. The sold-out benefit dinner that followed at Montagna raised money for Aspen Filmfest's youth and adult education programs. Another highlight was the panel, FAHRENHEIT, FOX, FRIES AND FAIRNESS: NEW POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY. Moderated by PAT AUFDERHEIDE (American University and the Center for Social Media), the discussion included JULIA BACHA (story advisor and editor for CONTROL ROOM), JEFF GIBBS (co-producer and composer for FAHRENHEIT 9/11), ROBERT GREENWALD (director and producer of OUTFOXED), and MORGAN SPURLOCK (director and producer of SUPER SIZE ME).

Other guests included ZANA BRISKI (BORN INTO BROTHELS) who received a standing ovation for her documentary set in Calcutta's red light district, JORDAN ROBERTS (AROUND THE BEND) who shared stories about the creation and filming of his first feature including Christopher Walken's performance, and environmental writer KEN BROWER who spoke about his father's legacy following MONUMENTAL: DAVID BROWER'S FIGHT FOR WILD AMERICA. Aspen Filmfest closed on a high note with THE CHORUS, the story of a musician and the difference he makes for the denizens of a boy's school shortly after WWII.

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