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Aspen Shortsfest 2007 16th edition focuses on film (shorts)

Filmmakers and film lovers will gather April 3-8 when Aspen Shortsfest 2007 hits the screen at the Wheeler Opera House and other locations in Aspen and Carbondale, Colorado.
Now in its 16th year, Aspen Shortsfest is considered one of the world’s finest international short film and video showcases. Shortsfest’s centerpiece, the International Competition offers a lively, heart-warming and thought-provoking selection of drama, comedy, animation and documentary – all 30 minutes or less. From timely subjects to flights of fancy, this year’s line-up introduces a compelling cast of characters including some 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 offers a global snapshot of exciting 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,” comments George Eldred, Aspen Shortsfest program director. “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 over 3,000 short films and videos from 60+ countries. These finalists will be presented at public screenings where they compete for over $20,000 in cash and other prizes. This Academy Award-qualifying festival will host a jury of distinguished film professionals including award-winning filmmaker Adrian Belic (Beyond the Call, Genghis Blues), program director Roger Gonin (Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival), Oscar-nominated director Cecilia Peck (Shut Up and Sing), and esteemed film and television director Lewis Teague (The Jewel of the Nile, Navy Seals).

For the first time at Shortsfest, Napapijri will present The Napapijri Cultural Discovery Award and Hard C (Jason Reitman and Daniel Dubiecki’s new production company) will sponsor a comedy prize. Kodak returns with a prize for Best Cinematography and the Los Angeles chapter of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) will bestow its Award for Excellence. The Ellen Award will continue to honor the festival’s most original film. These and other awards 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 four renowned film editors Ron Bochar (Capote, Angels in America), Carol Littleton (Grand Canyon, E.T.), Richard Marks (As Good as It Gets, The Godfather, Part II), and Tim Squyres (Gosford Park, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). With nearly 150 films to their collective credit, these award-winning filmmakers will screen film clips and discuss editing, one of the most important, and least understood, aspects of filmmaking. 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. All programs take place Saturday, April 7 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen.

Don’t miss Local Filmmakers Showcase, the official Shortsfest kick-off (April 1), as well as the Lights, Camera, Kids family screening (April 8) and various free Filmmaker Lounge activities. More can be found on these and the rest of our Aspen Shortsfest schedule online at www.aspenfilm.org on Friday, March 16. Tickets go on sale to the general public on March 27 at the Wheeler Box Office (970.920.5770 or www.wheeleroperahouse.com), as well as Sounds Easy (970.963.1303) in Carbondale. Tickets are also available at the door, pending availability.

Aspen Shortsfest is a presentation of Aspen Film, one of Colorado's most active film arts organizations presenting festivals, film series and education programs year-round. Aspen Shortsfest is sponsored in part by The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Colorado Council on the Arts, City of Aspen, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Town of Snowmass Village, The Little Nell, The Aspen Times, Aspen Sojourner, Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Napapijri, Stella Artois, Kodak, Film Movement, and Reel People: The Friends of Aspen Film. For more information on Aspen Shortsfest, please contact 970.925.6882 or visit www.aspenfilm.org.

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