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Aspen Shortsfest 2009 Program

Aspen Film announced today its film selections that will be screening at Aspen Shortsfest 2009, April 1-5 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and Crystal Theatre in Carbondale. More than 2,500 entries were considered from more than 60 countries, and more than 60 short films were selected from 21 countries for this esteemed, five-day Oscar®-qualifying International Competition.

In its 18th year, Aspen Shortsfest is considered one of the world's premier international short film and video showcases for the trend-setting art form: the short. "Like sketchbooks, Shorts provide filmmakers an accessible and immediate tool to explore their world and their imaginations, freeing them to express the range of human emotion and experience," explains Aspen Film Program Director George Eldred. "From everyday reality to the magical and surreal, from funny to serious, from frivolous to deeply moving, the works in Aspen Shortsfest's 18th edition showcase innovative, fresh and personal visions from around the globe."

Aspen Shortsfest's centerpiece, the International Competition offers a lively, thought-provoking, and humorous selection of drama, comedy, animation and documentary - all 40 minutes or less. Along with filmmakers in attendance, an esteemed jury of distinguished film professionals will be present during the festival and will award cash and prizes to film in several categories. This year's jury includes Denver Post Film Critic Lisa Kennedy, director Louis Teague, and producer Bob Weide. The Aspen Shortsfest 2009 Awards Ceremony will be held Sunday, April 5 at the Wheeler Opera House.

Official Program Guide available at, in the Aspen Times Weekly, at the Aspen Film office, and at various locations throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

Complementing the nightly International Competition programs are special presentations.
This year, Aspen Shortsfest presents:

*Saturday, April 4, 3:00pm - "Lights, Camera...Laughter"
Wheeler Opera House (60 min.)
For anyone 9 and older who love to laugh, a collection of five funny shorts including the latest escapade from the much beloved UK duo, Wallace & Gromit.

Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death
The beloved claymation duo returns in a brand-new adventure. Wallace and Gromit's new bakery is thriving, but the mysterious disappearances of other bakers pose a rising threat.
(Nick Park, UK, 30 min.)

*Sunday, April 5, 6pm - Aspen Film's Movies that Matter & Addicted to Plastic
Wheeler Opera House
In anticipation of Earth Day and the launch of the Sundance Channel's third season of "The Greening", Aspen Film and the Sundance Channel will present a special community presentation of eco-shorts featuring Addicted to Plastic.

Addicted to Plastic is Ian Connacher's award-winning documentary - a lively, engrossing look at everything plastic: the many forms it takes; its history and evolution as 20th Century mainstay; and, above all, its massive environmental impact. Filmed in 12 countries over three years, Addicted to Plastic reveals the worldwide scope of plastics pollution, examines its toxicity and explores practical and cutting-edge solutions to recycling, toxicity and biodegradability.


One day, the sea produces more than the usual day's catch for two young Sicilian fishers. An intriguing chapter of a childhood friendship. (Martina Amati, UK, 15 min.)

Afflicted with Munchausen syndrome, Adelaide fakes illness to draw attention and sympathy. But when she falls in love for the first time, she finds that old habits die hard. (Liliana Grenfield-Sanders, USA, 13 min.)

All Embracing
One woman's unusual solution to big-city loneliness and isolation. (Andrew Love, UK, 5 min.)

Betty Banned Sweets
Restless Benjamin crafts his dreams of adventure in shoebox dioramas and plots his escape from a humdrum life. Meanwhile, Mom is planning his birthday party. (Michelle Savill, New Zealand, 14 min.)

The Cable Car
A powerful sneeze and duct tape seal the fate of a resourceful gondola rider. (Claudius Gentinetta & Frank Braun, Switzerland, 6 min.)

Chicken Cowboy
Shelly the chicken wasn't looking for a fight, but found one. In this zany animation, he gains pluck. (Stephen Neary, USA, 6 min.)

A discovery of infidelity drives detective Ray Lorenz to commit an impulsive act. The ensuing journey is punctuated by gritty suspense, surprise, and unexpected moments of grace. (Filippo Conz, USA, 16 min.)

Copy of Coralie
A copy-shop owner's nostalgic memory of a long-ago romance and his assistant's desire to solve a 30-year-old mystery set the stage for this offbeat lyrical love story. (Nicolas Engel, France, 22 min.)

Crossing Midnight
When a health crisis strikes the war-torn jungles along the Burmese-Thai border, refugee communities bravely respond in a uniquely resourceful way. Kim Snyder (One Bridge to the Next) directs this inspiring documentary. (Kim Snyder, USA, 30 min.)

Deconstruction Workers
An offbeat job-site conversation on the meaning of life. (Kajsa Næss, Norway, 6 min.)

In this powerfully-acted drama, the new hire on a beach maintenance team of ex-cons threatens the hard-won empire of work-crew boss "The Duke." (Nick Palmer, USA, 15 min.)

Every Day Is Not the Same
Six different lives. One ordinary day. It's the little things that make life both maddening and magically serendipitous. (Martin Turk, Slovenia, 12 min.)

A young Parisian actor returns to his working-class hometown, and everyone is proud of his success. Can he find similar satisfaction in a long-awaited family reunion? (Claire Burger, France, 35 min.)

French Roast
A delightful animated morality tale about deceptive appearances, coffee, and the bill, if you please. (Fabrice O. Joubert, France, 8 min.)

The Funeral
Upon news of their mother's death, three brothers return to Cape Cod to find their father literally drunk with grief, but things are not quite as dire as they seem. (Jonathan Emmerling, USA, 16 min.)

The Ground Beneath
The emotional riptides of an overbearing father and bullying classmates threaten to engulf teenaged Kaden. Does he have the strength to keep on his feet? (Rene Hernandez, Australia, 20 min.)

The Herd
Amidst the family's cattle, you'll find one beguiling interloper who's convinced she belongs. (Ken Wardrop, Ireland, 4 min.)

I Knew It Was You
In his all-too-brief career (including The Godfather I & II, Dog Day Afternoon), John Cazale established himself as the consummate actor's actor. Director Richard Shepard (The Matador) has crafted a long-overdue tribute filled with rare clips and interviews featuring Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and others. (Richard Shepard, USA, 40 min.)

Ten-year-old Moises, a Spanish-speaking immigrant, is eager to learn and a whiz at math. But he cannot understand his teacher. (Richard Levien, USA, 14 min.)

Instead of Abracadabra
Tomas dreams of being a big-time magician, but it's his fumbling life skills and attempts at romance that need the magic touch. (Patrik Eklund, Sweden, 22 min.)

A dull summer day takes on high stakes when Nathan is bullied into executing a foolish prank by his equally bored mates. (Julius Avery, Australia, 14 min.)

The Kinda Sutra
Oscar-winning short director Jessica Yu brings us a sweetly comic blend of live interviews and animation reveals youthful misconceptions about conception. (Jessica Yu, USA, 8 min.)

Lesh Sabreen?
Two young Arabs living in Jerusalem contemplate a future free from the equally oppressive dictates of family tradition and political reality. (Muayad Alayan, Palestine, 20 min.)

This brilliant blend of live action and animation tells three perfectly true stories about lying. (Jonas Odell, Sweden/Finland, 13 min.)

Ma Bar
Bench pressing isn't a hobby for 73-year-old Bill McFadyen, it's a way of life, and he's on a quest to be the best. (Finlay Pretsell & Adrian McDowall, UK-Scotland, 12 min.)

Making the Crooked Straight
Driven by his religion and a deep humanitarianism, Dr. Rick Hodes has cared for Ethiopia's sick and poor for more than 20 years. A portrait of a remarkable man's life work. (Susan Cohn Rockefeller, USA/Ethiopia, 29 min.)

The Man I Never Knew
Over chess and cigarettes on the Siberian Steppe, a young man poses questions the young usually wait too long to ask. (Prokopiy Burtsev, Russia, 12 min.)

Miracle Fish
After falling asleep in the school sick bay, wishing everyone would just go away, little Joe wakes up, thinking his wish has come true. But then an event darker than the thought of being the last person on Earth confronts him. (Luke Doolan, Australia, 18 min.)

Monsieur Cok
To make his bomb factory more efficient, Mister Cok replaces his workers with robots, but one is not so easily discarded. (Franck Dion, France, 10 min.)

The Morse Collectors
It's WWII, and far from the Front, a brother and sister obsessively decode the drips and drops of their kitchen faucet, discovering messages that have more meaning than they imagined. (David Cooke, UK, 16 min.)

Mustang - Journey of Transformation
Richard Gere narrates the extraordinary story of how one of the last sanctuaries of Tibetan Buddhist culture was saved from extinction. Featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Will Parrinello, USA/Nepal, 27 min.)

"All work and no play" spells imminent disaster for a grumpy farmer, his cow, and a fetch-obsessed dog. (Glen Hunwick, Australia, 7 min.)

Netherland Dwarf
Harry wants a pet rabbit. Harry's dad wants his wife back. And they've both forgotten that they already have each other. (David Michôd, Australia, 15 min.)

Next Floor
During an obscenely decadent banquet, a strange twist threatens to disrupt the seemingly endless flow of culinary abundance. (Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 12 min.)

In the throes of puberty, Boris attracts more attention than he bargained for with his mother's VCR. A hilarious snapshot of the late Soviet era. (Dmitry Povolotsky, Russia/USA, 15 min.)

Ralph travels to France in pursuit of his first love and encounters an unexpected dilemma. A fondly rendered coming-of-age tale. (Alex Winckler, UK/France, 13 min.)

Through painted celluloid, Georges Schwizgebel animates a series of cycles capturing life's fleeting moments. (Georges Schwizgebel, Switzerland/Canada, 6 min.)

Rip and the Preacher
A fire-and-brimstone street preacher, confronted by a young atheist, faces the ultimate test of faith. (Michael Lennox, Ireland/UK, 7 min.)

In a small Turkish village threatened by a future dam, a father sets aside his fear of displacement to celebrate his young son's birthday. (Eileen Hofer, Switzerland/Turkey, 19 min.)

The Royal Nightmare
An evil king's life goes terribly wrong in the latest from animator Alex Budovsky (Last Time in Clerkenwell). (Alex Budovsky, USA, 4 min.)

Santa: The Fascist Years
Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton exposes Santa's hidden past, with narration by Matthew Modine. (Bill Plympton, USA, 4 min.)

She Who Measures
This timely and provocative animation asks: Are we slaves to our society, or is there an escape after all? (Veljko Popovic, Croatia, 7 min.)

Short Term 12
During one particularly trying day, Denim, the supervisor of an at-risk teens' facility, has an epiphany about who really needs help. (Destin Daniel Cretton, USA, 22 min.)

Sidney Turtlebaum
An elderly and eccentric con man (Derek Jacobi) reveals his unusual M.O. to an innocent new friend (Rupert Evans) in this bittersweet comedy. (Tristram Shapeero, UK, 18 min.)

Sister Wife
A Mormon fundamentalist reveals the surprisingly universal challenges of her marriage and the unexpected reason she chose polygamy. (Jill Orschel, USA, 11 min.)

After a meteorite crashes into the earth, Henry has a most peculiar "out-of-body" experience. (Jérémy Clapin, France, 14 min.)

Soil in Good Heart
Soil - we can't live without it. The director of The Future of Food visits with farmers, scientists, and activists to explore why. (Deborah Koons Garcia, USA/India/Norway/UK, 13 min.)

The Tea of Forgetfulness
In this painterly animation, a young woman wanders into a shadowy world of mystery and temptation. (Sandra Desmazières, France, 13 min.)

Ten for Grandpa
David Karr was a four-time husband, wealthy businessman, White House reporter, film producer, defense contractor...and Soviet spy? A filmmaker delves into his grandfather's enigmatic past. (Doug Karr, Canada/USA, 7 min.)

These Guys Know What Love Is
An irreverent musical ode to love, at least according to Tom and Doug. (Thomas Florek, USA, 5 min.)

This Is Her
While watching her younger self in childbirth, Evie reveals, through hilariously wry and pointed commentary, how life will turn out for her new daughter and loving husband. (Katie Wolfe, New Zealand, 12 min.)

This Way Up
In this lively, Oscar-nominated animated caper, a series of misfortunes befalls a pair of undertakers on the way to the cemetery. (Adam Foulkes & Alan Smith, UK, 9 min.)

Trece Años
A young Cuban finds it's hard to come home after 13 years away. (Topaz Adizes, Cuba/USA, 7 min.)

Western Spaghetti
Everyday objects become delicious ingredients through the lens of stop-motion maestro PES. (PES, USA, 2 min.)

Whatever Turns You On
A comically poignant vignette about the need to belong. (Declan Cassidy, Ireland, 4 min.)

The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306
In April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis to lead a march, spent an hour reminiscing with two preacher friends at a motel. Moments later everything changed. An Oscar-nominated, unforgettable account of Dr. King and his final days as remembered by Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles and other civilrights luminaries. (Adam Pertofsky, USA, 32 min.)

You're Outa Here
Via an updated Fats Waller tune, a spunky descendant of Betty Boop tells her no-good boyfriend to hit the road. (George Griffin, USA, 3 min.)

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