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Fresh news for Aspen Fest

Today Aspen Filmfest announced the program for its 26th edition which runs September 29 - October 3 in Aspen at the Wheeler Opera House, Carbondale's Crystal Theatre and The Springs Theatre in Glenwood Springs.
This annual highly respected festival will host a diverse array of features, documentaries and special presentations including an in-person tribute to Michael Douglas, a panel on the new political documentary, and acclaimed features and documentaries from around the world. Tickets go on sale September 22 at the Wheeler Box Office in Aspen, Sounds Easy in Carbondale and the Book Train in Glenwood Springs. The full schedule and program updates are available online at

In announcing the line-up Executive Director Laura Thielen said, "One of the pleasures of our festival is that movie lovers can easily get their arms around this intimately-scaled yet rich and varied program. There's comedy, drama, documentary, filmmaker appearances and more. From Michael Douglas to Bhutan to previews of eagerly anticipated fall releases featuring great talent, this edition of Aspen Filmfest offers something for everybody."

Kicking off the festival, acclaimed actor-producer MICHAEL DOUGLAS will receive this year's INDEPENDENT BY NATURE AWARD. This award recognizes screen artists whose work has made a significant contribution to film culture. The tribute will feature an on stage interview with Douglas hosted by director Joel Schumacher. Known for films like BATMAN and the upcoming PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Schumacher directed Douglas in one of his most unusual roles in, FALLING DOWN. In response to the powerful and politically-charged documentaries of recent months with films like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Super Size Me, Aspen Filmfest will present FAHRENHEIT, FRIES, FOX AND FAIRNESS: The New Political Documentary, a panel discussion with some of the principals responsible for this new wave. The five day festival closes with LES CHORISTES (THE CHOIR) a smash runaway hit in France. This emotional, music-filled film features a splendid cast and glorious score. The film marks the directorial debut of Christophe Barratier, a classical musician turned filmmaker.

* AROUND THE BEND, a splendidly cast feature starring Michael Caine, Christopher Walken and Josh Lucas, marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Jordan Roberts (ROAD TO PERDITION) Four generations of the Lair family are drawn by circumstances to air the closets and heal old wounds. Funny and poignant. Jason Roberts expected.
* THE BEST OF YOUTH; this year's Festival Centerpiece is a six-hour award winning Italian film offering immersive pleasures not typically afforded by the two-hour feature convention. This extraordinary family chronicle traces the lives, loves, and experiences of a middle-class Roman family over forty years beginning in 1966.
* BORN INTO BROTHELS is the winner of many awards including Sundance's Audience Award for Best Documentary; this film chronicles a unique photography workshop for children in India. Two years ago the photography exhibit, Calcutta Kids showed at the Woody Creek Gallery. Subsequently, photographer Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman made this film about the project. In conjunction with the screening there will be a photography exhibit in the Wheeler lobby. Zana Briski expected.
* DEAR FRANKIE starring Emily Mortimer, is an audience favorite on the international festival circuit, this lovely first film features marvelous performances and a wonderful story about families and love in unexpected places.
* I (HEART) HUCKABEES is David O. Russell's latest, an existential comedy starring Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, and Isabelle Huppert. Corporate greed vs. the meaning of life. Developers vs. environmentalists. TV commercials vs. poetry. Audacious and brilliant, a film that takes on the big issues with flair and fun.
* THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS, Stephen Hopkins' screen biography of one of contemporary film comedy's most accomplished figures featuring an all-star cast including Geoffrey Rush, Charlize Theron, John Lithglow, Stanley Tucci, Miriam Margolyes and Emily Watson.
* MONUMENTAL: DAVID BROWER'S FIGHT FOR WILD AMERICA is a new film on pioneering environmental activist and Sierra Club visionary, David Brower, who took on the federal government in a series of landmark battles. A personal portrait featuring Brower's own wilderness footage and recollections.
* MOTORCYCLE DIAIRIES, Walter Salles's highly acclaimed latest, is a film adapted from the journals of Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his traveling companion, Dr. Alberto Granado. In 1952 they were two young men in their 20s eager to flee the nest and experience the world so they hit the road.
* STAGE BEAUTY, a spirited plunge into the backstage world of Restoration England, tells the tale of actor Edward "Ned" Jynaston (Billy Crudup). Also featuring Rupert Everett and Claire Danes
* TARNATION, created on iMovie and executive produced by Gus Van Sant and John Cameron Mitchell (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH), this fiercely personal self-portrait by first-time filmmaker Jonathan Caouette eschews traditional documentary techniques to confront and explore a profoundly disturbing family history. This stunning blend of psychedelic fever dream, searing autobiography, and clinical analysis of an extraordinarily complicated life is bound to provoke lots of reactions.
* TRAVELERS AND MAGICIANS, a far cry from Hollywood or Bollywood, Bhutan nevertheless does produce a film every now and then. At the center of this gentle fairy tale is a young Bhutanese obsessed with America and the slightly irritating monk he meets along the road.
* THE WOOL CAP is the latest from the Emmy Award-winning collaboration behind the critically acclaimed DOOR TO DOOR (Filmfest 2001) reteams for this film, this year's Free Community Presentation. Actor William H. Macy stars and writer-director Steven Schachter directs. Macy plays a mute building supervisor who unexpectedly (and begrudgingly) finds himself custodian of a 12-year old girl abandoned by her mother. What begins as a resented burden for both transforms into a heart-warming tale of love, family and the ties that bind.

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