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30th Aspen Shortsfest taking place online April 6-11, 2021





Earlier this month, Aspen Film revealed the more than 80 films to be screened as part of its 30th Aspen Shortsfest. Taking place April 6-11, 2021, the annual festival is one of only four Oscar®-qualifying festivals in the US strictly dedicated to short films. Shortsfest, which for the second year in a row is again being held virtually due to the pandemic, has expanded its technological offerings allowing for an enhanced festival experience.


“Because we turned our 2020 Shortsfest around in two weeks, we weren’t able offer interactive experiences; this year we really wanted to present our audience with something more immersive for our 30th anniversary,” says Aspen Film Executive + Artistic Director, Susan Wrubel. “We have collaborated with some of Aspen’s most notable buildings and spaces to offer virtual access for mingling between festival goers, filmmakers and industry guests. We encourage you to join us for some of these unique conversations.”


Aspen Film partner Eventive will be hosting the festival’s 2021 viewing platform for all film & livestream Q&As. Festival goers will have the option to watch films on their computers or devices, as well as on their Smart TVs via the Eventive App for Roku, Apple TV or Chromecast. Nightly live Q&As with Shortsfest filmmakers will take place on Eventive and be available to all festival ticket or passholders.

To further augment an engaging and interactive experience for filmmakers and festivalgoers alike, Aspen Film is partnering with Filmocracy. Filmocracy is a film and festival streaming platform which enhances the virtual cinema and conference experience for all users. VIP and Full Virtual Passholders will be able to enter iconic downtown Aspen Buildings to engage in daily Sip & Chat industry conversations and mingling sessions. A virtual map of Aspen will feature the following events spaces: The virtual Aspen Art Museum will be the social space for the nightly Sip & Chat sessions; the virtual Hotel Jerome will serve as the Filmmaker Lounge; the virtual Red Brick Center for the Arts will be hosting the Education Hub, and the virtual Wheeler Opera House will be the portal to enter the festival’s Eventive screening platform.


“We’re very excited to be bringing some unique Virtual opportunities to our 30th Shortsfest,” commented Erin McVoy, Operations + Production Director for Aspen Film. “We hope that working with some of our cherished community partners to feature opportunities for social interaction and the chance to feel a little more like you’re live in Aspen, is a highlight for festivalgoers.”




Held in the virtual Aspen Art Museum Filmocracy space, Aspen Film will be hosting conversations on a variety of topics relevant to short film. These exploratory sessions will be presented by a group of phenomenal and knowledgeable industry guests. Each session will begin with a 20-minute dialogue with one of the guests, followed by a 10-minute Q&A. The rest of time is dedicated to mingling and networking with filmmakers, programmers, industry guests, and other film enthusiasts.


Wednesday, April 7 | 4:30-6 pm MT

Inga Diev, General Manager of Ouat Media, the Toronto-based international sales and distribution company specializing in short films, will be walking us through possibilities for sales and distribution of short films both here and abroad. Moderated by Shortsfest Programming Director, Jason Anderson


Thursday, April 8 | 4:30-6 pm MT

Sudeep Sharma, a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival with a focus on documentary feature films and Co-Director of Programming for the Palm Springs International ShortFest, is going to discuss the strategy behind programming and how different festivals approach film selection based each one’s mission and personality. Moderated by Shortsfest Programming Director, Jason Anderson


Friday, April 9 | 4:30-6 pm MT

Join curator Opal Hope Bennett, who recently became the Shorts Producer for POV as well as the Director of Filmmaker Development for DOCNYC, as she leads a conversation on the acquisition of short films and best practices for mounting award campaigns. Moderated by Aspen Film Executive + Artistic Director, Susan Wrubel


Saturday, April 10 | 4:30-6 pm MT

Diana Williams, an award-winning producer and co-founder of Kinetic Energy Entertainment, is going to discuss the importance of knowing and understanding your audiences – B2B and B2C. Moderated by Aspen Film Executive + Artistic Director, Susan Wrubel


In addition to the Sip & Chat sessions, Shortsfest Programming Director Jason Anderson will host an in-depth conversation with award-winning filmmaker Reinaldo Marcus Green on Saturday, April 10 from 6-7 pm MT. Green is a Shortsfest alum whose first feature, Monsters & Men, won the Special Dramatic Jury Prize at Sundance in 2018. His second feature Joe Bell was written by Oscar®-winning screenwriters Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry and stars Mark Wahlberg, Reid Miller, Connie Britton, Maxwell Jenkins, and Gary Sinise. The film is scheduled for release later this year, as is his recently wrapped third feature King Richard, a biographical drama for Warner Brothers starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, father and coach to Venus and Serena Williams. Green’s next project will be the highly anticipated untitled Bob Marley biopic for Paramount Pictures. Individual tickets to the conversation are $5 however are included with VIP & Full Virtual Pass purchases.




A variety of workshops held virtually in the Filmocracy space at the Red Brick Center for the Arts are also scheduled during the festival. These workshops are limited to VIP and Full Virtual passholders, filmmakers and industry guests.



Virtual Cinema: From Programmers to Curators

Friday, April 9 | 3pm MT

Join Eventive co-founder Iddo Patt and special guests to learn about the dramatic growth of virtual cinema, and the emergence and role of powerful curatorial brands in the virtual cinema landscape. Presented by Iddo Patt, Eventive.


The Role of Sound Design

Saturday, April 10 | 1pm MT

Great sound design is not exclusive to big-budget studio films. It is something that can be employed by filmmakers with any size budget. Learn the role sound design can play at the conceptual stage of your independent project and how sound can help you tell your story.  Join filmmakers and sound designers from three films in our official selection as they present scenes from their films, discuss how sound design helped or even became part of their narrative, and share how sound connects with music as a creative element. Presented by Glenn Kiser, Dolby Institute.


Intro to the Red Arsenal

Sunday, April 11 | 12pm MT

Are you new to RED or interested about learning more about the various RED cameras and sensors? Please join James Lucarelli for a virtual presentation as he highlights the key features & benefits of shooting on a RED camera system. Learn more about the RED camera’s technological achievements and see why a RED camera is the perfect addition to your arsenal for both motion and stills. Presented by James Lucarelli, RED Digital Cinema.




A virtual Awards Presentation will be presented on the Eventive platform will be held Saturday, April 17 from 6-7pm MT. Awards determined by the esteemed Shortsfest Jury will be presented to filmmakers in a host of categories. Jury Awards for Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, and Short Short are all Oscar®-qualifiers.


The Youth Jury Award is a coveted filmmaker honor bestowed by a jury comprised of local middle and high school students.


The Ellen Award is given in honor of Aspen Film founder Ellen Hunt, who passed away at the end of January 2021. The award originated in 2000 after Ellen retired, and honors the memory of our founder and first Executive Director. Given to a film that embodies the spirit of Aspen Film’s originator, the Ellen Award is presented by a veteran Aspen Film jury. This year, Ellen’s twin granddaughters, Charlotte and Daisy Kohner, have joined the jury to carry on their grandmother’s legacy. 


Tickets to the Awards Presentation will go on sale Friday, April 9.



For more on Shortsfest 2021including pass + ticket options, please visit


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