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The last day of screenings, and my last day at Aspen Film Shortsfest, was split into 3 blocks: a 3:45 animation extravaganza, a 6pm block and a 9pm block. Trust me when I tell you that the festival went all out for this one…
We started the day with a filmmaker lunch at – you guessed it – the Mountain Chalet. This time, the Chalet was filled with a bunch of tables with buffet style servings of sandwiches and salads. Program directors greeted and acknowledged the hard work of the staff, filmmakers and everyone else who was involved in making this one of the greatest festivals ever organized. After lunch, the entire group gathered outside on the deck (the same one I spent my first morning on after the meet and greet) to pose for a group photo. As the group disbanded, Oscar Sharp (“Sign Language”) quickly organized the remaining filmmakers and, with the help of Romi Trower (“Chocolate Cake”), began constructing the collective short project that put everyone to work until the first screening.
With only two and a half hours before the first screening and equipped with Zipporah Nyaruri’s (“Zebu and the Photo Fish”) Canon 5d and my 7d, Sharp and I began shooting the epic homage to as many films and filmmakers as possible. Every location littered the straight shot run from the Mountain Chalet to the Wheeler Opera House. We grabbed segments from John Salcido’s “Cataplexy,” Asier Altuna’s “Flock” and Matt Morris’ “Mr. Happy Man,” along with many others. Having all these filmmakers come together in a creative fit of ecstasy was so beautiful to watch first hand and even more exciting to be a part of. Everyone was in their element including actors Michael Nathanson and John Conor Brooke (Time Freak). The laughs and smiles had never been as big as they were when everyone fell into their roles as filmmakers to create something amazing. Christopher Stollery, our natural 1st Assistant Director screamed “action” in front of passersby as we quickly gathered all of our shots.
Stollery screened his phenomenal comedic short entitled “dik,” (pronounced dick *wink*) whose intelligent dialogue and perfect concept took the audience by storm. A father discovers that his son brought home a drawing depicting the fun he had over the weekend. “I lik ribin tims dik” was scrolled across the top, which threw his father into a spectacular debate with his wife on the discussion of his son’s possible experimentation with friend Tim. Prying into each other’s past homosexual experimentations was an innocent discussion at first but quickly became an enraging argument where both parties accused each other of being gay. A tremendous back and forth between Patrick Brammall and Alexa Ashton left the audience in roaring laughter and lightly pondering their own sexuality. Making an entire audience doubt themselves, if even for a second was one of the best parts.
It seems that the Aspen Film saved some of the biggest crowd pleasers for last. I won’t say best because every single piece is amazing and memorable and it’d be hard to choose a “best” among them. Incredibly moving films about appreciation for our fathers, like Jason van Genderen‘s “The Unspoken” and Ari Issler‘s “Hector Is Gonna Kill Nate.” Unique imaginations of love like Mollie Jones‘ “Animal Love” and Brian Lye‘s odd “Love Birds.” I won’t be here for the award ceremony, which hurts, but in some strange way, I don’t want to be here for it. I will miss every single person I had the pleasure of meeting, but I can’t stand awarding the “best of the best” because in my eyes they’re all perfect. Each film holds a special place in my heart because I had the opportunity to befriend the inspirational people behind them. Apsen Film’s Shortsfest has been a special event, and I don’t doubt for a second that any of the attendees would disagree. I hold dear the memories that were created here, and hope to stay in touch with the fantastic people I had the pleasure of meeting. With no scars, all my equipment and still some money left in my wallet, I’ll make it to the airport ok. Today was a great end to one of the greatest experiences of my life. Content, happy and ready to come home, I could only think of one thing; that dude had a huge mustache.
View entire list of films here: http://www.aspenfilm.org/index.php/sf11-film-guide
And award winners here: http://www.aspenfilm.org/index.php/awards