Posted by Larry Gleeson
Aspen, Colo. (April 9, 2017) — Aspen Film, a year-round film arts and education organization, announced its winners for the 26th Aspen Shortsfest, at an Awards Dinner held at The Kitchen. More than $15,000 in prizes, were presented including the audience award and nine juried categories, four of which qualify the winners for Oscar® consideration. The festival screened 64 films from 31 countries from April 4-9, 2017, which were eligible in the competition.
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to welcome Aspen Film’s new Shortsfest program director Kathleen McInnis,” said Aspen Film Executive Director John Thew. “Kathleen has helped to cement Shortsfest as the premiere short film festival in North America; a place for industry to scout new talent, filmmakers to make important connections, and audiences to celebrate this important art form.”
“The 26th Aspen Shortsfest has been an extraordinary and rewarding convergence of filmmakers, industry and audience,” said Shortsfest Director of Programming Kathleen McInnis. “Filmmakers premiered their films for Aspen’s discerning audience and connected with global industry representatives, who were here to mentor and scout new talent. It is our honor to be a part of these filmmakers’ journeys–and it’s clear that Aspen is the perfect place to celebrate creative inspiration.”
The Jury recognized films with the following Oscar®-qualifying awards:
Best Animation ($2,500)
In a Nutshell, Fabio Friedli (Switzerland)
The jury stated: “This stream of consciousness collage is masterfully observational, rhythmic and unique in its use of sound and visuals. The filmmaker uses his rapid-fire medium to remind us that life is always at once both universal and individual.”
Les Animaux Domestiques, Jean Lecointre (France)
The jury stated: “This fanciful, funny and feral fable is honored for its strong visual storytelling, humor and originality.”
Best Comedy ($2,500)
Fatima Maria Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25, Carlo Francisco Manatad (Philippines)
The jury stated: “This down-to-earth science fiction love story mixed the charms of many genres to create something wholly original. We see the handwriting of a unique emerging cinematic voice in this surprising film about people who are not surprised by anything.”
After the Volcano, Léo Favier (France)
The jury stated: “This innovative comedy uses retro home videos and comic narration to reimagine the ordinary world we thought we knew into one of magic surrealism.”
Best Drama ($2,500)
Aaba (Grandfather), Amar Kaushik (India)
The jury stated: “A strikingly touching film, this self-assured, authentic work reflects a strong aesthetic from a filmmaker whose egoless approach to his story, and performances by his non-actors, allowed for an unparalleled intimacy for the audience.”
Nothing Ever Really Ends, Jakob Rørvik (Norway)
The jury stated: “A snapshot of a relationship in motion over time, this romantic comedy unexpectedly touched each of us with the power of its contrasts: dry yet emotional, high concept yet authentic, hopeless yet optimistic. “
Best Short Short ($1,000)
Call of Cuteness, Director Brenda Lien (Germany)
The jury stated: “A skillfully rotoscoped deconstruction of the cat meme, this abstract and often horrific film vivisects our obsession with popular culture.”
The Jury also awarded films in the following categories:
Best Documentary ($2,500)
Three Red Sweaters, Martha Gregory (USA)
The jury stated: “This journey into family archives uses a very personal story to examine how memory is captured as a moment in time. Through the use of photographs and conversations, this inquisitive director gives new life to what was once thought lost forever.”
E.B.C. 5300 M, Léonard Kohli (Swizterland)
The jury stated: “With this special award, we honor the filmmakers’ ability to create unique impressions of another world where the human need for commercialization collides with the master of nature.”
Best Student Short ($1,000)
Schoolyard Blues, Maria Eriksson (Sweden)
The Jury stated: “ A beautifully crafted and personal story about brotherhood, responsibility and sacrifice, this film sparkled with the compelling performances of two young actors under the confident direction of a filmmaker with great talent and promise.”
Wañuy, Alejandro Roca Rey (Peru)
The Jury stated: “With clear focus and direction, this tense and minimalist story never yields momentum. Unlike the audience, the director clearly sees the road ahead and deftly drives the narrative to its satisfying cinematic destination.”
The Shortsfest jury members were John Canciani (Artistic Director, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur), Jay Cohen (Partner and Head of Film Finance and Distribution, The Gersh Agency), Amy Nicholson (Chief Film Critic, MTV News), Ania Trzebiatowska (Head of Acquistions, Visit Films) and Florian Weghorn (Program Manager, Berlinale Talents).
The top five audience award winners in order of most votes were:
1. Eyes of Exodus, Alexandria Liveris (Greece/USA)
2. In a Nutshell, Fabio Friedli (Switzerland)
3. Get Up, Kinshasa!, Sébastien Maitre (France)
4. Nothing Ever Really Ends, Jakob Rørvik (Norway)
5. Make a Wish, Jonathan Etzel (Sweden)
Liveris received a $500 prize for Eyes of Exodus receiving the most votes.
The Ellen Award ($2,500)
The End of Time, Milcho Manchevksi (Cuba/USA)
Named for Aspen Film’s Founder and former Executive Director, Ellen Kohner Hunt and originated from an endowment raised by the community to annually award a film that embodies the spirit of Aspen Film’s programming from 1976 to 1995. The 2017 Ellen Award Jury was comprised of Steve Alldrege, Linda Girvin, Gail Holstein, Ellen Kohner Hunt, and Lynda Palevsky.
The Youth Jury Award ($500)
Schoolyard Blues, Maria Eriksson (Sweden)
The Youth Jury is comprised of students from Aspen High School and Aspen Middle School and is given to the one film they determine as the best in the program.
The 26th Aspen Shortsfest is generously supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, AspenOUT, City of Aspen, Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media, Les Dames d’Aspen, Thrift Shop of Aspen, and the Towns of Basalt and Carbondale. Aspen Shortsfest is presented by The Aspen Times and sponsored by Alpine Bank, Aspen Public Radio, Aspen Sojourner Magazine, Aspen Club & Spa, KSPN, and KDNK.
ABOUT ASPEN FILM
Established in 1979, Aspen Film is one of Colorado’s most active film arts organizations, presenting dynamic programs and featured guest artists throughout the year. Internationally recognized, Aspen Film organizes a major film event in every season, along with an extensive education program: Aspen Filmfest, Academy Screenings, Aspen Shortsfest, New Views: Documentaries and Dialogue, and FilmEducates. With a mission to enlighten, enrich, educate and entertain through film, Aspen Film stimulates thought, encourages dialogue and broadens understanding of our world and selves through the diverse spectrum of ideas presented by filmmakers worldwide. To learn more, visit www.aspenfilm.org and socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
(Source: Press release provided by Nikki Croney/BWR)