ASPEN FILM ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR 40TH ANNIVERSARY FILMFEST

ASPEN FILM ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR 40TH ANNIVERSARY FILMFEST

ASPEN, CO (August 27, 2019) – Aspen Film is proud to announce the program for its 40th Anniversary Filmfest, which will showcase top filmmaking from across the globe at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House and Metropolitan’s Isis Theatre from September 23-29, 2019, and a weighty lineup of documentaries at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale from September 27-29, 2019. In addition to screenings of highly anticipated fall previews and award-winning features and documentaries, panel discussions with special guests punctuate the week-long festival, which celebrates 40 years of Independent by Nature.

“We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about celebrating our 40th anniversary in conjunction with our 40th Filmfest,” says Aspen Film Executive + Artistic Director Susan Wrubel. “We are excited to continue our founder Ellen Kohner Hunt’s vision – keeping our focus on independent cinema, seeking out non-mainstream films whose directors have unique stories to tell.”  Wrubel also adds, “This year our films range from several Cannes Film Festival selections, including the Palme d’Or winner; engaging biographies about incredible people who persevered through adversity to bring about change; political satires and even a world premiere. In addition, we are presenting our first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Cinematic Arts to filmmaker and Aspenite Bob Rafelson.”

Advance tickets will be available for purchase to Aspen Film members beginning Wednesday, September 4 and to the public on Monday, September 9. Tickets can be purchased at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office and aspenshowtix.com. Festival passes and memberships can be purchased at aspenfilm.org/aspen-film-membership/

Below is the complete lineup of films. A comprehensive listing of all events, including special guests, will be announced soon.

40TH ASPEN FILMFEST PROGRAM

Fantastic Fungi (1 hr 21 min.)
Mon, Sept 23 | 3:00 PM | Isis Theatre
FANTASTIC FUNGI is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet. Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges. (USA, 2019) Director: Louie Schwartzberg

A Hidden Life (2 hrs 53 min.)
Mon, Sept 23 | 7 PM | Wheeler Opera House
Based on real events, A HIDDEN LIFE is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani and children that keeps his spirit alive. (USA, 2019) Director: Terrence Malick; Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival, François Chalais Award, 2019

Serendipity (1 hr 16 min.)
Tue, Sept 24 | 12 PM | Isis Theatre
Multi-disciplinary French artist Prune Nourry has gained international recognition for her thought-provoking, educational, and often times humorous projects exploring bioethics through sculpture as well as video, photography, and performance. At the young age of 31, Prune is diagnosed with breast cancer. She starts documenting her treatment and its effect on her own body, turning her medical odyssey into an epic artistic adventure as she discovers new meaning in her impressive body of work and its serendipitous relationship to her own survival. Director: Prune Nourry; Berlin International Film Festival 2019

What Will Become of Us (1hr 12 min.)
Tue, Sept 24 | 2 PM | Isis Theatre
Frank Lowy, founder of shopping mall giant Westfield, started with one Australian store and built it into a global, billion-dollar enterprise. Now in his late 80s and facing the prospect of a merger that will lead to his retirement, he reflects on his past and events that have molded him into the fighter, philanthropist and survivor he is today. Born Jewish in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1930, Lowy survived the Holocaust, moved to Australia and built a close family and business empire. Revisiting the sites of his childhood and young adulthood, this film takes us on an intimate journey of a man who seems to have it all but is keenly aware of the past and challenges of the future for himself and his family. Lowy’s extraordinary life—from the ghettos of Budapest to living as a refugee in Palestine—is the story of his achievements despite all challenges and a testament to the value and impact of a single life in the lives of others(USA, 2019) Director: Steven Cantor; Tribeca Film Festival; Sydney Film Festival 2019

Judy (1 hr 58 min.)
Tue, Sept 24 | 5 PM | Wheeler Opera House
Winter 1968: Showbiz legend Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in Swinging London to perform in a sell-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in “The Wizard of Oz,” but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians, and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of romance seem undimmed as she embarks on a courtship with Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock), her soon-to-be fifth husband. And yet Judy is fragile. After working for 45 of her 47 years, she is exhausted; haunted by memories of a childhood lost to Hollywood; gripped by a desire to be back home with her kids. Will she have the strength to go on? Featuring some of her best-known songs, including the timeless classic ‘Over the Rainbow’, JUDY celebrates the voice, the capacity for love and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.” (United Kingdom, 2018) Director: Rupert Goold; Toronto International Film Festival 2019

Parasite (2 hrs 1 min.)
Tue, Sept 24 | 7:45 PM | Wheeler Opera House
Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kim’s sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Park’s. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kim’s provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Park’s give the Kim’s a way out of their shabby circumstances. But this new ecosystem is fragile, and soon enough greed and class prejudice threaten to upend the Kim’s’ newfound comfort. (Korea, 2019) Director: Bong Joon Ho; Official Selection Cannes Film Festival Winner, Palme d’Or; San Sebastián International Film Festival 2019

Moving Stories (1 hr 25 min.)
Wed, Sept 25 | 12 PM | Isis Theatre
Six diverse dancers from an acclaimed American company travel the world, teaching the tools of choreography to young people who’ve experienced war, poverty, prejudice, sexual exploitation, and severe trauma as refugees, so that they can tell their stories through dance. In India they work with girls rescued from sex trafficking and gender violence; in Romania, with Roma kids from one of Europe’s worst slums; in South Korea, with North Koreans who risked their lives to escape; and in Iraq, with a gifted young Muslim dancer, fighting to survive. Incredibly, they have just one week to teach kids who may be enemies, who may have been abused, who may be suspicious and fearful, to create dances to perform for their communities. Yet as they prepare to perform in public in what seems an impossibly short time, both students and teachers experience surprising transformations, unlocking feelings and stories in wellsprings of creativity. (USA, 2018) Director: Rob Fruchtman; Best Documentary, Chesapeake FF; Humanitarian Award Sedona FF; Best Direction of a Documentary, Chita Rivera Awards | FESTIVALS: Doc Fortnight/MoMA, Mill Valley, Cinequest, SXSW edu, Hamptons Doc FF, Jacob Burns Dance on Camera FF, Heartland FF, Berkshire FF, San Francisco Dance FF

Picture of His Life (1 hr 12 min.)
Wed, Sept 25 | 2:30 PM | Isis Theatre
Fri, Sept 27 | 7:00 PM | Crystal Theatre (Carbondale)
As one of the greatest underwater photographers of all time, Amos Nachoum has swum with crocodiles and killer whales, with anacondas and with great white sharks. But one major predator has always eluded him. The legendary wildlife stills photographer had always dreamed of swimming underwater with a polar bear and capturing it face-to-face on film. Fascinated by the most fearsome creatures on Earth, he has developed a unique approach, that puts him directly in front of his subjects, without any protection. Now, at the age of 65, he is about to face his ultimate challenge: to swim with a polar bear with only his camera between them. While he is on this journey to the Canadian high Arctic, he will also have to deal with an old and painful memory. (Israel, USA, 2019) Directors: Yonatan Nir & Dani Menkin; DOC Aviv, Opening Film; San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2019

40th Anniversary Tribute: Bob Rafelson
Wed, Sept 25 | 5:00 PM | Wheeler Opera House
To commemorate their 40th anniversary, Aspen Film will present its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Cinematic Arts to Bob Rafelson – renegade and ground-breaking director, producer, and writer whose career spans four decades. Rafelson was the first recipient of Aspen Film’s Independent by Nature award in 1999 so it is only fitting that 20 years later he will be honored again, looking back at his incredible career. 

Jojo Rabbit (1 hr 48 min.)
Wed, Sept 25 | 8:00 PM | Wheeler Opera House
Writer director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism. (USA, 2019) Director: Taika Waititi; Toronto International Film Festival 2019

Changing the Game (1 hr 30 min.)
Thu, Sept 26 | 12 PM | Isis Theatre
Sat, Sept 28 | 5:00 PM | Crystal Theatre (Carbondale)
Filmmaker Michael Barnett’s richly textured documentary illuminates an issue both timely and topical, but at its core captures the warm-hearted, courageous characters living within it. Caught in the center of a national debate on transgender civil rights, these athletes channel the endurance they’ve learned from their sports into their ever more public advocacy battles. Each of these dedicated teens shows immense perseverance in the face of unharnessed vitriol from choruses of parents and pundits alike, developing an emotional maturity far beyond anything their young age should require, and inspiring people of all ages to live proudly in their truths. Still, a network of support emerges to bolster their resolve, and despite the extreme anger of their opposition, each of these young forces of nature triumphantly overcomes hurdle after hurdle in their individual journey to live as their true selves and pursue what they love. (USA, 2019) Director: Michael Barnett; Tribeca Film Festival, LA Outfest, Audience Award; Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, Audience Award; Woods Hole Film Festival, Grand Jury Award 2019

Museum Town (1 hr 16 min.)
Thu, Sept 26 | 2:30 PM | Isis Theatre
Sun, Sept 29 | 5:45 PM | Crystal Theatre (Carbondale)
Jennifer Trainer’s captivating new documentary tells the story of a unique museum, the small town it calls home, and the great risk, hope, and power of art to transform a desolate post-industrial city. In 2017, MASS MoCA became the largest museum for contemporary art in the world—but just three decades before, its vast brick buildings were the abandoned relics of a massive shuttered factory. How did such a wildly improbable transformation come to be? A testament to tenacity and imagination, MUSEUM TOWN traces the remarkable story of how a small rural Massachusetts town went from economic collapse to art mecca. Threaded with interviews of a diverse cast – a tattooed curator, a fabricator, former factory worker, and shopkeepers—the film also looks at the artistic process itself, tracking the work and ideas of celebrated artist Nick Cave as he creates his groundbreaking installation at MASS MoCA, UNTIL. With appearances by artists ranging from James Turrell to David Byrne, narration by Meryl Streep, and a soundtrack from John Stirratt of Wilco, this documentary captures the meeting of small-town USA and the global art world as it tells a tale that is, like any great artwork, soulful, thought-provoking and unforgettable. (USA, 2019) Director: Jennifer Trainer, SXSW, Sarasota Film Festival, Provincetown Film Festival, Berkshire International Film Festival 2019

The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (2 hrs 19 min.)
Thu, Sept 26 | 4:45 PM | Wheeler Opera House
Rio de Janeiro, 1950. Eurídice, 18, and Guida, 20, are two inseparable sisters living at home with their conservative parents. Although immersed in a traditional life, each one nourishes a dream: Eurídice of becoming a renowned pianist, Guida of finding true love. In a dramatic turn, they are separated by their father and forced to live apart. They take control of their separate destinies, while never giving up hope of finding each other. A tropical melodrama from the director of MADAME SATÂ. (Brazil, Germany, 2019) Director: Karim Aïnouz; Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard Award; Jerusalem Film Festival; Munich Film Festival, CineCoPro Award 2019

Cracked Up (1 hr 35 min.)
Thu, Sept 26 | 8:00 PM | Wheeler Opera House
Sat, Sept 28 | 7:00 PM | Crystal Theatre (Carbondale)
In director Michelle Esrick’s Award-winning documentary, we witness the impact that childhood trauma can have across a lifetime through the incredibly courageous and personal story of comedian, actor and “Saturday Night Live” legend Darrell Hammond.  Renowned for his impressions of Bill Clinton, Sean Connery and more, Hammond wowed “SNL” audiences for a record-breaking 14 seasons. Although Hammond performed brilliantly on live TV, behind the scenes he suffered from debilitating flashbacks, self-injury and addictions, symptoms which were misdiagnosed by over 40 doctors as mental illnesses, including: multiple personality disorder, manic depression and schizophrenia. Not until a suicide attempt that brought Hammond together with Dr. Nabil Kotbi, was he properly diagnosed and treated, unleashing the memories his brain had locked away for over 50 years. (USA, 2019) Director: Michelle Esrick; DOC NYC, Maui Film Festival, Audience Award, “Heal the World Cinema Award; Reel Recovery Film Festival 2019

WeRiseUP (1 hr 30 min.)
Fri, Sept 27 | 12:00 PM | Isis Theatre
The world is in the midst of a tremendous period of transition and our current models aren’t adequate to support the future that is quickly emerging. At this critical inflection point, WeRiseUP asks a fundamental question: What is success? Through an intimate inquiry with leading business, entertainment, and thought leaders, along with voices of global citizens from all walks of life, the film explores new personal, systemic and collective models of success, prosperity, contribution and what it will take for humanity to create a thriving future. Transitioning between intimate dialogue to cinematically stunning visuals and music driven interstitials, this film is a radical departure from the expert-driven documentary, into a profound personal journal of inquiry, reflection and action. (USA, 2019) Director: Michael Shaun Conaway; WORLD PREMIERE

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2 hrs)
Fri, Sept 27 | 2:30 PM | Isis Theatre
France, 1770. Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly.

(France, 2019) Director: Céline Sciamma; Official Selection Cannes Film Festival, Best Screenplay, Queer Palm; Jerusalem Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival 2019

The Report (1 hr 59 min.)
Fri, Sept 27 | 5:00 PM | Wheeler Opera House
A riveting political thriller based on actual events. Idealistic staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) is tasked by his boss Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program created in the aftermath of 9/11. Tenacious by nature, he pursues the truth when others would have given up, and his explosive findings uncover a conspiracy by top government officials to destroy evidence, subvert the law, and hide a brutal secret from the American public. THE REPORT is written and directed by Scott Z. Burns and features outstanding performances by a powerful ensemble cast that includes Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Sarah Goldberg, Michael C. Hall, Douglas Hodge, Fajer Kaisi, Ted Levine, Jennifer Morrison, Tim Blake Nelson, Linda Powell, Matthew Rhys, T. Ryder Smith, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney and Jon Hamm. (USA, 2019) Director: Scott Z. Burns; Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival 2019

Seberg (1 hr 36 min.)
Fri, Sept 27 | 8:00 PM | Wheeler Opera HouseThe story is inspired by true events about the French New Wave darling and BREATHLESS star, Jean Seberg, who in the late 1960s was targeted by the FBI, because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal. She was the focus of the FBI’s attempts to disrupt, discredit and expose the Black Power movement. (USA, United Kingdom, 2019) Director: Benedict Andrews; Venice Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival 2019

The Times of Bill Cunningham (1 hr 14 min.)
Sat, Sept 28 | 12:00 PM | Isis Theatre
Sun, Sept 29 | 4:00 PM | Crystal Theatre (Carbondale)
Narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker, THE TIMES OF BILL CUNNINGHAM features incredible photographs chosen from over 3 million previously unpublicized images and documents from iconic street photographer and fashion historian Bill Cunningham. Told in Cunningham’s own words from a recently unearthed 1994 interview, the photographer chronicles, in his customarily cheerful and plainspoken manner, moonlighting as a milliner in France during the Korean War, his unique relationship with First Lady Jackie Kennedy, his four decades at The New York Times and his democratic view of fashion and society. (USA, 2018) Director: Mark Bozek; New York Film Festival 2018

Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall (1 hr 32 min.)
Sat, Sept 28 | 2:00 PM | Isis Theatre
Photographer Jim Marshall captures the heights of the Rock and Roll music era, from the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, to the civil rights movement and some of the most iconic moments of the 60’s. (United Kingdom, USA, 2019) Director: Alfred George Bailey; SXSW 2019

Honey Boy (1 hr 33 min.)
Sat, Sept 28 | 4:30 PM | Wheeler Opera House
From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, based on his own experiences, award-winning filmmaker Alma Har’el (BOMBAY BEACH, LOVETRUE) brings to life a young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. Fictionalizing his ascent to stardom, and subsequent crash-landing into rehab and recovery, Har’el casts Noah Jupe (A QUIET PLACE) and Lucas Hedges (BOY ERASED, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA) as Otis Lort, navigating different stages in a frenetic career. LaBeouf takes on the therapeutic challenge of playing a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon. Dancer-singer FKA twigs makes her feature-film debut, playing neighbor and kindred spirit to the younger Otis in their garden-court motel home. Har’el’s feature narrative debut is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine and imagination as hope through the life and times of a talented, traumatized performer who dares to go in search of himself. (USA, 2019) Director: Alma Har’el; Sundance Film Festival, Special Jury Prize; Toronto International Film Festival 2019

The Laundromat (1 hr 35 min.)
Sat, Sept 28 | 7:00 PM | Wheeler Opera House
A widow (Meryl Streep) investigates an insurance fraud, chasing leads to a pair of Panama City law partners (Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas) exploiting the world’s financial system. (USA, 2019) Director: Steven Soderbergh; Venice Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, San Sebastián Film Festival 2019

The Muppet Movie Sun, Sept 29 | 11:00 AM | Wheeler Opera House
Kermit and his newfound friends trek across America to find success in Hollywood, but a frog legs merchant is after Kermit. (United Kingdom, USA, 1979) Director: James Frawley

Mountains of the Moon (2 hrs 16 min.)
Sun, Sept 29 | 2:00 PM | Wheeler Opera House
The legendary true-story of Capt. Richard Francis Burton and Lt. John Hanning Speke’s tumultuous expedition to find the source of the Nile river. (USA, 1990) Director: Bob Rafelson 

Sponsors:
The 40th Anniversary Filmfest is made possible by the generous support of Alpine Bank, Aspen 82, Aspen Public Radio, The Aspen Times, The Gant, and Modern Luxury/Aspen Magazine. Aspen Filmfest is also charitably underwritten by grants from AspenOUT, Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media, Les Dames d’Aspen, Thrift Shop of Aspen, the Brenden Mann Foundation, and the Wheeler Opera House (City of Aspen) Arts Grant Program.