13 May ASPEN FILM ANNOUNCES STREAMING PRESENTATION OF 2020 SHORTSFEST AWARD-WINNING FILMS
Aspen, CO (May 13, 2020) Two months ago, shelter-in-place protocols led Aspen Film to deliver its prestigious annual Shortsfest program directly to patrons virtually instead of as a traditional festival presentation at Aspen’s historic Wheeler Opera House. Now, as a special Memorial Day weekend treat, Aspen Film is pleased to offer the award winners from this year’s 2020 Shortsfest in a single streaming program available Thursday, May 21 through Monday, May 25. Festival fans will be able to selectively watch the full collection of award-winning shorts or have the ability to skip through others that they may have already experienced. Tickets are $12 for general public and $10 for Aspen Film members. To purchase and access the stream, which is active starting on May 21, viewers can visit AspenFilm.org.
“We got a lot of great feedback after Shortsfest 2020 Virtual Version. Many viewers did not get to see the award-winning films so we wanted to present everything in one program to give folks the opportunity to experience these five Oscar®-qualified films, three jury prize winners and of course, the Audience Award,” says Aspen Film’s Executive + Artistic Director, Susan Wrubel.
Aspen Film’s Shortsfest Competition Jury awarded films in six categories – Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Short Short (films under 10 minutes in length) and Student Short. Winning films in all but the Student Short category became qualified for the 2021 Academy Awards. This jury was comprised of three established members of the international film community: Carlos Aguilar, Pascale Faure, and Marie Therese Guirgis. The Ellen Jury and Youth Jury were comprised of local and long-standing Aspen Film advocates, and area students, respectively.
Winner: BEST ANIMATION
AND THEN THE BEAR
That very night, houses will burn. Men and women will tremble. Hordes of children will come together and howl as they dance alone on the ashes like wild bears. It only takes one shout to wake them all from their slumber! (Agnès Patron, France, 14 MIN)
Jury Statement: “Harnessing lines, color, and rhythm in consistently inventive ways, this striking vision pushes the medium to near surrealism to reveal the darkest corners of a child’s complex emotional state. As the director materializes unpleasant feelings into beast-like form, the visceral power of the imagery hypnotizes us.”
Winner: BEST COMEDY
POSTCARDS FROM THE END OF THE WORLD
Trapped in their marriage, Dimitra and Dimitris try to endure their summer vacation with their two daughters on a remote island. Unexpectedly, human civilization collapses. (Konstantinos Antonopoulos, Greece, 23 MIN)
Jury Statement: “Deadpan humor propels this acidly romantic and wholly original story about a crumbling marriage amidst the end of civilization. Beyond the impending cataclysm, the film’s portrayal of the personal tragedy of lost love and the possibility of rekindling it deftly shows us that once our mundane burdens lose meaning, we can focus on what really matters.”
Winner: BEST DOCUMENTARY
Peyman and his friends are a group of Afghan teenagers on the cusp of adulthood, who find themselves stuck in Athens. In limbo but armed with a new-found freedom, they kill time by aimlessly strolling around the city, sharing jokes, rap battles, stories of the past, and dreams of the future. As Peyman awaits for news that could shake his false state of harmony, he looks for answers amongst his friends and family, trying to make sense of the world around him through his music and poetry. (Giorgio Bosisio, UK, Italy, Greece, 40 MIN)
Jury Statement: “There have been a number of recent documentaries depicting the lives of refugees in Greece and other European countries. But A Youth never “others” nor pities its subjects. We care about them because they are, essentially, so much like us. We respect them because they are braver than we are.”
Winner: BEST DRAMA
Moktar always said that when he will shut his bar Bablinga down, he will return to Burkina. This day has arrived, but he’s not really ready to leave. Despite himself, ghosts invite themselves to celebrate a last evening. (Fabien Dao, France, 15 MIN)
Jury Statement: “Using a distinct aesthetic voice that blends live-action sequences with animation, this film’s assured director constructs a dreamlike and musically driven journey. Memory and reality interact as a man grapples with the people and places he must leave behind to begin anew. As viewers, we are allowed into a vibrant and poignant celebration of life.”
Winner: BEST SHORT SHORT
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER
A lullaby before the great disaster. Two pigeons visit a zoo without animals, a snail measures his blood pressure at the doctor, in the CERN laboratory something has gone terribly wrong. Six moments from our age, like memories of the world we leave behind. (Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden, 5 MIN)
Jury Statement: “As melancholic as it is bewildering, this exquisitely achieved stop-motion creation finds profound humanity in its animal protagonists through an eerily soothing song. It’s a bittersweet, bite-size confection that blew us away.”
Winner: AUDIENCE AWARD
From director Alison Klayman (THE BRINK, AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY), FLOWER PUNK is a hypnotizing short documentary that brings you inside the other-worldly work and process of Japanese artist Azuma Makoto. After encountering his boundary-pushing works, you won’t be able to think about flowers the same way again. (Alison Klayman, Japan, 29 MIN)
Winner: THE ELLEN AWARD (named for ASPEN FILM founder, Ellen Kohner Hunt)
Using only cardboard, hot glue and lo-fi special effects, BAG follows the journey of a plastic bag unchanged by time as it travels from the streets of New York City, to the dump, to the sea, and into the distant future. As the climate changes, the seas rise and civilizations fall, the bag remains the same. BAG is an ode to the foreverness of plastic and the permanence of the disposable. (Robin Frohardt, USA, 8 MIN)
Jury Statement: “Environmental activism does not have to be preachy. In a stunning, eight-minute labor of love, director Robin Frohardt uses simple cardboard and glue and an engaging soundtrack to create a visually rich ode to the permanence and problems of disposable plastic.
Winner: BEST STUDENT SHOR
Eight-year-old girl Chasuna travels from her home on grassland to visit her father who lives in the big city. However, during her father’s birthday party, Chasuna finds out her father has remarried to a Chinese woman. Chasuna has to learn how to accept her as part of the family. (Yuan Yuan, China, USA, 12 MIN)
Jury Statement: “The director delivers a very personal film inspired by her own childhood. We follow the young heroine through a night that compels her to consider the culture of her mother and cope with new choices by her father that she must face to gain her freedom. This film of great mastery is made even more touching by its strong characters — a beautiful discovery!”
Winner: YOUTH JURY AWARD
Mina and Saeed live a stressful life in the Iranian capital, Tehran. Being a woman in Iran is not particularly easy and Mina sees a future for the family elsewhere. She wants to move abroad, but Saeed then invents a device that places the responsibility for the hijab where it belongs – with the men whose gaze women need protection from. The Manchador is a satire about life in modern day Tehran, seeing, our senses, and spirituality. (Kaveh Therani, Norway, Germany, 20 MIN)
Jury Statement: “The relevant themes of the male gaze and women’s autonomy pertain to not only our generation, but the whole world. While the film focuses on Middle Eastern religious practices, we see the objectification of women in our society and generation today. We appreciate the implementation of comedy and satire around this serious topic. The role reversal, in limiting men’s freedom instead of women, opens the door to a conversation around this issue with a new and creative take. The director’s choices with movement among the actors, the emotional writing, and the powerful cinematography created a fully immersive and comprehensive experience.