Shortsfest fans can digest ‘All Choked Up’ premiere tonight

April 11, 2023

Shortsfest fans can digest ‘All Choked Up’ premiere tonight

A Colorado filmmaker will debut her new short film “All Choked Up” tonight during Aspen Film’s first evening of Shortsfest 2023 programming.

The four-minute film is a dark comedy telling the story of a woman who must decide whether to save her husband when he chokes on a sandwich during lunch. The film was written and directed by Boulder native Allison Volk, who said in a phone interview Friday that the idea was one of those she knew she had to make, and she’s excited to share it with audiences.

“I think this is like a little moment in time, which is different from other stuff I’ve made. It’s simple and hopefully it’s relatable and impactful,” she said. “I’m excited for people to hopefully get to partake in some of the joy I experienced in making it.”

The film stars Siobhan Fallon Hogan, known for her roles in popular films like “Men in Black” and “Forrest Gump,” alongside Bodie Newcomb, with whom Volk previously worked on her comedy podcast “Curtis and Otis.” Volk said working with Hogan was exciting not only because it was her first project with a name actor, but also because the actors brought the story to life and were fun to work with.

“Everything you imagine she is, she is,” Volk said of Hogan.

The film was shot in Lafayette, Colorado, in September. Volk said she is proud that almost everyone on the crew — with the exception of one person and the two actors — is a Colorado native.

“Everyone else is local, and I think it just speaks to the strength of our Denver-area film community,” she said. “I can say that the people I’ve met are so enthusiastic and really open-hearted and just excited to make narrative films versus documentaries and commercials. There’s just a real excitement about it.”

After living and working in Los Angeles for 15 years, Volk said she is happy to be home and is looking forward to creating more films in Colorado. She already is working on another short film that was shot in Boulder in February.

Aspen Film will premiere films from around the world at Shortsfest, but “All Choked Up” and one other Colorado-made film will represent the local film community. “Sean & The Ramblings of a Sculpture Artist,” a documentary made by Colorado Film School grads Lauren Tolfa and Felicia Hettinga, will premiere on Wednesday.

Colorado filmmakers are producing strong shorts that are on par with work made from everywhere else in the world, Shortsfest program director Jason Anderson said.

“It’s a huge honor for us at the festival to not just showcase emerging Colorado talent, but show how what they’re doing fits into what’s going on more widely in the film world and — more importantly — what might be coming next,” he said. “Aspen has such a rich history in film, so one of our big goals with Shortsfest is helping to create the next chapter.”

As not only a filmmaker with a horse in the race at Shortsfest but also someone who has never been to the festival before, Volk said she is looking forward to spending this week in Aspen and seeing all of the finished products.

“I can’t wait to see the other films on the lineup,” she said. “There’s a caliber of projects here, so I’m excited to see, what did they wrangle up?”

“All Choked Up” will premiere at the Wheeler Opera House tonight. The program will begin at 7 p.m. A schedule of all the films in the program can be found at Click on the “Festivals” tab and then “Shortsfest.” More information about Volk can also be found on her Instagram page @allisonvolk.

To purchase tickets to Shortsfest programs, visit Tickets cost $20 for non-members and $15 for members. Passes are also available at, @meganrwebber on Twitter

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