Cinema Under The Stars closes Monday with ‘Thelma and Louise’
September 8, 2023
When veteran film producer and part-time resident of Snowmass Mimi Polk Gitlin first came across the script for the 1991 film “Thelma and Louise” (while running Ridley Scott’s production company), she had no idea what a cultural phenomenon the film would become.
“When I first read it, I just thought what an amazing script with two female leads, celebrating their friendship, free spirit, their freedom, and there was substance and humor,” Polk Gitlin said. “I was blown away by the success. I didn’t know it would make as big of a splash as it did.”
Polk Gitlin said that although she didn’t feel like she was either a Thelma or Louise, she connected with the characters’ desire to just get in a car with a friend and drive, harkening back to a road trip she took with eight girlfriends from her native Minnesota to Florida as a young woman and the truckers, characters, and adventures they encountered on the road.
“Being strong, getting out there, not being pushed down, or playing the stereotypical role of a woman in that time is what I related to,” she said.
The audience’s reaction to the film proved it was a message that a lot of moviegoers were eager to see on the big screen.
After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 1991, the film about two best friends on a road trip gone wrong became a huge critical and commercial success, receiving six Academy Award nominations and snagged the Oscar for writer Callie Khouri for Best Original Screenplay. Scott was nominated for Best Director, and both the film stars, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, were nominated for Best Actress. The film was inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry in December 2016.
On Monday, thanks to a partnership between The Little Nell and Aspen Film, anyone can experience an outdoor screening of “Thelma and Louise” during the last Cinema Under the Stars presentation of the season.
The film will be shown at the base of Aspen Mountain. Admission is complimentary for lawn seating and open to hotel guests and the public. Beach blankets and fold-up chairs are provided at no charge for use during the film. To enhance the upscale, summer-camp, movie-night vibe, homemade popcorn, limited snacks, and drinks are available for purchase.
“The Nell has done such an amazing job with this,” she said. “I went to see ‘Good Will Hunting,’ and I’d forgotten how brilliant it was. It was so great to be under the stars, with the community enjoying the film. It’s an incredible collaboration with them and Aspen Film, and we hope to do it again next year.”
Polk Gitlin, who serves on the Board of Aspen Film, has a long history with the Roaring Fork Valley. She said that although she grew up in Minnesota, she came to Aspen throughout her childhood for family vacations. When it came time to buy a ski home 25 years ago, wanting to provide her children the same experience, she settled on Snowmass.
“I chose the Aspen area because it was so rich in culture. Everywhere from Glenwood to Aspen, there are tons of different creative communities coming together,” she said. “You had Aspen Ideas, Aspen Film, JAS, and all the incredible things that the valley has to offer.”
She’s passionate about her work with Aspen Film, the newly-acquired Isis Theatre, and the future of the space, noting that although they aren’t quite ready to unveil their plans, the theater will not only be a home for Aspen Film, but also a hub for the entire community.
For those who are familiar with the film and others who are seeing it for the first time, Polk Gitlin encourages you to dress warmly, bring an extra blanket, and settle into a fun night of cinema.
“I don’t want to say too much, but you can look forward to an entertaining and heartfelt road trip movie with two close friends who make bold and brave moves in order to celebrate their free spirit and their friendship,” she said. “And I would say, just enjoy the ride.”
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