Aspen Shortsfest is recognized as one of the premier short film festivals in North America. Each April enthusiastic audiences, filmmakers and special guests from around the globe gather to participate in public screenings, panels, workshops, and other festivities that spotlight the art and craft of short form cinema. Aspen Shortsfest has a long tradition of Oscar® success, which continued this year with HOW WE GET FREE, directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Samantha M. Knowles. This film had its World Premiere at Shortsfest 2023 and is now shortlisted for Best Documentary Short at the 2024 Academy Awards. Prior to that, THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT directed by Anne Alvergue and Debra McClutchy, which screened at Shortsfest 2022, was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2023 Academy Awards. Other recent Shortsfest selections that have garnered Oscar® nominations include AFFAIRS OF THE ART– the jury prize winner for Comedy at Shortsfest in 2021 – directed by Joanna Quinn and Les Mills; DAUGHTER by Daria Kashcheeva; SISTER by Siqi Song; BROTHERHOOD by Meryam Joobeur (also a jury member at Shortsfest in 2020), and NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB by Yves Piat.
The festival is an industry-recognized destination for discovering breakthrough talent. Reinaldo Marcus Green (King Richard), Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Short Term 12), Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Babylon), Jason Reitman (Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Up in the Air), Sarah Polley (Women Talking) and the late Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) are among the notable alumni whose short films first screened at Shortsfest before they became household names.