Voices in Film Youth Forum

Shortsfest 2023

Voices in Film Youth Forum at Aspen Shortsfest incorporates a wide variety of  youth-focused programming and events during Aspen Shortsfest. The forum is an umbrella over key educational programs: Making Movies Matter, Filmmakers to the Classroom, Young Filmmaker Labs, Students to the Festival, and Youth Jury. The week kicks off with a special in-school event at the Aspen District Theatre featuring a selection of this year’s festival films. The interactive program is hosted by youth with a filmmaker Q&A following the films. The event is broadcast live so that students and teachers who cannot attend in person may participate remotely. Local and visiting young filmmakers and media studies students have the opportunity to socialize, connect, and watch a compilation of student works during a social mixer at the end of the week. The forum is produced by a youth-driven steering committee with the support and mentorship of Aspen Film’s staff. Contact Regna Jones, Head of Education for more information: aspenfilmeducates@gmail.com.

Dedicated to independent voices in cinema, Aspen Film seeks to enlighten, enrich, educate, and entertain through film. For more than 25 years, art education and community involvement in youth development have been at the center of Aspen Film’s FilmEducates programs. Aspen Film is a 501c3 and serves over 30,000 people each year (3,500+ are students and teachers), hosts more than 100 film artists and industry guests, and partners with over 40 organizations, schools, and businesses.

shortsfest programs


Aspen Film’s Independent By Nature :32 Video Challenge

Submissions open March 2 – April 2
Voting April 10 – 16 | Winners announced April 16
All ages may submit — PRIZES for the top three
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In 32 seconds, show us how you are Independent by Nature! The way you express yourself as independent and free — how you move, what you think, how you feel. Keep it authentic, appropriate, and applicable to the spirit of the challenge. All ages are welcome to submit. Keep it authentic, appropriate, and applicable to the spirit of the challenge.


Student Film Program & Youth Forum Kickoff Event

Monday April 10 (1:00p – 2:20p) @ the Aspen District Theatre, Aspen
LIVE Broadcast | Q&A to follow with filmmakers | Runtime (80 min)
Free in-person and online

To launch this year’s inaugural Voices in Film Youth Forum, the week kicks off with a special in-school event at the Aspen District Theatre featuring a selection of this year’s festival films. The interactive program is hosted by youth with a filmmaker Q&A following the films. The event is broadcast live so that students and teachers who cannot attend in person may participate remotely.

Emcee host Abigail Watkins + Haver Muss-Nichols
Co-presented by Colorado Film School
Special Thanks to the Addy Foundation, AspenOut, Aspen District Theatre, and Grassroots TV


Making Movies Matter

Monday 4/10 – Friday 4/28
Free online

Aspen Film provides films and themed shorts packages (e.g. immigration, the environment, creative storytelling) to enrich curriculum in language, visual arts, history, world geography, LGBTQ+ issues, and the social sciences. Films are available online for educators to use in their classrooms at their convenience. To request access, please fill out the Shortsfest 2023 Aspen FilmEducates Educator Interest Form.


Filmmakers to the Classroom

Monday 4/10 – Friday 4/14
Free with advance scheduling

Filmmakers from around the globe visit schools from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to share their films, culture, and creative process in classroom and auditorium settings. This program is by special arrangement in advance and requests are made by filling out the Shortsfest 2023 Aspen FilmEducates Educator Interest Form.

Deadline to sign up is March 25.


Students to the Festival

Monday 4/10 – Sunday 4/16 @ the Wheeler Opera House, Aspen
Free for teachers and students

Students and teachers receive free admission to public programs during the festival. Complimentary tickets for students are secured by showing a current student ID at the box office. Teachers with groups of students reserve tickets by emailing aspenfilm.edu.co@gmail.com.


Young Filmmaker Lab: Foundations of Sound Design

Thursday April 13 (9:30a – 11:00a) @ CMC Spring Valley Campus Theater, Glenwood Springs
By invitation

Colorado Mountain College students from the Isacson School of New Media and local high school film students participate in a Young Filmmaker Lab that focuses on sound and sound design. This lab is presented by Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute.


Young Filmmaker Lab: Student Works and Filmmaker Feedback

Friday April 14 (10:30a – 12:00p) @ the Isis Theatre, Aspen
By invitation

Visiting and local film students have the opportunity to share their films for feedback from visiting festival filmmakers. This casual critique offers students insight into what is working with their films and what might be improved upon. Films are watched together on the big screen followed by time for input and discussion.


Shortsfest Industry Panels & Filmmaker Workshops

Wednesday 4/12, Thursday 4/13, Friday 4/14, Saturday 4/15
Free for teachers and students

Students and teachers are invited to attend panel discussion and workshops with filmmakers and industry guests during the festival. Groups of 10+ need to reserve seating in advance.


Youth Forum Student Mixer

Friday April 14 (6:30p – 8:00p) @ the Isis Theater, Aspen
By invitation

Local and visiting young filmmakers and media studies students have the opportunity to socialize, connect, and watch a compilation of student work. The reception is by invitation, and students are invited to watch the festival’s Friday night film programs together, before and after, as well.


Aspen Shortsfest Youth Jury

Monday 4/10 – Sunday 4/16
By invitation

The Aspen Shortsfest Youth Jury is a group of seven high-school-age students who share a passion for film and are interested in learning how to analyze short films, think critically, and discuss a selection of films that are in competition at the 32nd Annual Aspen Shortsfest. The Youth Jury presents the Youth Jury Award, a $1250 prize, to a winning film along with a statement highlighting the merits of the film and the jury’s decision-making process. This is a coveted award from filmmakers who value the impressions, thoughts, and engagement from today’s youth.


For more information about programs or how to get involved, please contact Regna Jones, Head of Education Development and Programs aspenfilmeducates@gmail.com

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Working to Enlighten, Enrich, Educate, and Entertain Through Film