Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

SHORTS COLUMN | Jury, Audience, and Industry Buzz Agree: Docs Rocked Aspen Shortsfest 2008

By Kim Adelman | Indiewire April 17, 2008 at 8:28AM

The jurors at this year's Aspen Shortsfest, which took place April 2 - 6 in Aspen, Colorado, were so enamored with the shorts in the documentary competition category that they couldn't pick just one. Instead, they split the prize between two British films, "Elegy for the Elswick Envoy" and "Peter and Ben." The ticket-buying public was also doubly impressed and voted two American docs, "Come Back to Sudan" and "One Bridge to the Next," co-winners of the Audience Favorite Award. Even the industry insiders were abuzz. "This was the strongest doc lineup the festival has ever had," declared Scott Dwyer, a PBS programmer who has attended Aspen Shortsfest for the past seven years.
1

The jurors at this year's Aspen Shortsfest, which took place April 2 - 6 in Aspen, Colorado, were so enamored with the shorts in the documentary competition category that they couldn't pick just one. Instead, they split the prize between two British films, "Elegy for the Elswick Envoy" and "Peter and Ben." The ticket-buying public was also doubly impressed and voted two American docs, "Come Back to Sudan" and "One Bridge to the Next," co-winners of the Audience Favorite Award. Even the industry insiders were abuzz. "This was the strongest doc lineup the festival has ever had," declared Scott Dwyer, a PBS programmer who has attended Aspen Shortsfest for the past seven years.

During its four day run, Aspen Shortsfest 2008 unspoiled 53 competition shorts from more than 24 countries. Among the six world premieres, thirteen North American premieres, and three U.S. premieres, the strongest films were decidedly the non-fiction offerings.

"Come Back to Sudan" by Boulder/Denver-based filmmakers Daniel Junge and Patti Bonnet had its world premiere at the festival. The half-hour film, which follows a Colorado woman's journey with her two adopted children to their native homeland, received a hometown hero's welcome and the Audience Favorite Award.

Another buzzed-about world premiere doc was the 23-minute "Pickin' & Trimmin'" a look at a barbershop/hootenanny by Matt Morris. Many were surprised when the audience-pleaser failed to win any official kudos at the fest.

Clocking in one minute longer than Morris's film and making its US debut, Nancy Willis's "Elegy for the Elswick Envoy" did capture the jury's eye. An artist with muscular dystrophy, Willis turned her camera on herself and her trusty but dying car. Both Willis and her beloved Elswick Envoy have personality to spare, and her film shines with a sunny disposition.

Willis shared the jury doc prize with fellow UK filmmaker, Pinny Grylls, whose ten-minute "Peter and Ben" is also a look at a person and his unexpected beloved -- in this case, a sheep called Ben. The eloquence of Grylls's subject makes the cinematic portrait a delight. Peter and Ben" previously world-premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

Kim A. Snyder's 33-minute "One Bridge to the Next" was the fourth documentary to take home a prize at this year's festival. The audience favorite focuses on a very personable doctor who practices street medicine among the homeless in Pittsburgh to great success.

A scene from Nancy Willis' "Elegy for the Elswick Envoy." Image courtesy of Aspen Shortsfest.

Three other buzzed-about docs fall into the fifteen-minute-or-less category. Jeff Lester's snowboarder piece, "Speed of Life," effortlessly glides through its nine-minute running time. The Sundance-winning "My Olympic Summer" by Daniel Robin covers a lot of family history in its thirteen minutes. And Stanford student Peter Jordan's striking portrait of a teenage female boxer, "The Champ," knocks out viewers in only six minutes.

On the narrative front, industry buzz about future Oscar contenders circled around "Auf der Strecke" (On the Line). Reto Caffi's thirty-minute Germany/Switzerland co-production about a good man who makes a bad decision enjoyed a North American debut at Aspen and walked away with the Best Student award. The mesmerizing drama had previously won the Swiss Film Prize 2008 and the Grand Prize at Clermont-Ferrand.

Two other narrative films that had heat before even screening at Aspen are the celebrity-helmed dramas. Kate Hudson's assured directorial debut, "Cutlass," stacks the deck with strong performances from Virginia Madsen, Kurt Russell, and Dakota Fanning in a dual story of what parents will and won't do for their demanding daughters. A late addition to the festival, Josh Brolin also contributed a father-daughter story, "X." Brolin wrote, produced, and directed the sixteen-minute road movie.

At a festival known for audience-pleasing comedies, laugh-out-loud pieces were surprisingly scarce this year. Without real competition, Nash Edgerton's "Spider" easily earned the jury nod for Best Comedy while also snagging the festival's Hard C High-Five to Lo-Fi award.

Adrian Sitaru's "Waves" also took home more than one trophy. The seventeen-minute Romanian beach-set story won Best Drama, Best Cinematography, and a Certificate of Excellence from the Los Angeles chapter of BAFTA.

The jury's animation award went to Konstantin Bronzit's nine-minute romance about a restroom attendant with a secret admirer, "Lavatory Lovestory." Another animated romance -- this time between a house-bound penguin and her groveling polar bear suitor in Matthew Walker's four-minute "John and Karen" -- garnered the Best Short Short prize.

The jury at this year's Aspen Shortsfest consisted of "Juno" producer Daniel Dubiecki, legendary animator Bill Plympton, "You, Me, & Dupree" screenwriter Michael LeSieur, British Council Film Programmer Simona Marchegiani, and Emmy-winning writer/director Steven Schachter.

[A full listing of all Aspen Shortsfest 2008 winners can be found on the festival's website http://www.aspenfilm.org/index.cfm?S=1:2.]

This article is related to: Shorts, Festival Dispatch






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More