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Get Shorty

The nightly news is unremittingly gloomy, and it just seems to get worse every day, which is why we need something to cheer us up — something fun and artsy, like the 18th annual Aspen Shortsfest. The five-day film festival starts today and features a variety of shorts, from Academy Award-nominated films such as The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 to lesser-known productions like Mustang – Journey to Transformation.

“This is the perfect event for people who like to be introduced to a lot of talent that he or she has never experienced,” says Laura Thielen, executive director of the festival. “It’s an international gathering, so we’ve got films from all over the world. And they’re shorts, so if you’re not liking what you’re seeing, it will be over in a few minutes.

“Anything that celebrates the role that art can play in our lives is something that is especially important right now,” Thielen points out. “And it’s a completely affordable form of entertainment.”

In addition to the usual suspects, this year’s Shortsfest adds two new programs to the mix. Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m., Lights, Camera…Laughter highlights five funny (mostly animated) short films including Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death. The festival will also team up with the Sundance Channel on Sunday at 6 p.m. for a free community screening of “eco-shorts,” including Addicted to Plastic. The Shortsfest begins today at 5:30 pm at the Wheeler Opera House, 320 East Hyman Avenue, in Aspen; tickets cost $11 before March 27, $12 after that, with a discount for students. For more information, call 970-925-6882 or go to
April 1-5, 2009


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