Who Likes Short Shorts?

It’s no secret that celebrities tend to bring their bad behavior to Aspen — you’d need several hands to count the scandals that have gone down there over the years — but the sheriff’s department isn’t the only contact Hollywood has with Colorado’s glitziest resort town. There’s also Aspen Film, which throws several highly regarded film festivals each year, not the least of which is Aspen Shortsfest, now in its twentieth year. “It’s an Oscar-qualifying festival,” says artistic director Laura Thielen, pointing to God of Love, which premiered at Shortsfest last year — and went on to take the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film at the Academy Awards last month. “It’s one of the top-ranked shorts festivals in the world.”

It’s also a truly worldwide festival, bringing films from Africa, North America, Asia and the Middle East. “We really try to offer a broad spectrum,” Thielen notes. This year’s spectrum is indeed broad, featuring such highlights as Red Shirley, a documentary by Lou Reed in which he sits down with his cousin to interview her on the eve of her 100th birthday, and Sexting, a Julia Stiles vehicle in which a young woman has lunch with the wife of her boyfriend. In true Aspen fashion, the festival also brings many of the filmmakers to town for Q&As, forums and random, late-night audience interaction. Here’s hoping none of them involve the police.

The fest starts today and continues through April 10 at various venues in Aspen and Carbondale. Screenings are grouped into nightly “competition programs” by type; tickets to each run $13. For advance tickets, go to www.aspenshowtix.com; for festival information, visit www.aspenfilm.org.
April 5-10, 2011

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte