Welcome to Aspen Shortsfest 2011

welcome to shortsfest

We are very proud that Aspen Shortsfest has been named one of the world’s top-50 leading film festivals by indieWire. Of course, we think it deserves the recognition, and we hope that after attending this year's festival, you'll agree.

Aspen Shortsfest 2011 includes six days of screenings, parties, and hobnobbing with young filmmakers from around the world. Presenting an event like this is a huge undertaking. We’d like to extend very special thank-yous to our presenting sponsor, Saab, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Colorado Creative Industries, and the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media; we treasure their invaluable support. We would also like to recognize the ongoing support of our REEL People members, the event support of our other grantors and sponsors, and the hard work of our dedicated Aspen Film staff and volunteers.

We at Aspen Film love what we do, and we love you, our adventuresome audiences, who approach each program with open minds and a willingness to have your hearts and intellects engaged and challenged. You are one of the lucky film-goers who gets to see what makes Aspen Shortsfest so special. Please take a few moments on your way out the door to complete our survey. We are always looking for ways to improve our offerings, and your feedback and comments are essential to our efforts.

Because these pages just begin to scratch the surface of this unique event, I encourage you to visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where you can learn more about the festival.

Thank you for joining us at Aspen Shortsfest 2011. Next year will be our 20th-anniversary celebration, and we will be presenting an extraspecial festival. We look forward to seeing you there, too.

Robyn Myler
Executive Director



From an arctic sauna to Capitol Hill to the celestial off-world of Alpha 46, we invite you on an amazing voyage of discovery, one filled with intriguing characters, timely subjects, and wonderful story-telling. A curious mind, a sense of adventure, and an open heart are all you’ll need to navigate the imaginative waters of Shortsfest’s eclectic lineup, which comes from two dozen countries and explores many more.

Shortsfest is our celebration of new filmmakers who approach their craft with spirit, soul, irreverence, and visual flair. With a dedicated volunteer Screening Committee, we previewed more than 2,500 shorts to choose the 83 competition finalists. Singular, accomplished, and wholly original, these shorts (1 - 40 minutes) brought laughter and, in a few cases, tears, as well as moments of escape and chances to reflect. Some boldly brought us to the edge and asked us to look over; others drew us close with their reassuring humanity. All in all, they put our finger on the exciting pulse of contemporary filmmaking.

Each program includes animation, documentary, comedy, and drama, followed by a conversation with directors, writers, and other talent who’ve traveled far to share their artistry and cultural perspectives with audiences in theaters and classrooms valley-wide.

Over the years, Shortsfest has showcased new voices, who then went on to make movies like Up in the Air, Wallace and Gromit, The Constant Gardener, Legally Blonde, Animal Kingdom, Ice Age, and more. We give a special shout-out to recent Oscar winner Luke Matheny, whose God of Love premiered here last spring.

Come experience the films we love. ... Discover for yourself who stands out in the class of 2011.

Laura Thielen
Artistic Director

Click here to download the Shortsfest 2011 Program Guide in PDF format

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international competition awards


Aspen Shortsfest 2011 will be held April 5-10, at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and the Crystal Theater in Carbondale. More than 2,500 submissions from around the world were considered, and 83 short films, representing two dozen countries and exploring many more, were ultimately selected for this year's International Competition. From the recognizable (Colin Firth, Julia Stiles, Lou Reed) to brand-new talent, the 2011 edition showcases a vibrant array of comedy, drama, animation, and documentary films.

Recently named by indieWIRE as one of the world's top-50 leading film festivals, Aspen Shortsfest is widely recognized as a premier North American showcase for short film and video. The centerpiece, the juried International Competition, offers an eclectic slate of films running 1 to 40 minutes. The 2011 Shortsfest awards will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 10. They will be posted on line by 6pm Mountain Time.

The esteemed 2011 International Competition jury of film professionals are Kristen Konvitz, Ilyse McKimmie, John Polson, and Eric Steelberg (see below for Jury Biographies).

Recognizing creative excellence, they will honor the finalists they consider the most accomplished in their storytelling and distinctive in their cinematic voice. Their awards - including a cash honorarium - include Best Animation, Best Comedy, Best Documentary, Best Drama, Best Student, and Best Short Short, as well as Special Jury Recognition Awards.*


Audience Favorite Award
Open to all finalists. Everyone can vote.

BAFTA Award for Excellence
The Los Angeles chapter of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) recognizes a finalist with its Award for Excellence.

The Ellen
Established to honor Aspen Film Founder, Ellen Hunt, this prize for the most whimsical, original film is funded by a special endowment.

Digital Postcards: Colorado
This competition category is open to short films made by current Colorado residents including full-time students and created in and/or about Colorado. Selected finalists will screen as part of the International Competition, competing for the Best Short Short award.

Youth Jury Prize
A jury of local students will select the film that takes them furthest from their own experience to open a new window on their understanding of the world.

*Winners of the Best Comedy, Best Drama, and Best Short Short awards may be eligible for Academy Award Oscar® consideration in the Best Live Action Short Film category, and the winner of the Animated Eye Award may be eligible for consideration for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar® if winners meet the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' other qualifications.

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international competition jury

Eric Steelberg
Scott Dwyer

SCOTT DWYER is the Program Director for KQED-TV in San Francisco. His primary duties include acquiring and scheduling programs for six television channels. He has served on many PBS advisory committees (ITVS, POV, Independent Lens and Sesame Street). Scott selects all the feature films seen on the entire PBS system. For the past 11 years he has also produced Imagemakers, a television series featuring award winning short films from around the world. Scott estimates he has watched over 16,000 films in the past 11 years.

Kristen Konvitz
Kristen Konvitz

KRISTEN KONVITZ is the New York-based Director of Acquisitions and Production for Wild Bunch, the independent European film distribution and production services company. Her role includes acquiring projects in varying stages and overseeing them through all stages of production. She is also instrumental in building relationships between up and coming talent and the director–driven Wild Bunch, whose home office is in Paris. She began working in acquisitions at The Weinstein Company and made the transition to Wild Bunch to assist in opening its first U.S. office. She has also produced numerous award winning short films and music videos. Kristen holds a B.S. in media studies from New York University and a M.F.A. in film producing from Columbia University.

Ilyse McKimmie
Ilyse McKimmie

For the past twelve years, ILYSE McKIMMIE has been a key staff member of Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program. As its Associate Director, she oversees the selection of U.S.-based filmmakers for the Screenwriters and Directors Labs, performs outreach to new filmmakers and provides support to alumni, produces the Screenplay Reading Series, and works with the Creative Producing Fellowship. Films developed at the Labs during her tenure include Martha Marcy May Marlene, Pariah, Sin Nombre, Half Nelson, Red Road, and Maria Full of Grace, among many others. She began her career at Sony-based Red Wagon Productions, during which time the company developed and produced Gladiator, Girl, Interrupted, and Spy Game, and at ICM, working in the talent, literary, and story departments. She is a graduate of UCLA.

John Polson
John Polson

Since founding Tropfest short film festival in 1993 in a Sydney café, JOHN POLSON has nurtured it onto the international stage. These days, the one night Australian event attracts a live audience of over 150,000 people, as well as hundreds of thousands more via a television broadcast. Tropfest screenings and events now also take place in New York (where John is based), Abu Dhabi, London, Berlin, and numerous other cities around the world. Simultaneous to growing Tropfest, John has directed feature films (Siam Sunset, Swimfan, Hide & Seek, Tenderness) and produces and directs TV shows, such as Fringe, The Mentalist, The Good Wife, Lie To Me, Blue Bloods and Flash Forward. He is currently developing a number of feature film and television projects (as both director and producer) in the US and Australia.

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