I’ve just come to the end of a fantastic week at Aspen Shortsfest in the company of so many talented and interesting filmmakers. Aspen Film received over 3000 submissions and selected only 70 films for their 2014 festival so it really represented the best of the best of short filmmakers… and me.
The week started, as most British holidays do, with an embarrassing sunburn. I got caught up in an intense nerdy discussion with two other film geeks about such topics as the artistic merits of Gravity, the future of cinema and Kubrick’s drive for perfection. Next thing we knew we’d been in the sun for 2 hours without protection. I waited for the inevitable fallout. Over the next few days my nose blistered (!) turned red and then peeled profusely, providing a source of much amusement for the other filmmakers. Wear sunscreen kids!
A few days into the festival I found out that Mr. Invisible had won the Best World Cinema Short at Phoenix Film Festival, which was playing at the same time as Aspen. That was exciting. The term World Cinema makes me feel more arty.
The short films screening in Aspen were of such high quality. I watched every single one throughout the week and was really inspired by the quality and variety of stories being told. I think I cried at least 4 or 5 times. And that was just at the bar.
One of the great things about Aspen is they encourage connection between the filmmakers and local students. One of the most gratifying moments of the week was sharing my film with a school from Austin and answering their questions about the film and the industry. I explained to them I really didn’t know what I was talking about but just encouraged them to make as many films as they can and keep trying to improve.
My 15 minutes of fame came on Thursday when I found myself on the front page of the Aspen Times. The placement of the sexual assault headline beneath the picture couldn’t have been more perfect:
Time flew by all too fast, and pretty soon it was the Awards on Sunday night. Mr. Invisible was awarded both the Special Jury Recognition and the Audience Special Recognition, which was an incredible way to end the week. I felt humbled to receive that recognition in the presence of so much other great work. I left the festival with
The sun must have been shining on me (and not just my nose) this week because to cap it off I was bumped up on my flight home to 1st Class. Maybe they could sense I was an award-winner. Or maybe they felt sorry for my sunburn. Either way it was the first time I’d experienced that. I had an amazing 3 course meal and got to sleep a fully reclining seat/bed. This was my starter:
I still feel terrible now though so it’s reassuring to know that no matter what people pay for their tickets we all still feel like shit when we arrive at our destination.
Big thanks to the festival organisers and the City of Aspen for such a memorable week. Can’t wait to come back again soon!