Short Films for Children

I knew that the 20th Anniversary of Aspen Shortsfest was coming but who has the time to stop what they are doing to fit in a week of films? Apparently, I thought that I didn’t.

We did manage to sneak up to Aspen on Sunday to watch the Shortsfest Family Program. As to be expected at this time of year, it had snowed a foot the day before, just in time for closing day on all of the mountains. The ground was too wet to have lacrosse practice and so I was elated to have the opportunity to take the family, including Grandma Barbara, to the movies.

Before I sat down Steve Mann approached me preparing me to stay on the alert for a big announcement that was going to be made before the films began. Steve is a major influence in bringing in the Aspen Film Blogger Relations Program and I will be forever grateful to him for that. I listened intently.

As it turns out, the tides are once again a changing at the festival and Steve is going to be marrying the love of his life, Aspen Film Executive Director Robyn Myler which means that Robyn will be resigning from the festival and moving to New York to be with him. I’m guessing that love would be the one and only thing that could tear me away from our  healthy valley and from Directing such an amazing festival.

The lights went down leaving us with our mouths agape at the news and the films came on, washing away all concerns. In the 75 minute program we were transported, literally with Floyd and Android, and swept into the imaginary world of storytelling.

For our personal family favorite film we voted on “The Gruffalo’s Child.” A wonderful story featuring the voices of Helene Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Shirley Henderson and John Hurt. The film left me feeling dull for my lack of ability to create fiction stories for my children. I’ll have to work on that.

After the shows were finished the Q & A began with the Producer of the film “One Day”, Graham Button, along with one of the children presented in the film, Choloe Wiegum. Jonathan Lyons was also there, Director of “Floyd the Android: Teleporter, and Floyd the Android: Dim Bulb.

“One Day”, Co-Directed by Daniel Junge who won an Oscar for the Best Documentary Short, Saving Face (that was also shown in the festival), follows ten year old kids from around the world and documents how they see the future. The children present such simplistic and unfettered ideas as to how they see the future of our world, like growing our own buildings, that they almost have you believing that it would be easy to make the necessary changes to make our world a better place to live in.

Chloe, a freckled girl with beautiful red hair and huge blue eyes portraying a wise innocence, had a magnetic presence and I wished for all of the children featured in the film to be there to further express their ideas and wishes.

Photo from of Graham, Daniel and Chloe

When Jonathan spoke I wanted to ask him if his resemblance to his animated character, Floyd, was a subliminal creation or purposeful, but I decided against it.

As always, the films were incredibly inspiring and we were left pensively contemplating the endless streams of the imagination as well as the huge task that our children have at hand to make our world a better place.

I left the theater angry for not taking more control over my busy schedule which brought me to thinking of something George Eldred said at the end of the filmmaker discussion, George is Program Director of the festival, “Sometimes how the world works is that we are in the process and only come to the solution just in the nick of time”. Next year I am going to work more on the solution and less on the process and take advantage of the culture that is brought to our town.

It’s a huge job, to view nearly 3,300 submissions from all over the world and pare it down to 50 but George and his wife, Artistic Director Laura Thielen, are masters of their craft, never ceasing to create an entertaining and heart felt program and so  I am writing the dates of the festival down in ink and drawing a line straight through the week to make sure that I am available for shorts, shorts and more shorts!

PS** You too can have your children create their own dreams by visiting the website created by Steelcase, “100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years”.






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