Aspen Film announced its program for the 25th Annual Aspen Shortsfest. Aspen Film, a year-round film arts and education organization, will bring filmmaking talent from around the globe to Aspen's Wheeler Opera House and Carbondale's Crystal Theatre from April 5-10, 2016. From the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, festival-goers will embark on a film-filled journey featuring nightly screenings and moderated conversations mixed with opportunities to interact with visiting filmmakers in lively discussions.

Aspen Shortsfest is widely recognized as a premier North American showcase for short comedy, drama, documentary and animation, as well as a destination for discovering breakthrough talent. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell) are among notable alumni whose earliest work  — short films — first screened at Aspen Shortsfest.

"We could not be prouder of the program for the 25th installment of Aspen Shortsfest. A truly eclectic program, representing so many corners of the world and reminding us, in ways touching, enlightening, harrowing, hilarious and most of all memorable, how we are all connected, this year’s lineup offers a story for everyone," says Aspen Film Artistic Director Maggie Mackay. 

The 2016 slate of films features 13 world premieres, 3 North American Premieres, 4 U.S. premieres and 3 international premieres from filmmakers representing Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Central African Republic, China, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The 2016 Shortsfest Programming team, led by Artistic Director Maggie Mackay, included James Jefferies, Programmer/Programming Coordinator at Aspen Film, and Associate Programmers Angie Driscoll (Programmer HotDocs; TIFF) Brandon Harris (Filmmaker/Critic/Professor), Jenn Murphy, (Programmer AFI FEST; LAFF), Cedar Sherbert (Filmmaker/Programmer) and Craig Turpin (Producer/Editor/Aspenite).

For the complete Aspen Shortsfest program and schedule visit Special events, awards and jurors will be announced on Monday, March 21. 

Following in the tradition of Shortsfest official selections going on to Oscar® success, this year Bear Story (Shortsfest, 2015) won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and We Can’t Live Without Cosmos (Shortsfest 2015) and Shok (Shortsfest 2015) were nominated. Aspen Shortsfest is a juried festival with almost all films, many of them premieres, competing for awards in multiple categories. A prestigious jury of film professionals awards cash prizes to the winners, who may then qualify for Oscar® eligibility. As defined by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a short film is "an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits." 


Across the Sea
A stolen phone sheds light on the dreams and sorrows of both a new mother and a teenaged boy in this deceptively subtle and beautiful drama. (Kelly Robinson, UK, 11 min.) 
Bacon & God’s Wrath
At age 90, Razie contemplates her journey of self-discovery upon deciding to try bacon after a lifetime of keeping kosher in this quirky, insightful documentary. (Sol Friedman, Canada, 9 min.)
Before the Spring
Cairo, 2011: revolution is in the air, but Tamer—who has a bright future awaiting him and his family in America—wants no part of it. Whether he has a choice is the question compelling this gritty drama. (James Kaelan, USA/Egypt, 12 min.) World Premiere
The Black Belt
At once infuriating and hopeful, acclaimed documentarian Margaret Brown’s timely foray into the voter-ID debate introduces the Alabamans at the center of the fray. (Margaret Brown, USA, 11 min.)
Brillo Box (3¢ off) 
While tracing the 40-year journey of an Andy Warhol original from her family’s living room to the auction block, documentarian Lisanne Skyler delivers a delightful, nostalgia-tinged snapshot of the American middle class, colorfully framed by a crash course in postmodernism. (Lisanne Skyler, USA, 40 min.) World Premiere
A teenaged girl experiences the highs and lows of an unexpected crush in this tender and honest take on coming-of-age. (Angel Kristi Williams, USA, 11 min.)
Grief and ire shot through with wicked humor: a brief phone call from the director to his sister contains all the elements of the namesake master’s works. (Jack Dunphy, USA, 5 min.)
A Coat Made Dark
In this dark animated fable, stolen treasure marks a change in fortune for an evil dog and his exploited manservant—but not in the way they think it will. (Jack O’Shea, Ireland, 10 min.)
Dancing for You 
Young Vilde’s passion for folk dance, zest for life, and tender affection for her beloved granddad intermingle within the picturesque framework of the Norwegian countryside in this moving documentary. (Erlend E. Mo, Norway, 29 min.) U.S. Premiere
Deer Flower
At once unsettling, whimsical, and amusing, this stop-motion, 3D-printed fairy tale follows a young boy who partakes in an ancient rite of passage. (Kangmin Kim, USA/South Korea, 7 min.) 
Stylish and captivating, this stark thriller unfolds less as a whodunit than as a whoitdunto. (Darius Clark Monroe, USA, 7 min.)
In the hilariously grotesque tradition of Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers, this piece of stop-motion animation takes you on a trip around the world of an unabashed freak. (Nina Gantz, UK, 9 min.) 
Everything Will Be Okay
The stakes of a weekend reunion couldn’t be higher for a father and his little girl in this taut yet sensitive Oscar-nominated drama. (Patrick Vollrath, Germany/Austria, 30 min.)
The Evictor
A low-level gangster meets the most unexpected of adversaries when he breaks into the house of a family he’s supposed to eject in this multilayered, beautifully directed drama. (Bumsue Chun, South Korea, 15 min.) World Premiere
First Night Out
A woman takes herself to dinner for the very first time. (Will Mayo, USA, 3 min.) 
For A Good Time
Desperate for respite in the midst of mourning, Jane calls a number scrawled on a bathroom wall. As this bittersweet comedy shows, she gets what she’s looking for. Sort of. (Aemilia Scott, USA, 20 min.) World Premiere
An astronaut recalls a glove he lost in space in this charming animated meditation on the spirit of human endeavor. (Alexa Lim Haas, Bernardo Britto, USA, 6 min.) 
God Willing
This portrait of Palestinian artist Mais Rosol AbuSaa doubles as an inspiring examination of the role of women in Islamic society today. (Gayle Embrey, USA, 7 min.) World Premiere
Good White People
The struggle for the soul of a historic Cincinnati neighborhood comes to an end as gentrification displaces the longtime black residents featured in this hard-hitting, emotionally resonant documentary. (Jarrod Welling-Cann, Erick Stoll, USA, 16 min.)
Hotel der Diktatoren
Welcome to the Hotel Ledger Plaza Bangui. Once owned by a notorious dictator, it’s palatial by the standards of the Central African Republic—particularly the local employees, who show up for work every day in hopes it will one day reopen to guests. Think Waiting for Gaddafi. (Florian Hoffmann, Germany/Central African Republic, 16 min.) 
Teamwork and treachery, devotion and deceit intersect in this surreal and strangely comic tale of bureaucratic breakdown, set in a museum with a pernicious pecking order. (Omer Tobi, Israel, 30 min.) International Premiere
House Sitting
Things always look better in the morning—and as the hapless hero of this gentle comedy discovers, sometimes they smell better, too. (Joe Burke, USA, 16 min.) World Premiere
I, Destini
Delicately animated in black-and-white, Destini Riley’s affecting account of the impact of the prison-industrial complex on African-American families like her own was actually submitted as evidence in her brother’s trial. (Nicholas Pilarski, Destini Riley, USA, 14 min.) World Premiere
Against a tellingly hypnotic factory backdrop, a refugee encapsulates the global immigration crisis in his own wrenching words. (Fabio Palmieri, Italy, 9 min.) North American Premiere
Just a Song
When Dennis serenades his girlfriend, things don’t go as hoped—at least not for her. (Gina Hirsch, USA, 5 min.)
La Laguna
“I am not Mexican. I am Mayan,” says 12-year-old Yu’uk, and his statement reverberates throughout this luminous, deeply poignant journey into the heart of the rainforest, where his family’s way of life is under siege and the modern world encroaches. (Aaron Schock, Mexico/USA, 38 min.)
If music be the food of love, play on: a romance-minded young man discovers the truth of that famous line. (Jean-Pierre Caner, USA, 11 min.) World Premiere
Mining Poems or Odes
The shipyards of Scotland doubled as an institution of higher learning for the welder-turned-poet at the center of this lyrical portrait. (Callum Rice, Scotland/UK, 11 min.)
MissMe: The Artful Vandal
From subliminal to subversive: once a hot shot in the advertising world, MissMe has since found her voice and her bliss as a Montreal street artist. (Mohammad Gorjestani, USA, 4 min.)
Mondo Cane
Celebrated American photographer Thomas Roma shares his philosophies on art, life, and the canine species while discussing two of his most influential projects with filmmaker Michael Almereyda. (Michael Almereyda, USA, 12 min.) 
Oh My Father
At the heart of this quietly touching real-life portrait is the daily routine of a 98-year-old man and the daughter who cares for him. (Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, Robert Machoian, USA, 11 min.) World Premiere
The Old Man and the Bird
Here’s a folktale as timeless as it is intelligently animated: in the dead of winter, an elderly hermit takes in one last breath of fresh air made flesh. (Dennis Stein-Schomburg, Germany, 7 min.) North American Premiere
The Orchestra
While the world around him shimmers with light and song, poor old Vernon wonders: can he ever emerge from the dark, tone-deaf shell of his own painfully shy making to strike up a tune with his new neighbor? (Mikey Hill, Australia, 15 min.)
Panic Attack!
In this amusing yet unsettling animated glimpse into the dark stream of one woman’s consciousness, one may find something all too familiar. (Eileen O'Meara, USA, 3 min.) World Premiere
A belligerent old fisherman realizes it’s time to make peace with his past in this folktale-meets-lullaby, beautifully shot on the shores of Guadeloupe. (Nicolas Polixene, France, 18 min.) U.S. Premiere
Sex, work, money, commitment: the duo driving this wry comedy cover all the greatest hits of arguing couples before they even get out of bed in the morning. (Joey Ally, USA, 7 min.) 
An electrocuted fish, a water-retentive goose, a paralyzed possum who eats scrambled eggs: with affection and humor, a pair of animal lovers recount the injuries and insults life has hurled at their menagerie. (Amy Nicholson, USA, 15 min.)
Red Folder
At his teacher’s behest, a troubled student Joseph goes in search of a red folder—but is it really a red flag? (Ben Kallam, USA, 10 min.)
Sea Breeze
In this intimate character study, a Taiwanese shopkeeper and a Filipino migrant find in one another a kindred spirit. (Chun-Yi Li, Taiwan/UK, 30 min.) International Premiere
Without hope of escape herself, can a village girl facing an arranged marriage at least set her most beloved companion free to roam the snow-covered steppes of their homeland? (Elnura Osmonalieva, Kyrgyzstan, 14 min.)
A tough-tender family drama ensues when a young girl tracks down her estranged father at work. (Myrsini Aristidou, Cyprus, 13 min.)
The Send-Off
In small-town America, a group of high-school students gathers for the biggest, brightest night of their young lives. (Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan, USA, 12 min.)
She Dances for People
A mix of mesmerizing archival and contemporary black-and-white footage offers a moving glimpse into the history and culture of Canada’s indigenous populations. (Michelle Latimer, Canada, 4 min.) 
The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere
In 2003, Japan was plunged into economic darkness, and its people needed a ray of hope. They found one in Haru Urara, a racehorse with a pink Hello Kitty mask and a career-long losing streak. (Mickey Duzyj, Japan/USA, 18 min.)
From the director of the groundbreaking indie hit Tangerine, in conjunction with cutting-edge fashion label Kenzo, comes this gorgeously lensed, off-the-grid, May-December romance. (Sean Baker, USA, 12 min.) World Premiere
Someone Is Happy Somewhere
A troubled, deaf handyman and a beautiful but struggling tenant of a Brazilian high rise meet at an emotional crossroads in this intense drama, set on the night of the country's biggest soccer match. (Mario Furloni, Alvaro Furloni, Brazil, 18 min.) International Premiere
Speaking Is Difficult
Acclaimed documentarian AJ Schnack issues a lament for America’s gun-violence epidemic that’s all the more damning for its subtlety. (AJ Schnack, USA, 14 min.)
Step 9
With a loyal sidekick along for the ride, Marian discovers the most heartfelt search for redemption can double as a romp. (Leonora Pitts, USA, 13 min.)
Stripper Wars
A strip club becomes a dreamscape for a lonely exotic dancer longing for acceptance. (Giancarlo Loffredo, USA, 7 min.) 
Summer of Sarah
This classic coming-of-age story finds sixteen-year-old Sarah struggling to juggle her hard-working father’s expectations, a demeaning job and the advances of a boy from the right side of the tracks. (Emma Benestan, France, 25 min.) U.S. Premiere
Thanks for Dancing 
A glimmer of hope arises from the depths of grief on the wintry Norwegian horizon of this enduring love story. (Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken, Norway, 19 min.) North American Premiere
These C*cksucking Tears
Meet Patrick Haggerty, a singer-songwriter who has worn his fiercely antiestablishment heart on his sleeve since the 1970s, when he recorded the first gay country album. (Dan Taberski, USA, 16 min.)
In this slice of social realism, a teenage schoolgirl learns a bit about life during an ordinary day on the streets of Istanbul. (Ziya Demirel, France/Turkey, 13 min.)
Under the Sun
The wheels of corruption propel the cycle of despair for two families in this dystopic critique of modern-industrial Chinese society. (Qiu Yang, China/Australia, 19 min.)
Victor XX
His loved ones know him as Mari; strangers see him as Victor. Set in small-town Spain, this anguished yet inspiring coming-of-age story is also a coming-of-gender story. (Ian Garrido, Spain, 21 min.)
World Wide Woven Bodies 
Just as he’s entering puberty, Mads gets ensnared in the World Wide Web in this Norwegian family dramedy set at the turn of the millennium. (Truls Krane Meby, Norway, 16 min.)

Tickets will go on sale to the public Friday, March 18. Advance tickets are available for purchase for Aspen Film members beginning Wednesday, March 16. All tickets are available through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office and General admission tickets for regular Shortsfest Programs are $15 each and Aspen Film Members receive a 20% discount on single tickets for $12 each.

VIP and Priority Pass options are available to new and current members. For more information on the benefits of a membership with Aspen Film visit or call 970.925.6882. 


March 16: Tickets on sale for Aspen Film Members
March 18: Tickets on sale to the public
April 5-10: 25th Aspen Shortsfest

Follow: @AspenFilm on Twitter and Instagram
Hashtag(s): #Shortsfest16 #AspenFilm #IndependentbyNature #ArtsAspen

The 25th Aspen Shortsfest is generously supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, AspenOUT, City of Aspen, Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media, Les Dames d'Aspen, Thrift Shop of Aspen and the Towns of Basalt and Carbondale. Aspen Shortsfest is presented by The Aspen Times and sponsored by Alpine Bank, Aspen Club & Spa, Aspen Public Radio, BRIGHT IDEAS, KQED’s Film School Shorts, KSPN and Seed&Spark.

Established in 1979, Aspen Film is one of Colorado's most active film arts organizations, presenting dynamic programs and featured guest artists throughout the year. Internationally recognized, Aspen Film organizes a major film event in every season, along with an extensive education program: Aspen Filmfest, Academy Screenings, Aspen Shortsfest and Film Educates. With a mission to enlighten, enrich, educate and entertain through film, Aspen Film stimulates thought, encourages dialogue and broadens understanding of our world and selves through the diverse spectrum of ideas presented by filmmakers worldwide. To learn more, visit