Ruben Östlund's Incident by a Bank

Aspen Shortsfest Awards Announced

Second to the last shot: Late Sunday afternoon in the Wheelers elegant second floor lobby, three of the four-person Shortsfest awards jury – actress Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle, Courage Under Fire), producer Sarah Siegel-Magness of Smokewood Entertainment (Precious), and screenwriter David Arata (Brokedown Palace, Spy Game) – stood up to present the awards.  Filmmaker Daniel Junge (Chiefs, They Killed Sister Dorothy, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner) had voted, but had to leave.  Arata, who identified himself as the one most uncomfortable speaking, compared the process to “going to a museum and picking your favorite painting and then getting three other people to agree with you,” or trying to describe a poem.

In the spirit of recognizing the quirky, the untested, the out-of-the-box, Arata announced first the Special Jury Recognition Awards, awards without cash attached:

  • Cringe Award  – Careful With That Power Tool (2 minutes, Jason Stutter)
  • Form Award  –  Incident By a Bank, (15 minutes, Ruben Ostlund)
  • U.N. Award –  Diplomacy (9 minutes, Jon Goldman)
  • Student Award –  Chicken Heads (14 minutes, Bassam Ali Jarbawi)
  • Up-and-Coming Writer Award to God of Love (18 minutes, Luke Matheny).

New this year were the Creative Consultation awards, opportunities for the winning filmmakers to consult with industry professionals in directing, writing, documentary work, cinematography and editing:

  • Rita (Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza, Italy, 18 minutes) won for directing
  • Glenn Owen Dodds (Trent Dalton, Australia, 16 minutes) for writing,
  • 7:57 AM-PM (Simon Lelouch, France, 11 minutes) for documentary work
  • Roar(Ed Wild, U.K., 16 minutes) for cinematography
  • Man and Boy (Kelvin Hutchins, U.K., 20 minutes) for editing.

For a full list of other awards, visit the Aspenfilms site.

There was champagne for all, toasts to each other, strawberries, chocolate, fine cheese.

Last shot:  The filmmakers were called to assemble on the red-carpeted steps of the Wheeler for a group portrait.  In leather jackets and black wool, flannel and jeans they sat close, three, four, and five, to a step.  Wave your arms, said the photographer.  The filmmakers waved their arms.  Aspen Shortsfest, Ciao, said the photographer.

No one would mistake this for Cannes.

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