Aspen Film, a year-round film arts and education organization, announced today the winners of its Aspen Shortsfest International Competition. The 2014 Awards Ceremony was held Sunday, April 13, at Rustique Restaurant in Aspen, following six film-filled days. The festival, which brings filmmakers together with the cinema-loving public for nearly a week of screenings, panel discussions, education programs and informal networking, is widely recognized as a premier North American showcase for short film.

"Shortsfest holds a well-deserved reputation for bringing the best short films from around the globe to their international festival--this is what brings KQED back to Aspen year after year," said Lisa Landi, Manager of Program Distribution for KQED in Northern California, one of the country's most-watched public television stations. "A more intangible accomplishment is their almost uncanny ability to create a community in the span of six short days. The connection between the filmmakers is palpable, and the engagement and excitement of the crowd is clear."    

The festival's centerpiece, the Oscar®-qualifying International Competition, reflected the incredible diversity and creativity of today's short filmmaking in drama, comedy, animation and documentary. Over 3,000 submissions from around the world were considered, and 70 short films, representing more than 30 countries--over a third of them premieres--were ultimately selected for this year's International Competition.

"As a first time member of the jury, I was impressed with the inspired shorts in all genres, particularly comedy, so many of which were uniquely original, satirical and delightfully whimsical," said International Competition jury member and screenwriter David Pollock (M*A*S*H). "It was an honor for me to take part in this year's festival." Other members of the jury included Lisa Kennedy (Denver Post Film and Theater Critic), as well as screenwriters Peter Blake (Elementary, House M.D.) and Craig Borten (Dallas Buyers Club).

More than 50 international film guests from a dozen countries traveled to Aspen to participate in public screenings, in-depth conversations, and informal networking opportunities. Shortsfest also hosts a significant education component in which over 1,500 students and teachers from over a dozen schools and youth arts programs participated.

"Attending Aspen Shortsfest is like coming home to family," said Daniel Jewel, who premiered his short documentary, "The Secret World of Foley" at this year's fest. "I've been lucky enough to be part of the festival three times, and it's become my favourite festival because of the warmth of the welcome, the genuine love and appreciation of short film and the amazing quality of the films. Being part of the school outreach program, where we as filmmakers share our films and watch the films of high school students, is also really inspiring."

SHORTSFEST 2014 AWARD WINNERS

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION JURY AWARDS

 *Academy Award®-qualifying category 

BEST ANIMATION* $2,500 

ME + HER

(Joseph Oxford, USA)

A tale of grief that is nearly as tender as it is inventive. It's about the life and love of cardboard boxes, but there's nothing recycled in this puppetry gem.

BEST COMEDY* $2,500

KÁRMÁN LINE

(Oscar Sharp, UK)  

What begins as a raucous and absurdist story of a woman who starts levitating turns into a moving meditation on loss and transcendence.  

BEST DOCUMENTARY* $2,500

OUR CURSE, North American Premiere

(Tomasz Sliwinski, Poland)    

Director Tomasz Sliwinski shares an intimate, at times brutal, always compassionate, sense of what it's like to be the young parents of a critically ill infant.   

BEST DRAMA* $2,500

A TROPICAL SUNDAY

(Fabian Ribezzo, Mozambique)

An engaging portrait of four begging and scavenging street kids at a Mozambique amusement park.

 BEST STUDENT FILM $2,000

Sponsored by KQED

SPROUT, North American Premiere

(Ga-eun Yoon, South Korea)

Lost on an errand in a South Korean city, 7-year-old Bory takes us on an adventure in humanity, touching us in a most endearing way.

BEST SHORT SHORT* $1,000

THE GALLANT CAPTAIN

(Graeme Base + Katrina Mathers, Australia)

In just a few minutes of technically brilliant animation, this tells a funny and moving story about friendship and acceptance.

SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION

THE APOTHECARY

(Helen Hood Scheer, USA)

THE BRUNCHERS

(Matt Winn, UK)

LAMBING SEASON

(Jeannie Donohoe, USA)

THE LION'S MOUTH OPENS

(Lucy Walker, USA)

MR. INVISIBLE

(Greg Ash, UK)

AWARDS DETERMINED BY OTHER JURIES

AUDIENCE AWARD $500

Celebrating the memory of Stewart Oksenhorn

PONY PLACE, International Premiere

(Joost Reijmers, The Netherlands)

AUDIENCE SPECIAL RECOGNITION

THE APOTHECARY

(Helen Hood Scheer, USA)

MR. INVISIBLE

(Greg Ash, UK)

THE PHONE CALL

(Mat Kirkby, UK)

UGGS FOR GAZA, World Premiere

(Brooke Berman, USA)

THE ELLEN $2,500

KÁRMÁN LINE

(Oscar Sharp, UK)

YOUTH JURY PRIZE $500

THE PHONE CALL

(Mat Kirby, UK)

Complete descriptions of films screened during Aspen Shortsfest 2014 are available at ww.aspenfilm.org.

Aspen Shortsfest is made possible through generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Aspen, The Aspen Times, KQED, Aspen Public Radio, the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media, The Thrift Shop of Aspen, Les Dames d'Aspen, and the Towns of Basalt and Carbondale.  

For more information about the 23rd annual Aspen Shortsfest, please connect with Aspen Film publicity contact, Jennifer Slaughter of Different Indeed.