Aspen readies Shortsfest

Slate includes 'Every Day,' 'Elimination'

Forty helmers from eight countries will be at the Aspen Shortsfest Wednesday through Sunday screening 60 pics — twice as many as unspooled when topper Laura Thielen arrived at the ski-town event just over three years ago.

The eighth annual version will have $20,000 cash and prizes, including Kodak film stock, handed out by a jury including thesp-turned-picmaker Adrienne Shelly, “54” helmer Mark Christopher and thrice-Oscar-nominated producer Jessica Yu.

“Shorts finally seem to be attracting more attention, and more exhibition opportunities,” observed Thielen, a former programmer at Sundance and San Francisco and a special-projects coordinator at Zoetrope Studios. “The Shortsfest has evolved into one of the few devoted exclusively to the medium, and there’s increasing recognition of Aspen as a great place for filmmakers to get together and share their work with enthusiastic audiences in an absolutely gorgeous Victorian theater.”

Minipics on offer include: “Every Day,” adapted by Tracy Allen Davey from a Garrison Keillor story; the Canuck-made “Elimination Dance” from Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar; Brazil’s “Soccer Story,” about sports hero Pele; and Rachel Griffiths’ directorial debut, “Tulip.” Fest also reps first post-awards bows for Oscar-winning cartoon “Bunny” and live-action short “Election Night” from Denmark.

“Our festival qualifies entrants in several Academy Award categories,” Thielen said, “and it also provides outreach to acquisitions.”

Buyers from Showtime, Sundance and HBO will be on hand, and there’s an increased emphasis on new technology, with the Web site film.com spinning its own competition off the Colorado event.