Aspen Shortsfest announces program for in-person festival

Oscar-qualifying short film festival returns to Wheeler after two virtual years

“Conducting Life” (Courtesy Aspen Film)
“Goodbye Jerome!” (Courtesy Aspen Film)
“Shark” (Courtesy Aspen Film)
“Sierra” (Courtesy Aspen Film)
“Skin & Bone” (Courtesy Aspen Film)

Aspen Shortsfest will screen 77 short films across six days at the Wheeler Opera House in April as the festival returns to in-person screenings after two years of virtual-only events.

Aspen Film, which is producing the 31st annual festival, announced the selected films and program details on Thursday.

“What a wonderful recharge after two virtual years, to be back in person at our festival home, the historic Wheeler Opera House,” Aspen Film executive and artistic director Susan Wrubel said in the announcement. “Once again, our programming team has assembled some of the most dynamic, innovative, and thought-provoking short films of the year to showcase for Aspen and valley-wide audiences.”

The 2022 slate includes nine world premieres and an international selection representing 28 countries.

The 77 in-competition films were chosen from a competitive field of about 3,000 submissions. More than half of the chosen films — 41 of them — are directed or co-directed by women, continuing the festival’s goal of reaching gender equity behind the camera.

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The films include many stars and established talents along with emerging filmmakers and performers. Among the most prominent films are the horror film “Skin & Bone,” directed by Eli Powers and co-produced by “Mamma Mia!” star Amanda Seyfried and will have its world premiere at the festival. “Shark,” a dark comedy set on the water, stars “Bridesmaids” actress Rose Byrne and will have its U.S. premiere here. The COVID-19 quarantine-set satire “White Devil” stars and is co-directed by Mariama Diallo, the filmmaker behind Sundance darling “Master.”

Brat Pack icon Molly Ringwald narrates “A Brief History of Us,” which is directed by the acclaimed novelist Etgar Keret. Other familiar faces on-screen include “Station Eleven” star Hamish Patel in “Enjoy” and “Succession” actor Peter Friedman in “Daddy’s Girl.”

Director Walter Thompson-Hernandez’s “If I Go Will They Miss Me,” which won the U.S. Fiction short prize at Sundance, is also in the program.

The Shortsfest programming team is led by director Jason Anderson, who noted the “depth and diversity of talent” in the 2022 program.

“We’re astounded by the strength and resilience these directors have shown in the face of all the recent challenges and are so excited to be able to present their films in person,” he said in the announcement.

The juried festival will give awards and cash prizes in nine categories.

An Oscar-qualifying festival for winners in animation, documentary and live-action narrative short film categories, Shortsfest has for decades been a proving ground for emerging filmmakers. It included early work from directors like Reinaldo Marcus Green (“King Richard), Dustin Daniel Cretton (“Shang-Chi”), Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”), Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Sara Polley (“Stories We Tell”) and Jean-Marc Vallée (“Big Little Lies”).

The festival also regularly helps mint Oscar nominees, including 2022 Best Animated Short nominee “Affairs of the Art” by Joanna Quinn and Les Mills, which won the 2021 Shortsfest Best Comedy prize.

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be required for attendance. There will be no virtual access to the festival. Single tickets will go on-sale for the general public on March 22 (on March 16 for Aspen Film members). Pre-sale festival passes are on-sale now for $250 at



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