High Altitude Society: Vail Film Festival successfully adapts to virtual format in COVID-19 pandemic | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society: Vail Film Festival successfully adapts to virtual format in COVID-19 pandemic

By Betty Ann Woodland
Special to the Daily

On May 15-17, the Vail Film Festival successfully staged a virtual version of its annual event, which was rejiggerd to comply with county health orders that currently limit gathering sizes in the COVID-19 pandemic. Cinephiles everywhere could enjoy from the comfort of their homes without the need for travel or buying theater popcorn.

We’re all missing in-person events, and as great as it was to still participate in the Vail Film Fest, it’s not quite the same. Film producers, directors, actors, and moviegoers usually like to mix and mingle, and present and listen to panel discussions in person.

Actually, the last large-scale event that I attended was the Boulder Film Festival in early March where I met film actor Jesse Eisenberg and listened to panel discussions with Robbie Robertson of “The Band” and “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed. I am grateful for those memories of gathering together and look forward to more in the future when it’s safe.

But as always, the 2020 Vail Film Festival featured incredible films, focused on women filmmakers, had a robust social media presence and provided excellent content. There were filmmaker Q&A’s, women in film panel discussions, some great short films, virtual live music, student films, voting for your favorite films, and a fun awards ceremony.

A few fan favorites stood out. Narrated by Annette Benning, “A Towering Task” tells the unlikely and uniquely American story of the Peace Corps, from its founding under John F. Kennedy to today’s existence at the forefront of some of the pressing themes facing the global community.

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The virtual format for the Vail Film Festival featured talks and screenings, like the in-person festival typically does.
Special to the Daily

GMC Audience Award winning film “Drought” tells the story of an autistic young man with a huge fascination for weather. He and his sister go storm-chasing in their mom’s ice cream truck. This film made its world premiere online at the Vail Film Festival on May 16, followed by a Q&A with directors.

The best film award went to “Barbara Adesso;” best documentary, “Seasons of Change on Henry’s Far;” best short films, “Reclamation” and “Rehearsal;” and best student film “Carrying Tomorrow.”

Long time Vail Film Festival emcee Bill LeVasseur thanked the Vail Film Festival community, the filmmakers, sponsors, and supporters of independent filmmakers. The most important thank you was for everyone that made this year’s online festival a huge success with their continued support.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.

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