Vail Film Festival: Full schedule, list of films & more to prepare you for movies in the mountains |

Vail Film Festival: Full schedule, list of films & more to prepare you for movies in the mountains

See something new, meet the filmmakers & more this weekend

The 16th annual Vail Film Festival will screen more than 40 films Thursday to Sunday, along with panel discussions, workshops and more. Again this year, the festival celebrates women in the film industry.
Special to the Daily

Editor’s note: Scroll down for the Vail Film Festival schedule, information on the panel discussion as well as the full list of movies showing.

The Vail Film Festival is an opportunity to see female filmmakers before they hit the mainstream and head to Hollywood, along with others in the industry.

Kat Coiro helped get her film career up and running with the Vail Film Festival, celebrating its 16th year Aug. 15-18. She started with a couple of short films in 2008 and then features shown in Vail. In 2019, she’ll be directing “Marry Me,” a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. Valerie Weiss was a doctor who switched to filmmaking and had her first feature film shown at the Vail Film Festival in 2011. She now directs television shows and will be directing a studio film as well, “Maze Runner.”

“One of the focuses of the festival is to support these filmmakers and help them in their careers, so it’s great to see those tangible results,” said Sean Cross, on the Vail Film Festival board of directors. 

More than 40 films will be shown during the Vail Film Festival, including features, documentaries, shorts and student films. The opening and closing night screenings will be at Vail Mountain School, and new this year all other Vail Film Festival screenings will be at Cinebistro in Vail — featuring three screens.

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“We thought it would be great to be centralized in town,” Cross said.

While the Vail Film Festival is mainly a filmmaker-focused event, actors and actresses tend to come support their films in Vail, although organizers never know who will show up.

“We definitely have some names and faces in these films that people will know,” Cross said.

Rebecca Romjin and Jerry O’Connell, Billy Crystal, Jeff Daniels, Jim Gaffigan and others will grace the big screens during the Vail Film Festival.

Director Miranda Bailey, a Vail Mountain School graduate, will be returning to the festival with her film “Being Frank,” starring Gaffigan and Samantha Mathis. In 2006, she screened one of her first films as a producer at the Vail Film Festival, “The Oh in Ohio.”

Filmmaker Miranda Bailey, “Being Frank”
Amanda Edwards | Getty Images

“She has become a very established producer in Hollywood,” Cross said.

Kerry David will also be returning to the festival, showing her documentary about the poaching wars in Africa, “Breaking Their Silence.”  At the inaugural Vail Film Festival in 2004, she screened one of her first films as a producer, “My Date with Drew.”

Filmmaker Kerry David, “Breaking Their Silence”
Special to the Daily

“I’m always excited to have the filmmakers come,” said Corinne Hara, festival director. “Not only is it one of our missions to support them, but it also gives our festivalgoers a unique opportunity to have up-close access to them.”

At the 2017 festival, Rachel Wortell screened her directorial debut, “A Sibling Mystery,” and will be returning this year with her second film, “Romany Analyst,” that she also wrote and directed.

In addition to film screenings, the Vail Film Festival also offers workshops, panel discussions, a daily hospitality lounge and more. The filmmaker panel on Saturday, Aug. 17, will feature four female directors.

“That will be a great opportunity for anyone interested in film either as a fan or a filmmaker to hear these directors discuss the process and how they got to where they are now,” Cross said.

Award-winning screenwriter and director Diane Bell will also lead a filmmaking workshop.

For tickets to the events, festival passes and more information, visit Festival passes start at $50.

Vail Film Festival Schedule

For tickets, festival passes and more information, visit Festival passes start at $50.

Vail Film Festival organizers recommend checking out the website beforehand for film descriptions, trailers and more to head into the weekend prepared.

Thursday, Aug. 15

  • Opening Night film: Vail Mountain School, 7:30 p.m.
  • Opening Night party: Larkspur, 9:30-11:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 16

  • Film screenings: Cinebistro, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Hospitality lounge: 12:30-5 p.m.
  • Filmmaker reception: 4:30-6 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 17

  • Film screenings: Cinebistro, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Hospitality lounge: 12:30-5 p.m.
  • Filmmaker panel discussion: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Shoot from the Heart workshop: Mountain Haus, 2-4 p.m.
  • Awards ceremony and Closing Night film: Vail Mountain School, 7:30 p.m.
  • Closing Night party: La Tour, 10 p.m. to midnight

Sunday, Aug. 18

  • Film screenings: Cinebistro, 12:30-9 p.m.
  • Hospitality lounge: 12:30-4 p.m.

Panel discussion

At noon on Saturday, Aug. 17, the Vail Film Festival presents Filmmaking: Personal Stories, a panel discussion at Mountain Haus in Vail featuring four directors who all have films at this year’s festival, moderated by the Vail Daily’s Tricia Swenson.

The discussion will focus on each of their personal journeys in filmmaking, lessons learned and a Q&A session.

Panelists will include director-producer Miranda Bailey (“Being Frank”); director-producer Kerry David (“Breaking Their Silence”); writer-director Rachel Wortell (“Romance Analyst”); and writer-director Haroula Rose (“Once Upon a River”).

Filmmaker Rachel Wortell, “Romance Analyst”
Special to the Daily

The panel discussion is free and open to the public.

Full list of films

Narrative feature films

  • “Adolescence,” Ashley Avis
  • “Banana Split,” Benjamin Kasulke
  • “Being Frank,” Miranda Bailey
  • “Bring Me an Avocado,” Maria Mealla 
  • “Burning Kentucky,” Bethany Brooke Anderson 
  • “Guest Artist,” Timothy Busfield
  • “Once Upon a River,” Haroula Rose
  • “Paris La Blanche,” Lidia Terki
  • “Romance Analyst,” Rachel Wortell
  • “Satanic Panic,” Chelsea Stardust
  • “Snaeland,” Lise Raven
  • “Standing Up, Falling Down,” Matt Ratner
  • “The Promise of the Butterfly,” Meredith Kirkman

Documentary films

  • “Breaking Their Silence,” Kerry David 
  • “Don’t Be Nice,” Max Powers
  • “Hiro’s Table,” Lynn Hamrick
  • “Magnolia’s Hope,” AJ Tesler
  • “Poisoning Paradise,” Keely Brosnan 
  • “Stalag Luft III,’ Louise Woehrle
  • “The Beaver Believers,” Sarah Koenigsberg
  • “Tour de Force,” Brad Stabio

Short films

  • “Bennifer,” Ryan McGlade
  • “Black Hat,” Sarah Smith
  • “Cannonball,” Sean Fredricks
  • “Deep Creak,” John Knipp, Joel Flora 
  • “Go Back Forward,” Marialejandra Matin
  • “Going Down Slow,” Eryk Pruitt
  • “Hula Girl,” Chris Riess, Amy Hill
  • “Long Time Listener, First Time Caller,” Nora Kirkpatrick
  • “My Dinner with Werner,” Maverick Moore 
  • “Open House,” Michael Muncatchy
  • “Pozole,” Jessica Mendez Siqueiros 
  • “Sides of a Horn,” Toby Wosskow
  • “The Moon and the Night,” Erin Lau
  • “The Seal,” Richa Rudola
  • “Trip’s Duplage,” Spencer Squire

Student films

  • “A Poem in Bamboo,” Xufei Wu 
  • “Akinyi and Yvonne,” Elizabeth Chatelain
  • “Fraser Syndrome and Me,” Kyle Anne Grendys
  • “From 6th Man to MVP,” Karen Morey
  • “Kim,” Madeline Landry
  • “Maid for Us,” Disha Mundra
  • “Phoebe,” Kyra Gardner
  • “Variables,” Sabina Vairaca 

How films are selected

“Once Upon a River”
Special to the Daily

“It is a pretty competitive process, so the filmmakers are pretty excited to get in,” Sean Cross said of the Vail Film Festival selection process.

The Vail Film Festival goes through hours and hours of film submissions each year, spanning four categories: Features, Shorts, Documentaries and Student Films. Each category has one to two people in charge of selecting the films shown in the category, who watch all of the films to decide — sounds like a dream job.

“You have to enjoy watching a lot of film,” Cross said.

Most of the people on the selection committee have been with Vail Film Festival for a long time, Cross said, and many are filmmakers in some form. This selection process is something they enjoy doing, he said, and also helps them stay informed on what’s happening in the industry.

But is it the most fun job at the Vail Film Festival?

“I think it is,” said Corinne Hara, festival director. 

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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