Vail Society: Film fest opening night a star-studded affair |

Vail Society: Film fest opening night a star-studded affair

Annah Scully
High Altitude Society
Vail, CO Colorado
Colin Meiring/Special to the Vail DailyVail Society: Bill LeVasseur, Alyshia Ochse, Richie Adams, Jarred Coates

Despite the roads being an ice-rink from Minturn all the way to Timbuktu Thursday night, festival film buffs, fashionistas and familiar faces filled the ballroom at the Vail Plaza Hotel for the Vail Film Festival opening night bash.

The 7th annual Vail Film Festival takes place through Sunday in Vail and Beaver Creek. Festival activities include film screenings, classes, panel discussions, live music, nightly galas, a filmmaker reception, first-tracks skiing, and a closing brunch.

Filmmakers and their fans mingled and bopped to the beat of live music by Jake Newton and many others from L.A.’s Hotel Cafe who performed. Nearby giant screens showed classic black and white movies. While Groucho sipped his cigar, revelers enjoyed Stella Artios and Zacapa rum while munching on tasty morsels.

As we entered the excitement we were greeted by Mr. Eye Candy himself and Festival Host Bill LeVasseur. Bill has been with the festival since the early days, along with a fleet of devoted staff and volunteers who make this event utterly fantastic.

Heads turned as Bill posed with the glamorous Alyshia Ochse, Richie Adams and Jarred Coates from the film, “Inventing Adam.”

Film festival virgin, Gaye Steinke said, “This is my first festival and I’m so excited! It’s so great to hear the producers talk about their films. We saw ‘A Shine of Rainbows,’ and I cried, but don’t tell anybody.”

Too late, baby. The truth is out.

Local resident Amanda Zinn was excited to participate in the festival, she said.

“I love this because we can view upcoming talent and I love movies. And the best part is that this happens right here in our backyard!”

Mark and Tracy Gordon were spotted by the bar. “It’s so wonderful to be here. It’s our seventh year and I look forward to the 25th,” Mark said.

Pamela Lessing and Judith Landau exuded exuberance. When asked why the fest is so special, Judith replied “The place, the people, the filmmakers, the movies and the spirit of Vail. All the benefits of being with family and meeting exciting strangers at the same time.”

Speaking of family, Judith’s twin sons and founders of the fest, Scott and Sean Cross were all smiles as they mixed and mingled. After all these years, I still have a heck of a time telling them apart, and having identical haircuts does not help! Every time I see them I have such an urge to chew Doublemint.

With more than 90 films being shown in both Vail and Beaver Creek venues, this year’s festival promises to be bigger, better and super star studded. Tribute awards will be given to Jane Seymour, Dennis Haysbert and Zach Braff, all who are expected to attend the festival.

From celebrities to the silver screen up-and-coming, the Vail Film Festival sparkles and lights up our valley with life. For more information, visit

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