This past weekend, the screens of Breckenridge flashed with images of professional and amateur filmmakers, while the streets and coffee shops buzzed with talk of themes, symbolism and various types of cinematic critique.
Directors, producers, actors and cinematographers gathered together with film enthusiasts to show and discuss their work, sharing ideas and making network connections that will undoubtedly result in films to be seen at future events.
Festival officials estimated that around 450 people attended the opening night festivities and that the Adventure Reel panels and showings attracted at least 500 people. The event drew not only Summit locals, but film enthusiasts from around the state.
“Overall, I think it was a great turnout,” said Breckenridge Festival of Film executive director Janice Kurbjun. “We had some awesome films and we heard nothing but really good feedback throughout the weekend.”
The only thing that had to change during the festival was the arrangement of extra screenings for two films, “Antarctica: A Year on Ice” and “Nawang Gombu: Heart of a Tiger,” due to high audience interest. Seats for the two films quickly sold out and with a large number of people still interested, the festival did a third screening of both.
Many of those attending the film about Antarctica were people who had been to the continent themselves, and were either a part of Anthony Powell’s documentary or knew someone who was. When the audience at the first screening was asked who had been out “on the ice,” more than half raised their hands.
“It’s been great,” said Powell’s wife, Christine. “We’ve been able to reconnect with people we haven’t seen in years.”
The more interest shown in films at the festival the better, Kurbjun said, adding that she hopes interest will grow next year.
“I like it when people watch my film a second time,” said Tom Van Avermaet, director of “Death of a Shadow,” which showed at the festival’s opening night. “That’s the biggest compliment you can have as a filmmaker, that someone watches your film twice.”
The Adventure Reel, a new addition to the festival this year, was also well received, Kurbjun said. It started out with a panel discussion by various filmmakers and cinematographers about the “Democratization of Film” and the “Making of the Shot,” focusing on what makes a person a filmmaker (hint: more than just a fancy camera) and what elements make up a great shot, particularly as relates to adventure films.
“I think those definitely have room to grow, but at the same time we had a lot of people buying tickets for just being able to go to the forum, as well as the Adventure Reel,” Kurbjun said. “I think it’s something that will grow and we’ll expand upon in future years.”
In addition to films, parties and events occurred throughout Breckenridge, from the opening party at Ember, which featured fancy hors d’ouevres, to the industry party at Summit Media Labs and The Warming Hut, to the closing party at Blue River Bistro.
The festival ended with a showing of its closing film, “Language of a Broken Heart,” as well as an awards ceremony. In addition to awards for “Best Of” in each category, awards were given out to best actor and actress, best director, best screenplay, best editing and best cinematography. Audience awards went to “Brighton,” “Man Up and Go” and “I’m Harry Clark,” respectively, while the Antarctica documentary won the People’s Choice award.
What’s next for the festival organizers?
“We’re going to give ourselves about a week break, then we’re to revisit everything, evaluate what we did really well and what we can do better, and probably start planning pretty soon for the next year,” Kurbjun said.
There will also be a few events before next year’s festival. In the past, the organization has put on a “Hollywood and Wine” fundraiser, featuring films from the past festival, for example.
“I hope people keep their eyes out for those,” she said.