Explore the rich flavors of the silver screen at Vail Film Festival | SummitDaily.com

Explore the rich flavors of the silver screen at Vail Film Festival

Vail Film Festival schedule

Thursday, April 7

7:30 p.m. — “Morris from America,” Opening Night Film, Vail Cascade

9:30 p.m. — Opening Night Party, Lodge at Vail

Friday, April 8

11 a.m. to 11 p.m. — Film screenings, Vail Cascade and CineBistro

Noon to 5 p.m. — Virtual reality tent, Slifer Square

7 p.m. — Friday Night Concert, Shakedown Bar

Saturday, April 9

11 a.m. to 11 p.m. — Film screenings, Vail Cascade and CineBistro

Noon to 5 p.m. — Virtual reality tent, Slifer Square

Noon to 6 p.m. — Festival hospitality lounge, Vail Cascade

7 p.m. — Awards ceremony, Vail Cascade

7:30 p.m. — “A Light Beneath Their Feet,” Closing Night Film, Vail Cascade

9:30 p.m. — Closing Night Party, Lodge at Vail

Sunday, April 10

11 a.m. to 11 p.m. — Film screenings, Vail Cascade and CineBistro

Noon to 4 p.m. — Virtual reality tent, Slifer Square

Noon to 4 p.m. — Festival hospitality lounge, Vail Cascade

For a detailed schedule of films screenings, more information about the festival and to purchase passes, visit http://www.vailfilmfestival.com.

By the numbers

• 67 — films

• 11 — world premieres

• 2 — U.S. premieres

• 28 — Colorado premieres

• 36-plus — hours total of screenings and programming

• 345 — minutes in longest film, “Virgin America Presents: Blah Airlines Flight 101”

• 4 — minutes in shortest film, “Otherwise Engaged”

• 38 — combined minutes of virtual reality films

• 5 — performers at Shakedown Bar for the Friday, April 8, concert

• $10 — individual screening ticket price

• $59, $159, $259 — Price for Vista, Avanti and Prima passes, respectively

VAIL — A buffet can be a curious beast in that the attraction may also be its downfall: so many choices, not enough belly room. The Vail Film Festival, which returns for its 13th year through Sunday, shares some similarities with an exemplary buffet: so many choices, only two eyeballs with which to enjoy. However, the benefits of indulging will far outweigh the sense of missing out.

It's impossible to see everything that this film festival has to offer — there are three full days of screenings and programming, the concert at Shakedown on Friday and various parties. However, if one approaches this event like a buffet, picking and choosing carefully, perhaps sampling something new and unique, it's possible to end the weekend fully satiated, if not a bit gluttonous.

This smorgasbord will take participants around the world, from Heidelberg, Germany, to Hong Kong; Chicago to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and some of the dishes are tied to our own state and valley. While the experiences can last from 20 minutes to almost six hours (in one very special case), each is an opportunity to sample, explore and enjoy the rich flavors of film.

Taste of Colorado

Though the Vail Film Festival has included Colorado filmmakers and their work in the past, this is the first year Colorado short films will be featured.

"Film is strong in Colorado, and we feel lucky that we get to showcase it," said associate festival director Megen Musegades. "We've always had at least a few Colorado films but thought it would be great to have a showcase for Colorado shorts."

The Colorado Shorts Showcase includes four short films from Colorado. Some are filmed in Colorado, and many of the actors, directors and producers are also from the state.

"We wanted to focus on short films because more filmmakers are making short films than feature length, like documentaries or narratives," said Sean Cross, festival director. "We knew we would get more submissions and be able to have a great number of films to choose from."

Though shorts require a smaller budget and take less time to create than feature-length films, the audience is not shorted with the experience.

"My favorite thing about going to the shorts blocks is that you get a variety of films in one hour-and-a-half or 80-minute time period," Musegades said. "You get to experience so many voices."

Like a truly expansive buffet, the blocks of short films are created from a variety of genres. This is done purposely, said Amanda Durst, shorts programmer for the festival.

"We put them (the short films) into blocks with the idea that there's something for everybody in the block," Durst said. "If there's a film that you're like, 'Eh, it's not really for me,' it's only on for about 12 minutes and then you're on to the next thing."

The shorts showcases allow viewers to enjoy just a taste because, like a Las Vegas-style buffet, sometimes you just want a side portion of explosively hot green chili — not a whole bowl.

In the Colorado showcase, audiences will get the flavors of various voices and stories, including the film "Sirens," from Colorado director Joey Spillane. "Sirens," which follows a mother attempting to find the money for her daughter's surgery, is Spillane's third film, but he said it's more like his first.

"We had actual funding, which allowed more budget, more crew, more locations, more actors," Spillane said. "It was actually surprising that it was really just as difficult, if not more difficult, than a smaller film. You have more at stake."

An action-packed 23 minutes, "Sirens" will have its Colorado premiere at the Vail Film Festival; Spillane and actress Phyllis Spielman will be part of a Q-and-A following the film, providing background and answering questions regarding the recipe required for the film.

Following a different physical journey, "142 Miles from Monday" travels through terrain that will be familiar to mountain bikers in the audience. Director Alex Witkowicz's film, which follows three mountain bikers on the 140-mile Kokopelli trail from Loma to Moab, Utah, tells a story that resonates with anyone who wants to soak up the outdoors.

The other two films in the Colorado Shorts Showcase, "Eddie" and "Pull Away," have different focuses, but all of the shorts have one thing in common: They're fully realized stories that have been crafted to span an incredibly short amount of time.

More meals to savor

While shorts provide small, yet satiating snacks, there are plenty of full movie meals to enjoy during the festival. There are full-length narrative features that deliver food for thought, such as "Finding Her," the story of a journalist who must comes to terms with — and make amends for — his actions, and "A Year By the Sea," which follows one woman's journey to find herself again after retirement.

There are documentaries to ponder, a showcase of films from Hong Kong that will pique an appetite for the international and even a collection of six virtual reality short films that will be screened in a tent by Slifer Square.

Add in the eye candy of actors, actresses and filmmakers who are attending the festival and the special sauce of the Friday concert at Shakedown Bar and you have a multi-course meal to enjoy. Loosen your proverbial belt and make room for the flavors of the Vail Film Festival.