Trio of Breckenridge Film Festival picks up for Academy Awards in Los Angeles | SummitDaily.com
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Trio of Breckenridge Film Festival picks up for Academy Awards in Los Angeles

This screenshot was taken from the trailer for Pixar's "Piper," a short annimated film that was selected at the Breck Film Festival and has been nominated for an Academy Award. Altoghter, three films from the festival received nominations.

Three selections of the 2016 Breckenridge Film Festival have been nominated for awards by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, according to a news release.

The ceremony will be Feb. 26, and the Breck Film Fest will host a fundraiser the same day alongside the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. at the Speakeasy Theater and Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center, with tickets available for $48 in advance at BreckFilmFest.org.

The fundraising event will include a silent auction, costume prizes, a donation giveaway and a red-carpet photo booth in addition to beverages, hors d'oeuvres and, of course, the Academy Awards broadcast. The fundraiser precedes the annual Breck Film Fest on Sept. 21-24.

The release notes that announcement of the three sections making the cut comes on the heels of the Breck Film Fest being named one of Film Freeway's top 100 reviewed festivals by filmmakers.

"Out of literally thousands of festivals listed on Film Freeway, Breck Film Fest is proud to be in the top 100 — and not just the top 100, we are in the first 50," lauded Janice Kurbjun, executive director of the Breck Film Fest, in the release.

The three selections nominated for awards include:

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• "Piper," a Pixar short film production that preceded "Finding Dory" in theatrical release and is available on "Finding Dory" home theater DVDs and Blu-Rays. It was nominated for an Academy Award in the Animated Short Film category.

"Piper" was included in the Breck Film Fest's Sunday night screening of Pixar short films, which was the first time in Pixar history that the short films were shown back-to-back in a festival environment. "Piper" producer Marc Sondheimer attended the festival, and held a Q&A session following the films.

"The Sunday night Pixar short films was one of our best featured programming choices in recent years," Kurbjun said. "We geared Sunday night toward the community, showing a family-friendly program that was extremely well-received. We hope to do similar programming at future festivals."

• "Borrowed Time," is a short film, also produced by Pixar animators, as a side project. It screened on Opening Night of the Breck Film Fest. Two animators attended the festival, and one of them, Andrew Coats, held a Q&A session afterward, as well.

As a Pixar animator who works closely with Sondheimer, it's interesting that the two are in a unique battle for the Oscar in 2017.

• The Breck Film Fest also screened the acclaimed documentary "Life Animated" as part of its featured programming at the Riverwalk Center. The Saturday night program included the film as well as a discussion of Disney storyboarding and animation from Disney production assistant and Summit County native Elise Scanlan, according to the release.

The documentary tells the story of an autistic boy who found his voice with the help of Disney characters. It also is up for an Oscar for Best Documentary.

"We have had a number of Breck Film Fest official selections show up in the Academy Award nominations in the past, but this year is probably the most in one cohort," Kurbjun said. "We are thrilled for these films, excited for the filmmakers, and have our fingers crossed that they'll receive the award during the Feb. 26 ceremony."

According to the release, The Breck Film Fest has had one Oscar winner in the history of the festival — the 2013 film "The Lady in No. 6."

"These nominations throw an extra air of excitement into this year's fundraiser," Kurbjun said. "Not only will our guests be able to enjoy the Academy Awards in a cocktail party environment, they'll have something to root for as they're watching. It will be a pretty special experience, particularly if one of these films wins."

If you go

What: Breck Film Fest fundraiser: Academy Awards

When: 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26

Where: Speakeasy Movie Theater & Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center, 103 S. Harris St., Breckenridge

Cost: Tickets are $48 in advance at BreckFilmFest.org. Call the theater at (970) 453-9021.