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CHARLIE OWNvail daily

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So youre a fan of film but cant spare the relentless hours it would take to catch all 50 screenings at this years Vail Film Festival? Dont worry. Thanks to the kindness of festival promoters, we got a chance to screen most of them in advance for you and have picked the best of the bunch to help you make up your mind. This year, the festival has gone back to its roots no big-budget Hollywood premieres and fewer films to choose from but those that made the cut are all quality. There are six categories: Shorts, features, documentaries, animated, student and action sports, and within each category is a wide spectrum of styles, genres and topics to choose from. The following are the must-see films that will put your festival pass to good use.Like Dandelion Dust FeatureA five-year-old boy finds himself torn from his loving adopted parents when his abusive biological father is released from prison and wants him back. When a judge grants the true parents custody, his adopted parents will do anything to keep him, even flee the country. Like Dandelion Dust examines the very definition of the word family and reveals that blood is thick but real love is thicker.Trucker FeatureLife on the road as a trucker is the life for Diane Ford (Michelle Monaghan) but when her ex-husband is suddenly hospitalized for cancer treatment, she suddenly runs into a roadblock her 11-year-old son she hasnt seen since he was a baby. So much for the one night stands, all-night drinking binges and selfish existence shes been enjoying. Now Diane must choose between building a relationship with a kid she helped to create or ignoring him until he goes away. Touching performances by a supporting cast (Benjamin Bratt and Joey Lauren Adams) help to round out this story of forgiveness, redemption and self-discovery.Weather Girl FeatureBehind the scenes of one of Seattles local news shows, drama is brewing. After finding out her news anchor boyfriend has been cheating on her with his co-host, the weather girl loses it on live TV, dumping him and then quitting the show. She quickly becomes the talk of the town and everywhere she goes people recognize her for her antics. The problem is, now she cant find another job. Even worse, she cant find her own apartment or a new love so she moves in with her unsympathetic brother and his best friend. Now she must deal with having her entire life turned upside down in this romantic comedy that proves its never too late for second chances or to do the right thing.True Adolescents FeatureThis coming-of-age story is what youd get if School of Rock took place in the woods instead of in the classroom. When washed up and aging wannabe rocker Sam gets kicked out of his girlfriends apartment, he is forced to move in with his aunt. Her son and his best friend are all set to go on a camping trip with their father but when he cant make it, Sam steps in to lead the adventure. Theres only one problem, he has no idea what hes doing and gets everybody lost in the woods for a weekend. When it becomes obvious that hes no more grown up than the two teenagers hes supposed to be watching out for, hes forced to take a hard look at himself and take the next step beyond adolescents.Garbage Dreams DocumentaryOne mans trash is another mans treasure, and Garbage Dreams proves it. This educational and entertaining film focuses on the trash trade of Egypts lower class and follows three boys immersed in that world from birth. What exactly is a trash trade? The Zabelleen, or garbage people, collect the refuse of surrounding, upper-class neighborhoods and hauls it all back to their tiny village where they sort and recycle 80 percent of all the trash they collect. This is how the Zabelleen earn their living and support their families. But their lifestyle is suddenly encroached upon when outside contractors from other countries start taking over Zabelleen turf. Terminus ShortDo you have a fear of one day waking up and finding yourself being accosted by corporate art? Thats exactly what happens to a businessman in this eerie examination of a plunge into madness sprinkled with dark humor and unforgettable visuals. Kidnapping Caitlynn ShortSure, kidnapping is a federal crime, but it can also be funny. When a young woman obsessed with her ex-boyfriend enlists her new boyfriend to help her reclaim some of her stuff from her old house, a series of comical events leads to the kidnapping of the exs new girlfriend. Kidnapping Caitlynn focuses on the lighter side of crime and relationships and what happens when the two come together.The Gynecologist ShortWhat happens when youre the only sane person in the office and everyone else around you has gone mad? A gynecologist simply doing her job is confronted by an unusual patient a man and when she insists a joke is being played on her and refuses to see the patient, she is reprimanded by her superiors. Finally she submits, but the last laugh is hers. Miracle Investigators Student FilmThis hilarious and campy spoof of 70s cop shows pits the Vaticans top miracle investigator Father Dominic and his rookie partner, Father Justin, against a possible hoax at a church where blood has been seen oozing from a statue of a saint. But as the investigation goes deeper, the pair realize they are up against evil forces they never expected.Marooned? Student FilmWhen a sci-fi geek hires some fellow role players from the internet to stage a Star Trek-like game in the wilderness, things go horribly awry when he hits his head on a rock and gets amnesia. When he awakes, he thinks hes actually on an alien planet in search of monsters to kill, and soon his playmates regret their decision to ever play along.