What to see at the Breckenridge Film Festival | SummitDaily.com

What to see at the Breckenridge Film Festival

Hilary Swank, left, stars as Bridget and Michael Shannon, right, stars as Nick in Elizabeth Chomko’s "What They Had," a Bleecker Street release screening on Saturday at the Breckenridge Film Festival. Shannon will be present for a Q&A following the film.
Courtesy Bleecker Street


When: Sept. 20-23

Where: Riverwalk Center, Speakeasy, Backstage Theatre, Colorado Mountain College and Christian Ministries.

Cost: Individual screening tickets range from $12 to $20 with day passes priced at $40. All films can be seen with the $140 Peak 9 Pass. A VIP pass is available for $200.Visit BreckFilmFest.org for tickets and the complete schedule.

Hollywood has come to the High Country. After Thursday’s screening of “Love, Gilda,” the Breckenridge Film Festival continues this weekend with a multitude of films for everyone, no matter their age or genre preference. Over 400 submissions were narrowed down to 70-plus films, with 37 Colorado premieres and four world premieres. They’ll be shown at a variety of venues around town with tentpole productions, like the world premiere of “Waterlily Jaguar,” featuring Mira Sorvino, and “What They Had” with Michael Shannon, screened at the Riverwalk Center.

Actor-playwright Elizabeth Chomko’s debut, “What They Had” tells the story of a family dealing with their ailing mother. Shannon, known for his roles in “The Shape of Water,” “Revolutionary Road,” and “Nocturnal Animals,” plays the son Nick opposite Hilary Swank as the daughter Bridget. Bythe Danner is the mother Ruth and Robert Forster plays Burt, the father.

Shannon, whose sister Gail lives in Summit County, will be present for a Q&A session following the screening. The film release nationally on Oct. 19, and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival 2018.

“We are elated to welcome Michael Shannon to receive a Career Achievement Award on Saturday afternoon, and to screen his upcoming film ‘What They Had,’” said Breckenridge Film Festival’s executive director Janice Miller in a press release. “Plus, there are so many other highlights that have aligned this year, culminating to what we believe is a true milestone in our 38 years of the Breck Film Festival.”

Much of the festival is broken into blocks that bundle similarly-themed shorts and features together. For instance, “War is Hell” pairs the Nanjing Massacre documentary “The Girl and the Picture” with three shorts that focus on various conflicts. Saturday’s “Not What You Would Expect” block collects two dramas, the short “Son to Son” and the feature “Locating Silver Lake,” that each have their own mysteries and secrets.

There is also a free childrens’ program that includes the animated shorts “A Drawing,” “The Extraordinary Story of Oliver Wyght,” “Treemaker,” and “Bamboo and Spark.” Following those screenings, Kathye Conti of the Creative Spirits Art Studio will lead children to create their own story on canvas with painting and collaging.

Since the festival is hosted in a mountain town, films focusing on the outdoors are of course well represented. The “Fisherman’s Dream” block has “A River’s Reckoning,” highlighting a family ranch along the Colorado River while “Live the Stream” chronicles the life of 86-year-old fly fisher Joe Humpreys. Humphreys will be present to answer questions and give a fishing demonstration after the film. Additionally, “Andy Irons: Kissed by God” shows how the late champion surfer dealt with bipolar disorder and opioid addiction.

With a mission to inspire and educate, the festival isn’t just for entertainment. This will be the second year that finalists from Thompson School District’s Centennial State Student Film Festival will show their work in Breckenridge. Out of the 150 shorts entered, 22 total made it to this international level of the competition, with 14 from Colorado.

Along with students getting to share their work with a large audience, they have the opportunity to have lunch with attending filmmakers to discuss their craft and participate in workshops to learn new techniques. The top three films receive cash prizes.

On Saturday night, before the world premiere of “Waterlily Jaguar,” it’s time to roll out the red carpet with an awards ceremony. Most winners have already been announced, but that night the festival will also recognize the best actor, director, actress, and more. Attendees should make sure to vote after each screening so that Sunday’s Audience Award can be given to the top three favorite films.

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