Breck film fest features range from weird to mainstream

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Summit Daily/Mark Fox

BRECKENRIDGE – David Bertelsen plays a coat-and-tie-wearing social worker who desperately rips opium poppies off peoples’ lawns to get high.

He directed, starred in and co-wrote the screenplay for “Poppies,” a 109-minute film that premiered at Breckenridge Film Festival on Saturday.

Bertelsen said that after working as an actor in soap operas and other independent films, he decided it was time to “take the bull by the horns” with his debut as a director.

“Everybody needs to take (him/her)self to the next level to have something to offer,” he said.

The work of Mel Gibson has inspired Bertelsen, who stayed in Rome with actor James Caviezel – a.k.a Jesus – to observe filming of “Passion of the Christ.”

As one of several independent film-makers in town for the four-day festival, Bertelsen said he’s enjoyed the camaraderie and opportunity to view the work of others.

Damien Patrik, who directed the short film “First and Last,” calls his piece a “fast-paced-kooky-crazy comedy.” The film involves a landlord in Sedona, Ariz. having trouble finding renters who aren’t weirdoes.

Patrik said the film’s been well-received at 12 festivals.

“But I still freak out before every screening,” he said.

Patrik said the experience of living in Sedona – a community occupied by people with such names as “Princess Butterfly” and “Luminous Crabcake” – inspired him to make the film.

The festival also featured a 15-year-old who’s already acted in 10 films. AnnaSopia Robb, who plays Sara in “Race To Witch Mountain,” appeared for some questions before a screening at Skyline Cinema in Dillon.

She said she managed three hours of schoolwork every day during the filming, and that co-stars became like family.

“We just had a really great time together,” Robb said.

She hesitated for a moment when a young audience member asked what sort of re-make she’d like to act in.

“I always wanted to be a Charlie’s Angel,” she said.

Her mother, Janet Robb, said they’ve traveled together from Toronto to Los Angeles and even Czech Republic while promoting the film, which was completed in June.

They also spent a couple weeks were in India, helping to bring education and English to the impoverished Dalits – a caste so low they’re often treated worse than animals, Janet Robb said.

The Robbs are headed for Los Angeles next week for filming of a commercial for “Race to Witch Mountain” that will appear on Disney Channel.

Robert Allen can be reached at (970) 668-4628 or at

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