This region is blessed with several film festivals, but you might be excused to think that they have come and gone at this point in the year.
Mountainfilm, for example, had been outdated since Memorial Day weekend. The Telluride Film Festival – yet another victim of COVID-19 – has been canceled entirely, though programmers have released a list of films that have reportedly been screened and where to find them.
The Ridgway Independent Film Fest, on the other hand, is different: it’s still ongoing, offering a list of some three dozen new films to viewers for a week starting Friday.
Admission is just $ 10 and you can screen the films “as often as you like,” said organizing committee chair Amanda Gabrielson.
While in-person film festivals offer an undeniable buzz – if not glamor – online viewing does provide some benefits to moviegoers. For example, viewers can dive in deep and watch a movie (or for that matter a series of scenes) over and over again from screens of all sizes, at any time.
Programmers also have the luxury (and the audience gets the giveaway) of showing / seeing more films than would normally be shown at the Sherbino Theater – the festival’s home screen in non-Covid times – when audiences and Visiting filmmakers are limited to a tight schedule.
“We’ve extended the festival a little longer this year than we would have done at the Sherb,” Danielson said (in total there are around 30 short films, by professionals and amateurs alike, on offer). The programmers also gave other compensations to the public this year. “We can’t have an audience award because there is nobody” present at the Sherb, Danielson said reasonably. Instead, “we are giving out three more awards: best of the festival, best amateur film and best professional film”.
There are also no filmmakers in attendance this year, a “perk” for directors – and audiences – that has always distinguished the Ridgway gathering.
“Usually we invite filmmakers to town,” Danielson said. “This year, we have recorded short biographies with the directors,” which gives the filmmakers the opportunity to describe their work (and their inspiration for these works in particular) to audiences at home.
“It goes without saying that we are disappointed that we cannot host the festival in person this year,” said Ridgway Mayor John Clark, one of the festival’s organizers. “It was difficult, frustrating and a little scary to do it virtually without costing a lot of money. (The festival receives support from the City of Ridgway, Alpenglow Arts Alliance, the Boettcher Foundation and Colorado Creative Industries as well as ticket sales. Additional donations are welcome.)
“Hope everything goes well,” Clark said of the screening experience. “The Vimeo platform appears to be very robust. Clark is particularly inspired by this year’s list of judges, including National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk. Viewers may be more familiar with Ozturk from the documentary “Meru”, on the famous “Shark Fin” mountain road in the Indian Himalayas. Ozturk didn’t just star in this film with fellow mountaineers Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin (who directed), he was its director of photography. Professional mountaineer and filmmaker Taylor Rees, Ozturk’s partner in life as well as on the high peaks (according to GearPatrol.com, the couple climbed the Grand Teton on their first date), are also the nominees judge. of this year.
“I contacted them when I learned they had moved to Ridgway,” Clark said. “It’s exciting to have them involved. They are extremely accomplished filmmakers and (as the mayor put it, with a characteristic understatement, only at Ridgeway) “really interesting people.”
For admission to the Ridgway Independent Film Fest, visit sherbino.org.