One of the most challenging things about attending the annual Vail Film Festival is spending your time inside a movie theater when you’re in such a beautiful mountain town. That won’t be a problem this year, as the 17th festival has switched to an entirely online iteration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival was originally scheduled to run March 26 through 29, but this new version of the event - which focuses on women filmmakers and independent films - now makes its digital debut Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 17.
“Initially we thought we would postpone the festival to the summer or even early fall, but as the situation worsened and cases continued to increase, we thought the right move was to take the festival online this year,” explained Sean Cross, who is the executive director of the festival with his brother, Scott. “We didn’t want a scenario where we would have to postpone again.”
The more than 50 films on display as part of the event run the gamut from features and documentaries to shorts and student films. And festival director Corinne Hara hopes the online approach might expand the films’ reach to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to make the drive.
“It’s really exciting for something that got turned on its head like this did to provide us new opportunities and partnerships,” Hara said. “The need to highlight women and independent film is still there, and still relevant.”
In bringing the festival to the digital world, the aim was to mirror the physical festival as much as possible, Cross explained. For the actual screenings, it works similarly to many streaming platforms. Films will be available for 24 hours on their assigned day, and can be streamed on your phone, computer or Apple TV. Just like at the festival, audience members can vote for their favorite films and enter a sweepstakes to win passes to next year’s festival.
“Over the last 17 years, the festival has become an important part of the lives of many people, including people in the local community, film fans from across the country, and the many filmmakers that have showcased their work in Vail over the last two decades,” Cross said.
Organizers also want to keep the audience-filmmaker interaction through live question and answer sessions with the filmmakers and its ever-popular Women in Film panel will be in webinar form and feature “Lucifer’s” Lesley-Ann Brandt, actor, producer and director Alexandra Barreto and more.
“Especially now, we’re looking for ways to connect, and this is another way they can do so,” Hara said. “We’re already planning for next year’s event, but this year’s will be a good ride.”
For more information and to purchase passes, visit www.VailFilmFestival.com. Head over to my Instagram, where I'll be covering the festival throughout the weekend.
Outdoor activity - visit Addenbrooke Park
A true oasis in the middle of Lakewood, Addenbrooke Park offers all kinds of space for your spring enjoyment. For the more active-minded there’s walking and biking paths, baseball and soccer fields, horse arena and trails, and perhaps most alluringly, a stunning lake with mountain views. For art lovers, there’s Lakewood’s 50th Anniversary public artwork, located at the historic Addenbrooke homestead chimney near the Garrison Street park entrance.
The park is located at 600 South Kipling Parkway, and for more information visit www.lakewood.org.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Five Points Jazz Festival
Denver Arts & Venues partnered with Rocky Mountain Public Media (Rocky Mountain PBS, KUVO JAZZ and THE DROP) to bring the Five Points Jazz Festival to audiences in a variety of mediums since they can’t attend in person.
The two-hour event will be broadcast from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 on Rocky Mountain PBS, 8 to 10 p.m. on KUVO JAZZ 89.3 FM, streamed on kuvo.org, and on-demand at www.ArtsandVenues.com/5PJF. The concert will also be shown on the social media channels of the presenting organizations.
The event will feature more than jazz bands - there will also be comedians, poets and other leaders. Visit www.artsandvenuesdenver.com/events-programs/five-points-jazz-festival for details.
Streaming style - ‘Travel Man: 48 Hours In...’
Most of us are hungry to change up our window’s view after several months quarantined at home. But since traveling isn’t going to be an enticing or safe option for a while yet, why not let one of Britain’s funniest people take you on a hilarious world tour?
Richard Ayoade hosts “Travel Man: 48 Hours In…,” which takes audiences to some of the world’s most interesting cities for 48 hours’ worth of culture, dining and droll hilarity. In every city Ayoade is joined by a fellow entertainer - people like Jon Hamm, Aisling Bea, Lena Dunham and Paul Rudd - and the pair explores worthy highlights of the city. It is sometimes informative, but always a laugh-riot.
Find the series for free at Hulu or on your favorite on-demand service.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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