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Aspen FilmFest Returns With In-Person, Virtual and Drive-In Screenings

Oct 12, 2020


When Aspen Film kicks off its 41st annual FilmFest on Thursday, Oct. 15 , it might be nostalgic for local filmgoers; the festival is hosting its opening and closing night screenings in-person at Aspen’s Isis Theatre.

"We're really trying to create dialogue and conversation, while at the same time giving our audience access and exposure to some of the best cinema from around the globe."

“We have certain patrons who keep saying ‘we can’t wait to get back in the theater,’” said Aspen Film’s executive and artistic director Susan Wrubel. “We are following all social distancing rules, the theater itself is following all social distancing rules.”

The theater will be filled to 25% capacity for the in-person portion of the event, and the rest of the films will be streamed virtually for audiences at home. Also new to this year’s Aspen FilmFest is a drive-in venue—”David Byrne’s American Utopia,” which was directed by Spike Lee—is playing at Snowmass’ Town Park on Friday, Oct. 16.

“I saw the show on Broadway before the pandemic, fell in love with it, and when I read that Spike Lee had come on board to direct it as a documentary, I started bothering HBO,” Wrubel said. “We jumped on the opportunity and we’re really, I think, the fourth or fifth venue in the country to do this film as a drive-in.”

Wrubel adds that along with the festival’s hybrid in-person and virtual format, this year’s film selections also reflect some of the larger social, political and environmental issues affecting the country right now. 

“We’re really trying to create dialogue and conversation, while at the same time giving our audience access and exposure to some of the best cinema from around the globe,” she said.

Passes, tickets and a full schedule can be found on Aspen Film’s website.