Stunning fall colors aside, this time of year is also officially film season in town. From a director focus on Julian Schnabel at the Aspen Art Museum to action-packed adventure films—and an independent festival in between—here are seven film events not to miss:
September 15, 6:30–10 p.m.
Bonnie Fisher Park at Third Street Center, Carbondale
Missed the beloved adrenaline rush that is the 5Point Film Festival in April? Catch the best of the fest under the stars with a live bluegrass show by One Hot Mess, s'mores around the campfire, Sierra Nevada brews, and bites from Open Fire Catering before the compilation of documentary shorts begins at sundown.
Ruin and Rose World Premiere
September 16, 8 p.m.
Wheeler Opera House
Formerly of indie production powerhouse Sweetgrass Productions, acclaimed writer/director Ben Sturgulewski has joined the award-winning team at Matchstick Productions to deliver Ruin and Rose, a dreamlike journey following the talents of the world’s top skiers. There’ll be a party off screen too, with DJ Berkel beats on stage, athlete appearances, and giveaways–including a heliski trip from Selkirk Tangiers.
Wheeler Opera House & Crystal Theatre
Following a full staff exodus over the past year (full disclosure: I was one of them), Aspen Film returns from a quiet summer for its 39th annual Aspen Filmfest with an abbreviated program featuring 20 narrative and documentary films from the international festival circuit curated by Rachel Chanoff—one of three new “guest programming directors” filling the void of an artistic director. There’s more of a members'-only vibe this year, but the opening reception and two panel events are free and open to the public.
No Man's Land Film Festival
Carbondale Community School
All genders are welcome at this celebration of all-female adventure films. After a year on the road, No Man's Land launches a new tour with an action-packed night of babes, beer, and breaking boundaries.
Harry and Snowman
September 28, 6:30 p.m. (reception), 7:30 p.m.
Wheeler Opera House
The unreleased documentary Jumpers earned Aspen native Karin Reid Offield a spot in Aspen Filmfest back in the early ’80s. Three decades later, she reconnected with a rider she followed, Harry de Leyer, and has gone on to produce the award-winning documentary Harry and Snowman. A favorite on the festival circuit in 2015, the film traces the incredible bond between de Leyer, one of the most successful riders in the country, and Snowman, whom he bought off a meat truck for $80 in 1956. Under de Leyer’s care and training, Snowman transformed from an emaciated plow horse to a vibrant, loyal, and internationally famous show jumper. The advance screening is a fundraiser for the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council, WindWalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center, and the Snowman Rescue Fund with a pre-screening reception catered by Cache Cache.
$25 (screening), $75 (reception & screening)
Director Focus: Julian Schnabel
September 30, October 28, November 18, 7 p.m.
Aspen Art Museum
As a complement to his exhibition of paintings this fall, the encore run of the popular “Movies at the Museum” series celebrates three feature-length films by Julian Schnabel that tell the true stories of brave, creative individuals: Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Basquiat.
Wheeler Opera House, Aspen
Now in its 12th year, The Meeting is an all-out celebration of snow stoke to warm up for the season ahead. Presented by GoPro, the event, hosted by the Aspen Skiing Company, will again serve up an epic weekend of film, music, conference sessions, and exclusive outdoor adventures.
$325 all access pass ($399 after Sept. 23); individual tickets TBA