Doing something for the first time is always a fraught process, but you often come away with all kinds of beneficial lessons that can make it smoother next time. Such is the case for the Vail Film Festival, which was an early adopter of the all-virtual film festival approach in May 2020. And as the event prepares for a second virtual event, organizers are ready for a bigger and bolder event.
“Last year we had to do a quick turnaround and worked with a new platform to create an online viewing experience,” said Corinne Hara, festival director. “Knowing the platform like we do makes this year’s festival much easier, but understanding how people watch online with all the flexibility it provides is the big change.”
The 18th annual Vail Film Festival runs from Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26. Films will be streaming on Eventive’s virtual platform, which allows viewers to view their selected films on Roku, AppleTV or their computer or mobile device.
This year’s event continues the organization’s mission of fostering “independent film through film screenings, panels, workshops, networking events and educational projects,” with a particular focus on female filmmakers. With 80 films available to view, this is the festival’s most international lineup yet, with entries coming in from all over the world, including New Zealand, Japan and Brazil.
“If you think of creativity, so often it’s fueled by personal strife and triumph. This year we’ve had some incredible submissions because I think the pandemic allowed people more time to be creative,” Hara said. “As people have become more comfortable with virtual content, that has encouraged more submissions from around the world.”
One of the festival’s strongest areas is its documentary category, and this year is no exception. One of the highlights is "D-REP: Fight for Life.” This film tells the story of Dave Repsher, a Summit County Flight for Life nurse, who survived a helicopter crash in July 2015.
It is also important for festival organizers to keep alive the connection and networking that traditionally accompanies film festivals — something they’re aiming to do with question-and-answer sessions, panels, a live award ceremony on the 26th and other social-media-driven options.
The push for the personal element really gets to the heart of what makes a film festival special — something Vail organizers understand clearly.
“We’re always excited for filmmakers to spend time in town, so we’re excited to see interactions on social media and host a virtual festival lounge, since that’s the closest we can get to mirroring in person,” Hara said. “We have great programming by great filmmakers, and we know sharing everyone’s point of view enriches the conversations.”
Visit vailfilmfestival.com for details, passes and tickets to individual screenings. And I’ll be covering the festival on my Instagram at @Calmacil20, so follow along there.
A beautiful party for a beautiful junk sale
The Action Center, with its goal of providing necessary services to those in need, has never been more necessary than it has been for the last year-and-a-half.
The Jefferson County nonprofit is hosting a free block party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 1390 Brentwood St. The event will feature dancing, a free dunk tank, bounce houses, food trucks and access to its annual Beautiful Junk Sale.
It’s a great way to have some fun and support a crucial organization, so visit theactioncenter.org for all the details.
Failing toward fun at Freelancer Failure Ball
The mental health nonprofit To Write Love is getting a boost thanks to a unique event — The Freelancer Failure Ball.
The black-tie event begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Shift Workspaces - Coworking Office Space, 2679 W. Main St. in Littleton. According to provided information, the event celebrates failure in business. Speakers like “The Good Place’s” Meryl Hathaway and “The Hills’” Holly Montag will be toasting failure and the fact that we all fail at times.
Tickets include full access to five hours of open bar (with specialty cocktails), food and a lineup of seven speakers. Get all the details at thefreelancerfailureball.com.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Wild Pink and Ratboys at Globe Hall
Late summer/early autumn was almost specifically designed for alt-country music, and two of the very best working in that genre are New York’s Wild Pink and Chicago’s Ratboys. Each takes their own spin on the roots-driven music, but they both work in elements of alt-rock to stunning effect.
Seeing the groups together will be a rare treat, so don’t miss them (as well as opener Bellhoss) at the Globe Hall, 4483 Logan St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Get tickets at globehall.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.