2023 Festival Schedule
Our film festival accepts submissions from filmmakers both in Colorado and around the world. Selected films will be showcased on-site during the festival and compete for awards such as best in their category and the Audience Choice Award.
We are looking forward to hosting this year's inaugural event and hope you will consider joining us.
Friday, September 22nd
The program will begin promptly at 6:00 PM with a brief intermission also taking place.
LISTEN- Best Experimental
This experimental short film artistically explores the lack of communication in today’s society due to technology, the need to be heard, and polarizing belief systems. With everyone talking over one another, it is difficult to hear above the noise. Only by sitting in silence, and actively listening can we truly begin to hear.
Director: Casey Schaffer, Westminster, CO Category: Experimental Documentary
Footprints of our Ancestors: Mesa Verde National Park- Honorable Mention
After 25 years, Mesa Verde National Park has a new film focusing on contemporary Pueblos’ and Tribes’ connections to Mesa Verde as told by members of those communities. Footprints of our Ancestors is a short film produced by Boyd Productions with assistance from No Reservations Productions. The film is narrated by Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo with music composed by Ehren Kee Natay of Kewa Pueblo. It includes interviews with Brian Vallo, of Acoma Pueblo, and Madeline Naranjo, of Santa Clara Pueblo and an appearance by the Oak Canyon Dancers of Jemez Pueblo.
The film’s creation included over three years of planning, filming, interviewing and consulting with the Park’s 26 affiliated tribes.
Director: Jennifer Boyd Category: Colorado Documentary
Massage, mayhem, music, and madness— Sponsored Content entangles bandmates into a web of conspiracy in “The Session” documentary. There are few things more relaxing than enjoying a deep tissue massage while Denver’s most extreme rock band Sponsored Content serenades you with the head-banging rhythms and inter-sensory lyrics of the title track of their latest EP, “Off The Grid.” But after the knots have been worked out, what is the real message behind the massage?
Director: Jason Edelstein, Denver, CO Category: Short Documentary
ISLAY- Audience Choice Award
Islay……. a place of rich history, rugged landscape, rare wildlife, and a whisky heritage like no other. It’s a place of renowned friendliness, beautiful scenery, and over 3,000 years of compressed, waterlogged moss, vegetation and plants that have grown and died, creating the Peat banks of today. There is nowhere else on earth like it. A quest to find Scotland’s best whisky might bring you to the island, and as many of you find out, Islay is so much more and the very reason why you stay, immigrate, or become returning visitors for years to come. There are nine iconic distilleries here, with a few more distilleries planned and approved to include Port Ellen. Some of the most famous names in the whisky world are located here. All on an island of 3,000 people. Whisky is, of course, Islay’s ultimate claim to fame; it is a way of life on this windswept isle. That said, there is so much more to Islay’s charm than its golden drams: the landscape, the light, the coast, the cuisine, and the locals.
Director: Jeffrey Phillip Branford, Apple Valley, CA Category: Short Documentary
Grammy award winning artist Jeremy Garrett's song "River Wild" dives into timelessness of nature and the human spirit. For this music video we wanted to tell a true Colorado story. A beautiful ranch outside of Salida, Colorado allowed for a perfect timeless location to tell a story of a mother and her daughter.
Director: Adam K Monroe, Bailey, CO Category: Music Video
NOT A TOY: Bad Mood
Music video for the song "Bad Mood" by NOT A TOY (Fearless Records).
Director: Hudson Bloom, Fort Collins, CO Category: Music Video
Holdfast. -Find A Way- Honorable Mention
Find A Way is a song about pursuing an answer and quenching the desire for change. It's about forcing yourself to overcome difficulties and make a move to better your situation.
Director: Ryan Frazer, Fort Collins, CO Category: Music Video
The Last Ride
Along with a partner, I Produced, edited, and directed a documentary on a unique gothic young woman who closely resembles Beetlejuice’s, Winona Ryder. And who drives a hearse as her vehicle of choice. Through a chance encounter at a local Walmart, I approached this individual and learned about her perspective on life and death. With her consent, I embarked on the challenge of respectfully capturing her unique perspective in a documentary. This approach allowed me to create a compelling and thought-provoking film that delves into the importance of being open-minded and respectful when interacting with individuals who may have different perspectives and lifestyles, which is a valuable lesson that one can apply in many different ways contexts.
Director: Jesse Smolan & Reign Shivanti La France, Colorado College. Category: Student Documentary
An Open Door.-Temple Grandin- Best Feature
An Open Door is the forthcoming documentary that reflects on the influential life and work of Dr. Temple Grandin as a champion of the humane treatment of livestock, autism rights, and inclusive neurodiversity by employing her gifted insights from her personal experience with autism and visual thinking. The film speaks with Dr. Grandin, her colleagues, industry professionals and those she has influenced to celebrate her groundbreaking life, lessons learned and lasting legacy. An Open Door is directed by award-winning filmmaker John Barnhardt and presented by Colorado State University.
Director: John Alexander Barnhardt, North Charleston, NC Category: Feature Documentary
Saturday, September 23rd
10:00 AM-6:00 PM
The program will begin promptly at 10:00 AM with an hour break for lunch. A brief intermission will take place both in the morning and afternoon. Award Ceremony to follow immediately after completion of all films.
Only a year after losing her daughter Olivia to brain cancer and her husband who died suddenly after Olivia's diagnosis, Daphne and her two children remain lost in the most painful fog of grief. Cultural clichés of how she should let go and move on agitate and simultaneously motivate her. Daphne had always followed her instincts as Olivia was sick and here again these instincts lead her to take action. She begins by starting up a one way conversation with her computer, releasing all forms of emotion into a void which seems to be more understanding than the world around her. Reflecting upon this trauma and pain becomes one of Daphne's survival strategies. Driving out onto the dessert road is the next step she takes to survive. She gathers up 50 of Olivia’s Barbies and retraces the last road trip she and her children took after all the doctors told her Olivia would not make it. It was a trip starting from Milan, Italy reaching to Las Vegas and finally ending up in Zion, Utah. On this new trip, she is on her own as a filmmaker. Daphne mourns two different loves in her life in two compltetly different ways. While exploring the great divide between how we "should be" and who we really are, she creates her own individual visceral vocabulary for trauma in search of renewed hope and balance. Venturing out on a very raw and powerful cinematic journey, she turns the idea of "letting go" and how we deal with grief upside down. She takes us with her out onto the road, weaving fragments of the past into her present, unearthing the extremes of loss and love, and carries us into the heart of what it means to be alive.
Director: Daphne Yeager Ostendorf, Rockaway Park, NY Category: Feature Documentary
Rocks 4 Sale!- Best Colorado
A slice-of-life look at how kids in the former mining town of Silverton, Colorado stay busy in the summer by “mining” and selling rocks to tourists. Through this time-honored rite of passage, these “rock stars” learn history, social skills, and become little entrepreneurs while delighting tourists from around the world.
Director: David Dibble, Hanford, CA Category: Colorado Documentary
A Good Neighbor
A Good Neighbor is a short documentary about a Latina single mother’s fight against racism and climate change as she campaigns for city council in one of the nation’s most polluted zip codes.
Director: Maggie Hart & Brittany Zampella, Lafayette, CO Category: Colorado Documentary
Danielle McCarthy, a Gold Star wife, unexpectedly lost her husband, David, a U.S. Veteran, in 2017. His body was brought to Sunset Mesa in Montrose, Colorado to be cremated. One day, she received a call from the FBI informing her that the cremains she had may not be her husband after all. As a result of the FBI investigation, Danielle learned David’s body had been sold without her consent and later learned it's not considered illegal in the state of Colorado. This is Danielle’s story.
Director: Jake Dagel, Colorado Springs, CO Category: Colorado Documentary
Overwhelming Majority is an experimental documentary short dealing with issues of loneliness, alienation, and social anxiety. A young woman recounts a suicide attempt, muses on the nature of connectedness, and ultimately yearns for understanding.
Director: Joseph Irvin, Colorado Springs, CO Category: Experimental Documentary
Older than the Roman Empire, the giant sequoia trees have stood thousands of years and weathered every force mother nature has thrown their way, that is, until now. From the logger’s ax to climate change-induced fire storms, the famous Big Trees of the Sierra Nevada need our help to survive, so they may continue to thrive, and for countless generations to walk their groves in wonderment.
Director: Daniel J. Richardson, East Aurora, NY Category: Experimental Documentary
Cancer Alley- Honorable Mention
Our newest collaboration with renowned poet Lucy English combines footage shot on location In Cancer Alley with images of nature, especially cypress groves, which are as fragile and as threatened as the Cancer Alley communities. The visuals are accompanied by a poem about what it is like to live in the small towns near the Mississippi River, between East Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which are now dominated by more than 200 chemical plants and oil refineries, sometimes literally located in residents' back yards. The cypress trees can live for more than 1000 years, if they are not chopped down for cypress mulch or their habitat destroyed. Human lifespans are much shorter, but we may not survive as a species unless we stop living as if all that matters is today, and learn to think on the time scale of the trees.
Director: Pamela Falkenberg & Jack Cochran, Austin, TX Category: Experimental Documentary
The Signal And The Noise
Music video that tells a story about migration and Cape May, New Jersey's unique location and the new Cape May Point Science Center's desire to study, preserve and protect this place.
Director: James Robert Hannah, Catonsville, MD Category: Music Video
The Nest is a documentary short film about the impact of a unique tattoo studio, "Nest Art Collective". Owner Lora Bird founded & built Nest to fit her vision of a safe and inclusive place for all people to receive tattoos.
Director: Connor Gawkoski, University of Colorado Denver Category: Student Documentary
SAR: Search and Rescue- Best Student
Backcountry Search and Rescue volunteers in southern Colorado fight through both the mental and physical demands needed to keep the backcountry safe and accessible for all people.
Director: Tristan Owen, Florida State University Category: Student Documentary
Ooh La La
The official music video for Carly Hanley's "Ooh La La".
Director: Jason Knade, Palos Park, IL Category: Music Video
iBleazy - F4U
Director: Jordan A. Johnson, Colorado Springs, CO Category: Music Video
Verbal Deluxe - Audible
This video was created over the course of a weekend as filmmakers were paired with bands in a unique creative experience.
Director: Chad Weber & Steve Vanderheide, Longmont, CO Category: Music Video
Karma- Best Music Video
A story about revenge, high-school drama, and what it means to follow your dreams.
Director: Hudson Bloom, Fort Collins, CO Category: Music Video
Walking Up to the Ocean- Honorable Mention
On this trip, we left trails and guidebooks behind, and set out to find our own path from North America's lowest point to the Pacific Ocean. On the way, we pass through the incredible landscapes for which the state of California is known. We had only one goal: Reach the coast. How long it took, or how we got there was not important. For the next month we follow the sun, the moon and the stars to the west. Until there's no more west to go.
Director: Andrew Pike, Boulder, CO Category: Short Documentary
The Dog Musher
The last dog musher of a Yup'ik Alaskan village meditates on what drives him to continue his passion.
Director: Silas Karbo, Colorado Springs, CO Category: Short Documentary
Black is Beautiful- Best Short
This short documentary film tells the story of a man who uses his talents to support and lift his community. When the "Black Lives Matter" movement grew in awareness, Marcus Baskerville head brewer of Weathered Souls Brewing Co. wanted to shed light on the growing problem of inequality and police brutality. This is where the "Black is Beautiful" project was born. We follow the impact of the initiative and where it is today.
Director: Marco Antonio Ortega, San Antonio, TX Category: Short Documentary
Art Week in Rensselaer
Unbeknownst to many, Rensselaer, Indiana is a street art destination--boasting over 50 murals on its downtown walls painted by world renowned street artists. Narrated by the festival's curator, Cameron Moberg, "Art Week in Rensselaer" follows this year's group of muralists and how the festival affects not only the town its in, but the artists as well.
Director: Mike Kryzston, Demotte, IN Category: Short Documentary
Sounds of Tomorrow- Honorable Mention
Filmed and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Sounds of Tomorrow is a documentary featuring ecology researchers with eco-acoustics careers. How can we explore and explain nature's hidden voices around us in our increasingly noisy world? Here we gain insight from professionals Jacob Job, Timothy Weaver, and Dr. Sharolyn Anderson.
Director: Chloe Smith, University of Denver Category: Student Documentary
Patient Number Five- Honorable Mention
A new drug could be the cure for the Elephant Man disease, Proteus Syndrome. But, for some patients it could come too late.
Director: Alex Fahl, Colorado Springs, CO Category: Feature Documentary