Aspen Film Announces Special Events and Guests as Part of 40th Anniversary Filmfest

Aspen Film Announces Special Events and Guests as Part of 40th Anniversary Filmfest

As a follow-up to the announcement of the film program for its 40th Anniversary Filmfest, Aspen Film has released the line-up of special events and in-town guests as part of the festival taking place September 23-29, 2019. Advance film and event tickets will be available for purchase to Aspen Film members beginning today, Wednesday, September 4, and to the public on Monday, September 9. Individual tickets can be purchased at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office and at Festival passes and memberships can be purchased online at

"To round out our 40th anniversary Filmfest, we are ecstatic to be able to expand on ideas presented in three of our eye-opening documentaries with some of the filmmakers and a few special guests. In general, we are looking to shine a light and help bring about positive change," says Aspen Film Executive + Artistic Director, Susan Wrubel. "We are extremely honored to be able to present our first-ever lifetime achievement award to Bob Rafelson and consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have a filmmaker of his caliber in our midst in Aspen. The evening we are spending with him promises to be a special one."


Opening Night Member & Official Guest Reception
Mon, Sept 23 | 5:30 PM | Wheeler Opera House
Aspen Film Members, Official Festival Guests and Filmfest Volunteers - please join for a private Opening Night Reception to kick off our 40th Aspen Filmfest.
SPONSORED BY: The Aspen Times


Filmmaker + Panel Discussion "The Magic Beneath Us: Mycelium & Mushrooms"
Tue, Sept 24 | 10:30 AM | Here House (614 East Cooper, Aspen)

Aspen Film Members Free | General Admission $10 at the door

Delving into the world of mycelium and mushrooms, we under-stand that fungi make the soil that supports life, connecting vast systems of roots from plants and trees all over the planet. What begins to emerge is a system that connects humanity and the natural world. We discover an organism that feeds, heals, reveals secrets of the universe and could help save the planet...! Please join Aspen Film for an in-depth conversation digging into the wonders of fungi and their effect on world nutrition, brain health, and the wellbeing of the planet.

PANELISTS: Louie Schwartzberg and special guest
MODERATOR: Glenda Greenwald
COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Here House, Paradise Bakery

SPONSORED BY: Aspen Brain Institute

Aspen Film Tribute | Lifetime Achievement Award to Bob Rafelson for Excellence in the Cinematic Arts

Wed, Sept 25 | 5:00 PM | Wheeler Opera House
$25 Aspen Film Members; $30 General Admission

7:00 PM | Post-Tribute Dinner | L'Hostaria (620 East Hyman Ave., Aspen)
$150 Aspen Film Members; $175 General Admission (both include Tribute ticket)

The tradition of Aspen Film began 40 years ago when our founder, Ellen Hunt, had a vision for a small-scale but inspiring festival emphasizing an independent spirit. In its early days, Aspen Filmfest focused on the work of American independent directors, but soon broadened its lineup to include the work of ground-breaking foreign directors as well. Four decades later, we continue to showcase work from world-class independent filmmakers. To commemorate our 40th anniversary, we are presenting our first-ever Aspen Film Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence in the Cinematic Arts to Bob Rafelson - renegade and ground-breaking director, producer, and writer whose career spans four decades.

FILMMAKER + PANEL DISCUSSION "Cracked Up The Movie: Letting The Light In"

Fri, Sept 27 | 10:30 AM | Here House (614 East Cooper, Aspen)

Aspen Film Members Free | General Admission $10 at the door

Understanding the long arm of childhood trauma through ex-tensive scientific research has become an inspirational movement dedicated to bringing trauma informed care to every community around the globe. Childhood trauma is not a mental illness, but a mental injury, and understanding its biological effects is lifting the stigma and shame and freeing people from believing they were born broken. The good news is that we know how to treat trauma - but first we need to understand what it actually is; how it affects the brain and body and where it comes from. Join us for a powerful, honest and enlightening conversation that will lift your spirits, bring you answers, connect us and bring us hope! Award winning filmmaker and trauma survivor Michelle Esrick will share her personal experience and hope as well as her ex-tensive research with renowned trauma experts. Ms. Esrick will talk with Aspen Hope Center's Michelle Muething and Sandy Iglehart to get to the heart of truly healing trauma.

PANELISTS: Michelle Esrick, Michelle Muething
MODERATOR: Sandy Iglehart
COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Here House, Paradise Bakery

SPONSORED BY: Aspen Hope Center

FILMMAKER + PANEL DISCUSSION "Changemakers Rising Up: Get Connected, Take Action, Make A Difference"

Sat, Sept 28 | 10:30 AM | Here House (614 East Cooper, Aspen)

Aspen Film Members Free | General Admission $10 at the door

For most of us, the personal, social, and global challenges we face today can often feel insurmountable. What can we as individuals do to make a difference and bring about change? What are the new models of success and how do we create positive change in our communities? Inspiration, impact, personal and social change are all elements to shifting the paradigm and helping to create a brighter future for everyone. Join WeRiseUP activist filmmakers and influencers for a discussion about how we all are called to Rise Up and make a difference in the world.

PANELISTS: WeRiseUP creators Kate Maloney, Michael Shaun Conaway, Alex Melnyk, Paul Miller AKA DJ Spooky
COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Here House, Paradise Bakery

Closing Night Party
Sat, Sept 28 | 9:00 PM | 7908 (415 East Hyman Ave, Aspen)

Free to passholders and ticket buyers of either Wheeler Opera House Closing Night film. Space is limited, RSVP required.
Come celebrate four decades of inspiring cinema with us on closing night of Aspen Film's 40th Anniversary Filmfest. Featuring a special set by DJ Spooky.

SPONSORED BY: Brenden Mann Foundation


Noah Bashevkin
Producer, Writer; MUSEUM TOWN

Noah Bashevkin is a producer and programmer with THE OFFICE performing arts + film, an independent curator and production company based in New York. Noah has worked in film production, international film distribution strategy, and as an associate with Catapult Film Fund, for whom he still serves as a program advisor. With THE OFFICE, Noah has contributed programming to the Margaret Mead Film Festival and Aspen Filmfest, produced Carrie Mae Weems' PAST TENSE and the Sundance Works-In-Progress reading series in New York.

Mark Bozek

Mark Bozek's diverse background includes three years as an assistant to famed Method acting guru, Lee Strasberg, six years as a marketing executive for designer Willi Smith of WilliWear, a producer at FOX Television and a twenty-plus career in TV shop-ping at QVC, then as CEO of HSN and EVINE Live. In 2016 he and producer Russell Nuce co-founded content and commerce company Live Rocket. THE TIMES OF BILL CUNNINGHAM is his first feature-length documentary.

Rachel Chanoff
Executive Producer, MUSEUM TOWN

Rachel Chanoff has been working in performing arts and film for 35 years and is the founder and director of THE OFFICE performing arts + film. She is the Curator of Performing Arts and Film for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), Consultant to the Feature Film and Theater Programs for the Sundance Institute, Curator of The New York Jewish Film Festival and The Margaret Mead Film Festival, Director of Programming of the CenterSeries at Williams College, and the Artistic Director of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival.

Michael Shaun Conaway
Director, WeRiseUP

Michael Shaun Conaway is the Director of WeRiseUP The Movie and CEO at Storyworks, a social impact creative agency. His mission is to liberate greatness in people and organizations to redesign our failing systems and create an anti-fragile, anti-rival world, one that works for all. At Storyworks, he helps companies grow their purpose, profit and impact focusing on their authentic why and their true north story. He has developed major interactive training and leadership development programs for hundreds of thousands of people for companies including Coca Cola, Dollar Shave Club, Owens Corning, Telus and Landmark Education.

Michelle Esrick
Director, CRACKED UP

Michelle Esrick is an award-winning filmmaker, poet, and social activist. Esrick's directing credits include CRACKED UP, THE WAVY GRAVY MOVIE: SAINT MISBEHAVIN', and the music video LET'S RISE! which CNN dubbed the anthem for THE MARCH for Our Lives Movement in protest of the epidemic of gun violence in America. She is also the Executive Producer of the Netflix Original film, RAM DASS, GOING HOME, which was short-listed for a 2017 Academy Award®.

Glenda Greenwald
President & Founder, Aspen Brain Institute, Aspen Brain Forum and AspenBrainLab

Greenwald is a Brain Health advocate, a social entrepreneur and innovator in the area of applied Brain Science. Greenwald organized the first Aspen Brain Forum conference in 2010, an annual meeting of International Brain Researchers. In 2019 Aspen Brain Institute began shifting its position from a focus on fighting Brain Disease to becoming a global forum for Brain Health. Greenwald was Founder and Chair Emeritus of the Aspen Center for Integral Health, a national institute convening conferences on integrative and preventive medicine from 2000-2010.

Sandy Iglehart
Board President, Aspen Hope Center

Sandy helped found the Aspen Hope Center in 2010 after losing her daughter Courtenay to suicide. Because of this loss Sandy was determined to try to eradicate the shame and stigma that surrounds mental health issues. Her daughter's spirit continues to inspire her to "Shine A Light" on mental health and honor her memory. Sandy has been the Board President of the Hope Center for 6 years and served as Secretary on the Susan G. Komen Foundation for 11 years.

Kate Maloney
Creator & Producer, WeRiseUP

Kate Maloney, PhD is the Creator & Producer of WeRiseUP The Movie and Movement that features the United Nations and key global leaders. Kate was featured as a top entrepreneur in Inc Magazine and is an INC 500 Company Founder. Over the last decade, Kate has founded over a dozen technology companies primarily in the healthcare sector. She has served as Co-Board Chair with John Mackey (Founder & CEO, Whole Foods Market) to bring together conscious business and thought leaders together in a non-profit context to solve some of the most serious problems facing the planet today.

Alex Melnyk
Producer, WeRiseUP

Alex Melnyk is a Producer of WeRiseUP The Movie and the President of Storyworks, a social impact creative agency helping brands grow purpose, profit and impact. Alex became the co-manager of the international Pop band, The Thompson Twins, at the age of 19. After several years leading the band's marketing, communications, and tour production Alex found her way to the legendary film production company, Propaganda Films, where she became an Executive Producer. In the early nineties she made the jump to digital as the VP of Interactive at MCA/Universal.

Paul D. Miller
aka DJ Spooky

Paul D. Miller is a composer, multi-media artist, and writer whose work immerses audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. Miller has collaborated with an array of recording artists, including Metallica, Chuck D, Steve Reich, and Yoko Ono. In 2014, he was named National Geographic Emerging Explorer. He produced PIONEERS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CINEMA, a collection of the earliest films made by African American directors, released in 2015. Miller's artwork has appeared in the Whitney Biennial, The Venice Biennial for Architecture, the Miami/Art Basel fair, and many other museums and galleries.

Michelle Muething
Executive Director, Aspen Hope Center

Michelle helped create the Hope Center in 2010 and serves as the Executive Director. She received her graduate degree in Clinical Psychology with a subspecialty in neuropsychology from Western Carolina University. She has worked as a crisis clinician in various inner city and rural emergency departments, has conducted psychological evaluations for prison inmates, functioned as Juvenile Coordinator and then Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Center in Beaufort, South Carolina and was part of the administration team as the Corporate Compliance Officer at Fairbanks Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Louie Schwartzberg

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer whose notable career spans more than four decades providing breathtaking imagery using his time-lapse, high-speed and macro cinematography techniques. Louie's theatrical releases include the 3D IMAX film MYSTERIES OF THE UNSEEN WORLD with National Geographic, narrated by Forest Whitaker; the theatrical feature, WINGS OF LIFE for Disney nature, narrated by Meryl Streep, and AMERICA'S HEART AND SOUL for Walt Disney Studios. His TED Talks have over 55 million views on YouTube.

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