Crested Butte Film Festival: September 27-29, 2012
Jen and Michael Brody have heart. They’re the kind of people who move seamlessly from a microphone on stage to the chair across your cafe table, totally approachable even as they’re juggling all of the logistics that make their film festival happen.
They’re the kind of people who are always excited to see you, who stop to chat even when you know they probably have a to-do list the length of Main Street, who answer thoughtfully and make an effort to remember people’s names. In this way, they’re like many of the people you will find in Crested Butte, Colorado. But they’re far from ski bums or relaxed retirees. The couple, who met while hiking Boulder’s Mt. Sanitas and recently relocated to live in Crested Butte full time—have drive and a big vision to create a thriving film festival in this cozy, mountain town. And so far, they’ve been able balance smarts and dedication while not losing touch with the genuine love of film that got them started on this path.
“I like to think that our film festival could one day be what Sundance was when it first started,” Michael—an indie filmmaker himself— told me once over a dinner of Thai food at another great Colorado film festival, Mountainfilm in Telluride, “The kind of place where an unknown filmmaker can submit their work and get it seen, and meet other people who are inspired to make the same kind of art.”
At a time when the great indie film festivals, like Sundance, SXSW and the Telluride Film Festival are flooded with Hollywood stars, distribution executives and exclusive guest lists, smaller, more homegrown events like the Crested Butte Film Festival are needed more than ever. Theirs is the kind of film festival where artists and locals have the time and space to chat over coffee or after a screening, where the community is welcomed with open arms and every conversation starts with a desire to include the audience.
Going into their second year, the festival has already grown in leaps from last year’s event. This year will include over 90 short and feature length documentary and narrative films, from all over the world. They’ve organized panels and public talks with big-name, award-winning filmmakers, while still making sure to sprinkle more obscure finds throughout the program, too.