Columbia Filmmakers Succeed at Aspen Film Shortsfest
BY Felix van Kann, April 21, 2020
Despite the fact that the event couldn’t take place this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Aspen Shortsfest Film Festival virtually announced the winners of its 29th edition with great successes for two Columbia films. Postcards from the End of the World, written and directed by alumnus Konstantinos Antonopoulos '12, won the Best Comedy Award. Bye Bye Baby, written and directed by current student Charlotte Benbeniste and produced by current student Barbara Twist, received the Vimeo Staff Pick Award. It is now available to stream on Vimeo.
Antonopoulos' story follows Dimitra, Dimitris and their two daughters who are trapped on a seemingly dull family vacation. They have to find a way out of a secluded island in the Mediterranean when they are confronted with the unexpected end of the world.
The jury of the festival commented: “Deadpan humor propels this acidly romantic and wholly original story about a crumbling marriage amidst the end of civilization. Beyond the impending cataclysm, the film’s portrayal of the personal tragedy of lost love and the possibility of rekindling it deftly shows us that once our mundane burdens lose meaning, we can focus on what really matters.”
Still from 'Postcards from the End of the World,' written & directed by Konstantinos Antonopoulos '12
Bye Bye Body follows Nina who, when failing to meet her goal at weight loss camp, makes a deal with the devil, only to discover a new understanding of her body. The film celebrated its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival in 2019.
Konstantinos Antonopoulos is a Greek filmmaker based in Athens. His first short film Can't Play The Piano premiered at Zagreb Film Festival 2017 and since then he has directed several other shorts such as: Postcards From The End Of The World (Sarajevo Film Festival 2019), Lea (Honorary Distinction at Athens International Film Festival 2013) and Without Glasses (Special Award at Drama Film Festival 2009). He co-wrote the feature film Symptom (Torino Film Festival 2015) and edited the feature film My First Kiss And The People Involved (L.A. Film Festival 2016).
Charlotte Benbeniste is a filmmaker from Los Angeles. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Bard College in 2011. She has worked in the AD Departments on Celeste and Jesse Forever, Before We Go, John Wick 2, and assisted fellow Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour on her second feature film, The Bad Batch. Her first film June starred Mozart in the Jungle and Gone Girl’s Lola Kirke, and her short documentary, Take You Down To, about the Cowgirls of Color, premiered on Nowness in June 2017.
Barbara Twist is a filmmaker based in New York City. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Producing at Columbia University. Her most recent film, Articulate, screened as part of the University of Michigan’s 3C-Screens Bicentennial Celebration. She is the former Managing Director of the Art House Convergence, an international organization for the art house and independent theater community. She was listed on Celluloid Junkie’s Top 50 Women in Global Cinema in 2017, featured in BoxOffice’s “Women in Exhibition and Distribution” in October 2015, and has participated on many festival and conference panels on contemporary exhibition issues and micro distribution strategies. She is on the board of the Ann Arbor Film Festival and Cinema Lamont.
Founded in 1979, Aspen Film seeks to enlighten, enrich, educate, and entertain through film. Throughout its history, Aspen Film has been creating unique and memorable experiences for both the serious cinephile and casual movie lover. With a reach that stretches through the Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen Film organizes a major movie event in every season, offers an extensive education program, and hosts numerous special presentations. Each year, some 30,000 people participate. All of the more than 200 films shown annually are regional debuts, many of which might not otherwise be available to local audiences.