It’s been rated one of the top destination film festivals in the world for good reason. In the Vail Film Festival, executive directors Sean and Scott Cross have created an event that not only showcases films of all varieties but also becomes a lens itself, focusing on the zeitgeist of the industry. This year, the Vail Film Festival takes place August 15–18, moving to a late summer time slot but continuing its focus on female filmmakers.
“This is our third year celebrating female filmmakers,” says Sean Cross. “All of the films have at least one woman in a key role on the project—director, writer, producer, etc. The films generally have a team of men and women, but we want to make sure that women are well-represented.”
With approximately 40 films on the schedule ranging from shorts, features, and documentaries on topics from WWII to sushi (and all sorts of things in-between), it’s a solid showcase of women in film. However, the focus doesn’t stop there. Festival director Corinne Hara says that she’s most excited about the panel discussion, “Filmmaking: Personal Stories,” which features four directors (including Vail-raised Miranda Bailey) discussing their filmmaking journey and is moderated by Vail Daily’s Tricia Swenson.
“[The panel discussion] has been really popular since we started directing more focus on the women in film, and this year it’s an incredible lineup,” Hara says. “It’s a nice, well-rounded view. We’ve got directors that have come from the contract backgrounds, you’ve got musicians, you’ve got artists … they will all give a little bit of insight for those looking to break into the industry, and they’re going to share their personal stories with everybody.”
The panel discussion will take place on Saturday, Aug 17, at noon at the Colorado Snowsports Museum at the Vail Transportation Center and is free and open to the public.
Other not-to-miss events are the Opening and Closing Night films, Burning Kentucky and Banana Split, respectively. There’s also the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Aug 17, including the Rising Star Award, which will be given to Hannah Marks, writer and lead actress in Banana Split.
But what really set the Vail Film Festival apart from simply watching a movie is many, many opportunities to interact with the actors, directors, and producers. Of the almost 40 films on the schedule, more than half include Q&A sessions.
“I think [the Q&A] is always one of the best parts of the film festival,” Cross says. “You have the actors, the directors right there in the room with you telling you behind-the-scenes stories and the process, and you can ask questions. I think it’s one of the best parts of attending the film festival.”
Passes are currently on sale, starting at $50. In addition to screenings, Festival passes provide access to the panel discussion, opening and closing night films, and the festival awards ceremony. General admission tickets are available at the door for $10. To purchase passes, visit vailfilmfestival.com.