Film Educates

We believe film is a vibrant artistic expression and powerful communication tool, able to open windows to the world and build bridges of understanding between cultures. 

Film is democratizing, inclusive, and accessible. As more and more schools reduce or eliminate media literacy from their curriculum, Aspen Film is here to serve with extensive, free programs for youth and educators.

Our year-round programs: Expose students of all ages and backgrounds to great storytelling through film. Foster diverse perspectives, empathy, critical thinking, and dialogue. Create opportunities for students to share their own stories and ideas through visual storytelling. Connect young people to each other, and to their broader community through shared experiences.

“Being able to participate in Aspen Film’s Filmmaker to Classroom project was absolutely one of the highlights of my festival experience. Aspen Film is really shaping student cinephiles and filmmakers who will have a great opportunity to lead their generation, starting immediately. I have no doubt that the film world will be hearing from many of these students in the years to come.”

Eric Johnson, Writer and Producer of LOSER LEAVES TOWN

Filmmakers in the Classroom

In our most popular program, national and international filmmakers visit schools from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to share their films, culture, and creative processes in classroom and auditorium settings.

Making Movies Matters

Aspen Film provides films and themed shorts packages (e.g. immigration, the environment, creative storytelling) to enrich curricula in language and visual arts, history, world geography, social sciences, ESL and more.

Panel Discussions

Students and teachers are invited to experience in-depth public panel discussions with filmmakers and invited industry professionals on various topics relating to the art and industry of filmmaking today.


Schools and youth programs receive free admission to public programs during Filmfest and Shortsfest. We also distribute complimentary tickets to families and young clients of health and human services.

Tickets for Teachers

To encourage local educators to identify new films appropriate for their curriculum, Aspen Film provides tickets for teachers to attend certain programs at Filmfest and Shortsfest at no charge.

Young Filmmaker Labs

Filmmakers and industry leaders meet with high school and college-level students to screen films (including student works-in-progress) explore the creative process, and offer hands-on filmmaking experience.

Youth Jury

The Youth Jury, composed primarily of local middle and high school students, awards a student prize during Shortsfest to the film that they feel best reflects the impressions and thoughts of today’s youth. Filmmakers have said that winning this award is one of the highest honors at the festival.

Young Emerging Voices

Young Emerging Voices in Film is a program intended to cultivate the next generation of filmmakers celebrating films crafted by youth ages 14 – 18 years old. This program aims to give young filmmakers a platform that uses visual storytelling to address and portray the experiences and issues important to their generation.

For more information about programs or how to get involved, please contact Regna Jones, Head of Education Development and Programs

In the news

Aspen Film’s Independent By Nature :32 Video Challenge

Mar 2, 2023

Aspen Film’s Independent By Nature :32 Video Challenge Submissions open March 2 – April 2 Voting April 10 – 16 | Winners announced April 16 All ages may submit —Free online GRAND PRIZE FOR FIRST PLACE WINS – CANON M50MKII Camera Kit + THINK TANK SpeedTop 15 shoulder bag In 32 seconds, show us how […]

Read More

Empowering the valley’s youth via film

Sep 26, 2022

Aspen Film’s 43rd annual Filmfest is around the corner. Commencing Tuesday through Sunday with a stacked lineup of engaging new cinema, the festival cultivates educational opportunities for the valley’s youth. Through its Film Educates department, Aspen Film offers year-round educational programming for students and teachers from Rifle to Aspen. And these far-reaching, free programs are […]

Read More

Short film by Aspen teens gains global recognition

May 26, 2022

On a school night in November, a small group of Aspen High School students were up until three in the morning surrounded by empty coffee cups and glowing laptop screens, writing the first drafts of what would become an internationally recognized short film. Titled “Faces of the Future,” the 17-minute short film was selected and […]

Read More

Working to Enlighten, Enrich, Educate, and Entertain Through Film