The Story of How Crested Butte Film Festival Came to Be
Crested Butte Film Festival directors Michael and Jennifer Brody spent a combined 34 years
living in Boulder. When Michael's daughter graduated from high school, they were looking to
relocate. "I'm American and Jen is Canadian," stated Michael, "so we had the western parts of
two countries to look at." "And," adds Jennifer, "we picked Crested Butte. That says a lot." The
two were looking for creative work that they could do together after careers in filmmaking and
education - at one point thinking of opening an independent theatre in Boulder (which at the time
was without one).
This was the fall of 2010. Crested Butte had a shorts film festival, Reel Fest, that lasted for ten
years. "They still had a presence online," adds Michael, "but we weren't sure if it was in
existence or not." An auspicious meeting with a friend helped clarify things. "We met with Sue
Wallace, an old friend of Michael's, at Camp 4 Coffee." Jen recounts, "As it was almost time to
go, Michael popped the big question, 'what's happening with the film festival here?' And much to
our surprise, Sue said it was no longer running."
"At that moment," adds Michael, "it was like a lightning bolt struck us both. Suddenly, we knew
what we were going to do and where we were going to do it." On the four and-a-half-hour drive
from Crested Butte back to Boulder, the coupled talked the whole time about the idea of running
a film festival in Crested Butte. Michael adds, "We were enthralled by the idea of living and
starting a film festival in CB." Within the next week the couple had already reached out to many
community members in the town, receiving a wonderful response, and the decision was made.
The only hurdle remained was when to have the festival. "We were getting married in July, seven
months away," recounts Michael, "and we knew we wanted the festival at the end of September
to coincide with the changing of the aspen leaves. The only question was do we have the first
festival two months after our wedding, or wait an another entire year?" "There was no way we could
wait another year," interrupts Jennifer, "we already had such great
support from community members and local businesses".
So in September of 2011, the inaugural Crested Butte Film Festival kicked off, two months after
their wedding. "We were so excited to see it come to life. Crested Butte is an incredibly
generous community and we received support from everywhere. We couldn't wait to see how
many people would show up, and to the show films we were excited to screen. And we were
blown away by the response." That initial festival had a total audience of 1,500, the entire
population of Crested Butte, with the total audience more than doubling in two years.
The festival runs 'the last weekend in September' - just as the aspens are changing. "It was
amazing on that first Opening Night, " says Michael, "to look out the windows of the Center for
the Arts and see crowds gathering excited to see films, and in the distance, the hillsides ablaze
with golden aspens...everything you could hope to imagine."
Crested Butte Film Festival had begun showing films in 2011. An annual festival, it convenes during the last weekend of September in a small mountain town in Colorado and shows world-class narrative, documentary features and shorts, action adventure and kids programming. Awards are given in numerous categories including the prestigious ACT Now Award.
Crested Butte Film Festival programs the best in world cinema and brings it home to a small-town environment. We're committed to finding the most artful, moving, creative and provocative films and sharing them with our audience. We award creativity, daring, great storytelling and bravery, and create an intimate, relaxing festival for filmmakers and actors to show their work at. One hundred films are screened during the festival as well as one monthly film throughout the year. We program narrative and documentary features, narrative and documentary short films, outdoor adventure and children's films.