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From experimental film to awards bait, it's all here

Long Story Short

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As film critic MaryAnn Johanson details inside of her awards-bait preview, we've entered that special time of year when Hollywood sends out its Oscar hopefuls. Meaning it's a great time to plan an active theater-attending calendar.

Yes, as our cover image this week portends, it's time to catch fire (or at least steam a little) with the highly anticipated The Hunger Games sequel, but also tune into some of more ... um, thoughtful fodder. Such as suddenly-serious Matthew McConaughey's based-on-a-true-story Dallas Buyer's Club, plus the usual batch of indie inserts.

And for a complete departure from even an indie flick's relatively humble budget, we fix our eyes on The International Experimental Cinema Exposition, returned for the first time in a decade to Colorado Springs. Conventional, linear storytelling is abandoned altogether here for a look at film's finer aesthetic qualities, from lighting to framing to the literal creation of film emulsion as part of available workshops.

That's the dying-breed, pre-digital-era element that many film enthusiasts are laboring to preserve by educating others. Which flows well into our final Holiday Film Preview package component, a look at the new First Take Film Fellowship grant, which seeks a trio of aspiring young film filmmakers for mentoring with a goal of creating work to promote our region.

Like a spastic animated set-piece viewed with 3D glasses, it's all quite a bit to look at, ponder and maybe even cheer for come Oscar time.

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