3 Ways to Celebrate Film During Arts Month 2021

Join a virtual film festival, drive-in cinema or weekly TV episodes to enjoy and support independent film in the Springs.

Teen filmmakers of Our Time documentary series by the Youth Documentary Academy
Young filmmakers of the Our Time documentary series. Photo courtesy of the Youth Documentary Academy.

Film fans have some excellent ways to celebrate Arts Month 2021 and support local filmmakers at the same time. The Indie Spirit Film Festival returns as a virtual event. Rocky Mountain PBS premieres the award-winning Our Time series by the Youth Documentary Academy. And Rocky Mountain Women’s Film hosts an Arts Month Drive-In Cinema featuring Born to Fly. Here are the details on how to enjoy and support independent films, both in person and virtually, in Colorado Springs this October. 

Our Time by the Youth Documentary Academy

Thursdays, Sept. 21 – Oct. 21, Rocky Mountain PBS

The teen filmmakers in the Colorado Springs-based Youth Documentary Academy are not afraid to make their voices and values heard. Coming from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds and working in collaboration with professional documentary filmmakers, the young filmmakers have produced a new series for Rocky Mountain PBS titled Our Time. The series premieres Thursdays at 7 p.m., Sept. 21 through Oct. 21, on Rocky Mountain PBS before airing on nationally on PBS in 2022.

Our Time is a much needed program for public television, providing stories of America’s next generation through collaborative filmmaking with professionals in the field,” says Kate Perdoni, Rocky Mountain PBS producer. “The Youth Documentary Academy is a revolutionary model that honors the innate wisdom and experience of young people. The stories move and inspire.”

Student filming for the youth academy film festival
A student using a camera at the Youth Documentary Academy. Photo courtesy of Youth Documentary Academy.

Each episode of Our Time includes an introduction, two short documentaries that coalesce around a social issue or theme, plus filmmaker interviews. Films in the series feature character-driven stories that address social issues around race, colorism, disability, teen suicide, gender and sexuality, domestic violence, family life and immigration all through the eyes of young people.

Our Time films have won numerous awards, including a regional Emmy, selection in major film and media festivals (including 30 times at the All American High School Film Festival), and dozens of community forums around the U.S.

The Youth Documentary Academy was formed in 2013 to train youth from under-represented backgrounds how to make professional documentary films. Working hand in hand with award-winning, nationally recognized filmmakers and television producers, 14- to 18-year-old students produce high caliber, emotionally-driven programs that derive from their own lived experiences and appeal to a wide public television audience.]

For details and episode trailers, visit youthdocumentary.org.

For Rocky Mountain PBS schedules: rmpbs.org.

Drive-In Cinema: Born to Fly

Oct. 2, former Gazette building

Rocky Mountain Women's Film "Born to Fly" Poster.
Rocky Mountain Women’

To celebrate Arts Month 2021, Rocky Mountain Women’s Film will screen Born to Fly as part of its ongoing Drive-In Cinema program. The film traces the evolution of choreographer and “extreme action architect” Elizabeth Streb and her 30-plus years of movement philosophy.

Viewers are treated to free popcorn, and they are encouraged to bring camp chairs and tailgate before the screening at the former Gazette building, just east of downtown. The parking lot opens at 6 p.m. Born to Fly screens at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2.

For details, trailer and tickets: rmwfilm.org

Indie Spirit Film Festival

Oct. 1-8, virtual

After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the Indie Spirit Film Festival is returning this year with a virtual format that expands the event from three days to eight, Oct. 1-8. The change allows for more film presentations and viewer safety in the comfort of their own homes and gatherings. 

The annual festival presents a program of narrative and documentary shorts and feature films, and it showcases the work of independent Colorado Springs filmmakers. This year’s roster includes more than 85 film selections, including 10 comedy/drama features, 33 comedy/drama shorts, 16 documentary features, 13 documentary shorts, and 14 young filmmakers shorts. Five are award-winning films from the Youth Documentary Academy, as featured in the PBS Our Time series. 

Colorado-based films come from Denver and Colorado Springs. There are also national selections from Los Angeles and Kansas City to Grand Rapids, Michigan. And international offerings come from Australia, Morocco, France and the UK. Viewers will be able to access recorded Q&A’s with each filmmaker as well.

For details and tickets to the 2021 Indie Spirit Film Festival: isff.eventive.org

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