Independent films year-round

How has the local community shaped the film festival?
Gary: The ratings filmmakers give us about their experience is off-the-charts positive. It’s just that kind of community—people come back and visit because of the character. Breckenridge and Summit County have helped shape aspects of the festival that are super important—the reception, friendly attitude, and feeling of belonging people get when they come here and present their movies.

How is the film world different today?
Janice: Forty years ago film was still on spools of reels being shipped from festival to festival. Today, the same films can be shown at the same times in multiple locations. It’s such an accessible medium and there are so many people making films, there are a lot of stories out there the theaters are not showing. That gives festivals a huge place in the world for interactive, collective viewing experiences, and the opportunity to curate what people are watching.

Where is film headed?
Ashley: Film is transitioning from a few large corporations that control the industry to everyone with an iPhone. It’s really become a global movement. You have so many filmmakers from varying backgrounds, it’s really starting to open people’s eyes.

I understand you’ve embarked on year-round programming?
Janice: It’s a recent development for us. We’ve been testing the waters for the past four years, and that has evolved and formalized into Summit Film Society, with monthly screenings taking place at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at Breckenridge Theater.

What are some Summit Film Society highlights?
Ashley: In January we showed “Loving Vincent.” Dena Peterson, who worked on it, lives in Colorado Springs and will be a resident artist here in spring, so we are hoping to bring some of our Gold Ticket Club members back for a meet-and-greet. On March 13 we will show National Geographic’s “Jane,” about chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall, which has archival footage and a score by Philip Glass. If all goes as planned, Mandy Moore will be here in April to do a retrospective of her work, to highlight her process with choreography—how that became relevant with “Dancing with the Stars” and transitioned to feature-length films like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “La La Land.”

Tell us about the films you show at WAVE: Light + Water + Sound?
Ashley: I’ve curated films for the WAVE festival the last couple of years. Out of water, light, and sound, I decided to take different themes each night—some using stop-motion animation, some creating sound waves related to songs, and thematic programming around specific aspects of water education.

What appeals to you about film as a medium?
Ashley: It think it transcends barriers, and is a way to unite people from around the world with body language and storytelling.


Formed in 1981, Breckenridge Film Festival is an annual festival featuring juried works by independent filmmakers, accompanied by a slate of events and activities. Here, Board President Gary Martinez, Executive Director Janice Miller, and Assistant Director Ashley Zimmerman weigh in on current trends and future directions for the BFF.
Breckenridge Film Festival // breckfilmfest.org
Summit Film Society @ Breckenridge Theater, 121 S. Ridge St., Breckenridge

Photos: Liam Doran