A Comprehensive Guide to Movie Theaters in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley

Movie Theater seats in Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, a picturesque mountain town in Colorado, is well-known for its vibrant arts scene, and this extends to its movie theaters. One of the fundamental establishments in the local cinema landscape is the Isis Theater in downtown Aspen. This article will give you a comprehensive guide to all things movies in Aspen! 

Aspen Film

Aspen Film is committed to delivering a rich mix of first-run releases, independent films, and other thought-provoking programming. The Isis Theater is home to the Indie Showcase, a monthly series featuring edgier and independent fare, and Aspen Film Presents, which partners with local and national organizations to screen thought-provoking films. It also hosts festival screenings as part of Aspen Film's three annual world-class film festivals. 

Contact Aspen Film at 970-925-6882 or email info@aspenfilm.org.

Aspen Film's Isis Theater

The Isis Theater, managed by Aspen Film in partnership with Bow Tie Management, is a beloved local icon that has been a mainstay of Aspen's cultural scene for over 43 years. Located in the heart of downtown Aspen, it showcases a captivating mix of first-run releases, independent films, and thought-provoking programming.

The Isis Theater has four screens with a total capacity of 362. If you want to host a private screening or event, screen rentals are available with different rates for evening and matinee slots. In addition, the theater offers a variety of concessions, including a selection of candies, popcorn, and sodas.

Ticket pricing at the Isis Theater is reasonable, with general admission at $15 for adults and $14 for seniors and children. Matinee prices are slightly lower, and all shows on Tuesdays have a special discounted price of $7. Aspen Film members also receive discounted admission to regular screenings, including independent films, documentaries, and music films.

The Isis Theater was named after the Egyptian Goddess of Magic when it was converted into a movie house in 1912 by the Aspen Women's Civic Improvement League. The building initially served as The Webber Building before its transformation. The Isis Theater continues to enchant its audience with its rich history and diverse film offerings, which range from significant blockbusters to independent and documentary films.

Screenings at the Isis Theater have three main categories: Indie Showcase, Aspen Film Presents, and Festival Screenings. The Indie Showcase is a monthly series curated by Aspen Film, featuring edgier and independent fare. Festival Screenings occur annually during the three World-Class Film Festivals Aspen Film presents. 

Apart from the Isis Theater, Aspen is also home to other venues to enjoy a movie. These include Theatre Aspen, the Wheeler Opera House, and the Movieland 7 in nearby Basalt.


Wheeler Opera House

The Wheeler Opera House is another historic Aspen establishment that has operated for 134 years. While the Wheeler Opera House is a concert hall and theater, it also serves as a movie theater and is included in Aspen's cinema venues.

The Wheeler Opera House is a significant part of Aspen's cultural scene and serves as a venue for movies and other events. Despite its name, Theatre Aspen also offers movie screenings and theatrical performances. 

Whether you're a local or a visitor to Aspen, the town's movie theaters offer an array of cinematic experiences, from mainstream blockbusters to independent films and documentaries. This guide is a preview of the rich movie culture in Aspen. Check these theaters' latest schedules and programming for an updated guide to enjoying movies in Aspen.


BTM Movieland in Basalt, CO

While not located in Aspen, BTM Movieland in Basalt, CO, is a short drive away and provides another option for movie enthusiasts. It offers daily screenings and a wide array of film options. Ticket prices vary based on the time of the day and the viewer's age, with a Super Value Tuesday offer that provides discounted tickets for all ages.


The Aspen Ideas Festival: A Unique Intersection of Film and Ideas

The Aspen Ideas Festival, recognized worldwide for its commitment to fostering innovative thought, is a hub of intellectual discourse that annually brings together leading figures from various fields. Uniquely, the festival doesn't confine itself to traditional panel discussions and speeches. Instead, it has a vibrant and engaging program dedicated to the seventh art - cinema. Yes, the Aspen Ideas Festival hosts a captivating array of movies and movie screenings, thus establishing a rich intersection between film and intellectual exploration.

Ideas Festival during Aspen Film in Aspen, Colorado

How Movies Move Us: The Power of Cinema

One of the most intriguing aspects of the festival's film program is a track called "How Movies Move Us." This segment is curated to spark conversations about the profound influence of film on our perception and understanding of the world. It involves dialogues with filmmakers, actors, and film experts, offering audiences an intimate look at the inner workings of the film industry and the artistry behind the movies we love.


Integrating Film and Dialogue

In addition to "How Movies Move Us," the festival screens numerous films that complement the diverse topics discussed in the panels and conversations. For instance, in 2022, the festival featured the compelling documentary "All That Breathes," a story about two brothers who dedicate their lives to rescuing and rehabilitating birds in Delhi. This film was presented in parallel with a panel discussion on India's current environmental challenges, illustrating the festival's commitment to integrating film with dialogue to deepen the discourse.


How to Catch a Screening

For those interested in experiencing cinema at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the lineup of films is available on the festival's website. Options are flexible: you can purchase tickets for individual screenings or a pass to the entire film program, depending on your interests and availability.


A Showcase of Contemporary Cinema

The Aspen Ideas Festival has become a showcase for some of the most impactful films of recent years. A look back at previous screenings gives a sense of the range and depth of the movie chosen:

  • "All That Breathes" (2022)

  • "The Janes" (2022)

  • "Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)" (2021)

  • "Nomadland" (2020)

  • "Apollo 11" (2019)

  • "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" (2018)

  • "The Post" (2017)

  • "O.J.: Made in America" (2016)

  • "Amy" (2015)

  • "Citizenfour" (2014)

 Movie Theater in Aspen Elementary School in Aspen, Colorado

These films reflect the zeitgeist of their respective times and span a variety of themes, from the exploration of space to the investigation of contemporary social issues.

Thus, The Aspen Ideas Festival stands out as a great platform to witness the best of contemporary cinema while diving into stimulating discussions about how film shapes our understanding of the world. If you're a cinephile or simply curious about the intersection of film and ideas, this festival offers a unique, enriching experience.

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