“I’ve always wanted to go!”
That seems to be the most commonly heard comment from Prescott area folks about the Sedona International Film Festival , (SIFF). And next year, there won’t be any excuses to keep folks from attending. The festival is coming up soon; it’s only nine weeks away, and this year there are more opportunities than ever to slide it into a busy schedule. It has been expanded and is now a full six days long, starting February 24th and wrapping up on March 1st.
The film festival in Sedona is Northern Arizona’s answer to the Sundance Film Festival, which also features independent (or “indie”) films. (Individuals or companies outside the studio system, i.e. Warner Brothers, Paramount, and MGM etc produce independent films.) The Sedona Festival showcases shorts, animated films, and workshops for people interested in getting into a branch of the film business, or folks who are simply film buffs. Aside from the independent films, this year's special guests will be Jane Seymour and James Keach, who will host a sneak preview of their new film, “Waiting for Forever.” Oscar winning documentary filmmaker John Zarisky will bring his latest film, “The Suicide Tourist.” Ed Harris and Brad Dourif, (both Oscar nominees) will show their film, “Touching Home,” and Bill Plympton, who has also been nominated for an Oscar will bring two films, “Idiots and Angels,” and “Hot Dog.”
Last year one of the most popular events was the screening of “Casa Blanca” with TCM’s Robert Osborne on hand to host and answer questions after the film. This year his role has expanded with the showing of three classic films, “Singin’ in the Rain,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious” and “The Greatest Show on Earth,” directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Osborne had a 45-minute interview with Betty Hutton, who co-starred in the DeMille film, and that will be screened also. Osborne shares interesting inside information that lets audiences see the film in a whole new light.
Last year the workshops, coordinated by Yavapai College’s Sedona branch, the Zaki Gordon Film Institute , (ZGI), featured the topic, “Pitching your Screenplay” and Scoring (or putting the music into) Your Film last year. This year the workshops will be on documentary filmmaking, and animation. The workshops are free, open to the public, and usually held on the ZGI campus.
The Sedona Film Festival is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. What started as a small group of volunteers doing a fundraiser has grown into a dynamic festival, bringing in world-class actors, directors, writers, producers and film lovers from all over the world.
If you have a film buff on your Christmas list, passes for the festival will be on sale, with 20% off the regular price, through December 31st.