SEDONA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The In-Theater & Streaming Event Begins Tomorrow
Text + Images Courtesy of Steve Carr
The 27th annual Sedona International Film Festival, rescheduled from its normal end-of-February timeframe to June 12-20 because of the pandemic, is offering a big, bold and diverse lineup of films for both reduced-capacity in-theater experiences as well as in-home streaming options.
More than half of the nearly 180 films in this year’s lineup are documentary, narrative and animated shorts. That group is complemented by an intriguing, entertaining and compelling list of full-length narratives and documentaries and special events.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the number of evening events will be limited and theater capacity will be around 60 percent to allow social distancing. Masks will be required in lobbies but can be removed once patrons are seated in the theaters at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, Sedona Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Harkins 6 Theaters and in an Enchantment Resort ballroom converted into a theater.
Among the special events:
• A performance by American classical violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn performed on the historic 1720 Stradivarius violin nicknamed the “Red Mendelssohn” and the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film, The Red Violin. Pitcairn, using the actual violin, will be on stage at SPAC at 7 p.m., June 12. The film will screen at SPAC at 4 p.m. that day.
• In honor of the 100th anniversary of the American Foundation for the Blind, a special display will be on exhibit at SPAC featuring artifacts from the Helen Keller Museum in Tuscumbia, Alabama, including the Academy Award for the 1955 documentary, Helen Keller in Her Story, which will be screened. The Festival also will feature its partnership with the world’s first blindDANCE Film Festival with films scheduled all day Monday, June14. Helen Keller in Her Story will screen at 4 p.m. at SPAC.
• Chicano playwright, screenwriter, film director and actor Luis Miguel Valdez, best known for his play Zoot Suit, his movie La Bamba and his creation of El Teatro Campesino, also will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented after a special 35th anniversary screening of La Bamba at SPAC at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15.
• Iconic, award-winning costume designer Bob Mackie will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. A display of his costumes will be on exhibit in the SPAC lobby. The presentation of the award will take place during “An Evening with Bob Mackie” at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 17. In Mackie’s honor, the Barbra Streisand classic Funny Lady, the sequel to Funny Girl,will be screened. Funny Lady, which was nominated for five Oscars including Best Costume Design, will screen at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16 at SPAC.
• Legendary folk singer Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame will receive the Humanitarian Award for his longtime activism that includes involvement in the Guggenheim Museum’s “Learning Through Art” program, his support of Holocaust remembrance and education programs, and his nonprofit, Operation Respect, which combats bullying and violence in schools. Yarrow produced the Parkland-shooting inspired short film The Children Will Lead the Way, which will screen Sunday, June 13 at 1 p.m. The day and time of the presentation will be announced.
• Highly acclaimed actor Tom Skerritt will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award following the screening of his film, East of the Mountains, on Saturday, June 19 at 7 p.m. at SPAC.
• Actress Mariel Hemingway and author and presidential candidate Marianne Williamson will be on hand for a question and answer session following the screening of Grace and Grit on Friday, June 18, 7 p.m. at SPAC.
Films selected for this year’s Festival include 45 narrative features, 38 documentary features, 43 documentary shorts, 46 narrative shorts and 6 animated shorts. Six packages of short films will be featured throughout the Festival.
Among this year’s lineup of films:
• One Moment, Danny Aiello’s last film, a humorous, heartwarming story of a recently widowed aging father and his middle-age children struggling to redefine their new family roles and responsibilities, while also navigating their own place in the world.
• Queen Bees, starring Ann-Margret, Ellyn Burstyn, James Caan, Jane Curtin, Christopher Lloyd and Loretta Devine. A hysterical behind-the-doors look at the Pine Grove Senior Community.
• East of the Mountains, starring Skerritt, Mira Sorvino and Sedona’s Jule Johnson, who plays a young Skerritt in a film about one man facing the end of life.
• In a Different Key, winner of best documentary awards at the Sonoma International Film Festival and the Oxford Film Festival, about a mother tracking down the first person ever diagnosed with autism, now an elderly man in rural Mississippi, to learn if his life story holds promise for her own autistic son. Parts of the film were shot in Phoenix in collaboration with Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and First Place.
• Say His Name: Five Days for George Floyd, a documentary short that is an immersive observation of the unrest in the five days between Floyd’s death and the charges filed against police officer Derek Chauvin.
• The Cave, a narrative feature that tells the story of the incredible rescue of the Wild Boars Soccer Team trapped in a cave in northern Thailand.
• Voodoo Macbeth, a narrative feature inspired by the real story of Orson Welles’ staging of the first all-Black production of the Shakespeare classic which launched his legendary career.
• See Sedona Blind, a documentary feature about 12 influencers at different levels of legal blindness who ask the question: can the vortexes of Sedona be felt even if you can’t see with your eyes?
• The Pee Pee Monster, a 6-minute narrative short about a father, late for work, who must get his car-peeing toddler to tinkle in a toilet before dropping him off at school.