Silver Anniversary

Silver Anniversary

Sedona International Film Festival brings Tinseltown to the red rocks

By Octavio Serrano

Ed Asner, Richard Dreyfuss, Mackenzie Phillips, Blythe Danner and Deepak Chopra are among the stars slated to help the Sedona International Film Festival celebrate its 25th anniversary.

From February 23 to March 3, the nine-day festival will host more than 160 movies this year.

“Our goal is to expose audiences to films they wouldn’t normally get to see and to give voice to the next generation of filmmakers,” says Pat Schweiss, festival spokesman.

Screening at six venues, the festival features movies of various genres, including documentaries, student films, foreign films and animation.

Since its founding, the Sedona International Film Festival has attracted top actors, directors and producers, and films, like What the Bleep do We Know, which premiered in Sedona in 2004 and went on to win an Academy Award.

In honor of the 25th anniversary, festival organizers will screen several films chosen over the years as Audience Award winners in the Flashback Theater, a block box theater at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.

Among the new films selected for screening this year are To Dust (with Matthew Broderick), The Chaperone (Elizabeth McGovern and Blythe Danner), Non-Fiction (Juliette Binoche), Tell It to the Bees (Anna Paquin), Promise at Dawn (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and the comedy The Bill Murray Stories. Plus, many Academy Award contenders for Best Documentary Feature will be screened.

“There is going to be something for everybody. People who attend the festival get a unique movie experience,” Schweiss says.

Movie fans can meet the people behind their favorite motion pictures.

“They get this incredible experience of not only getting to see the films, but also have a Q&A with the directors and stars of the film,” Schweiss says.

What is special about this festival is it supports experienced and novice filmmakers. Young directors strive to be part of a festival like this, Schweiss says.

“That helps launch their career,” he says.

For its anniversary celebration, the festival will have a reception at the Hilton Sedona Resort on February 22. Other galas will follow.

“There are parties all week to celebrate the 25th anniversary,” Schweiss says.

The festival wants to continue to host an experience where fans, actors and directors can come together.

“You’ll get to rub shoulders with celebrities and filmmakers,” Schweiss said.


The Sedona International Film Festival is from Saturday, February 23, to Sunday, March 3, at the Mary D. Fisher Theater, 2030 W. Highway 89A; the Sedona Performing Arts Center at Sedona Red Rock High School, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road; and the Sedona Harkins 6, 2081 W. Highway 89A.

Platinum all-access passes are $1,250; gold priority passes are $550; 20-ticket packages are $255; and 10-ticket packages are $130. Full-time students can get the 10-ticket package for $100.

Priority pass holders will be able to select the films they want to see beginning at 9 a.m. February 4. Ten- and 20-ticket pass holders can select films beginning at 9 a.m. February 11. Individual film tickets go on sale to the general public on February 18.

Sedona International Film Festival memberships also are available beginning at $75 for a basic membership. Family memberships for up to four family members living in the same household are $150. Additional membership packages include cinematographer ($300), screenwriter ($620), producer ($1,400), director ($2,500), auteur ($5,000), marquee ($10,000), executive producer ($15,000), indie angel ($25,000) and film star ($50,000). Benefits are commensurate with membership-fee levels.

Full information is available on the website,, or by calling 928.282.1177.

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