An audio and visual feast awaits attendees of the Sedona International Film Festival, as patrons take a bite out of indie films at the 22nd iteration of the now-revered movie experience.
Held amidst the backdrop of the tiny hamlet’s stunning red rock formations, the festival and its 10,000 movie buffs will transform the quiet arts community into a film mecca from Friday, February 19, through Sunday, February 28.
The nine-day event featuring “160 documentaries, features, shorts, Academy Award nominees and specialty films,” according to Sedona International Film Festival Executive Director Patrick Schweiss, will have a unique kickoff on that Friday evening. The band Chicago, featuring original members Robert Lamm and Lee Loughnane, will perform.
“There was an instant, genuine excitement about the possibility of a collaboration and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be having this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band open our festival,” says Schweiss. “The buzz around Sedona is amazing.”
The band will also be featured on Saturday, February 20, as part of the debut of “Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago,” a chronicling of the band’s almost 50-year history.
Fans of George Lucas’ classic “American Graffiti” will be treated to a showing of the movie, as well as to a reunion of a few of the movie’s actors including Mackenzie Phillips, Cindy Williams, Beau Genry and Candy Clark. “‘American Graffiti’ is an iconic film that is universally loved,” says Schweiss. “We thought it would be great fun to bring the film and cast members to Sedona to celebrate this great film.”
Other notable highlights of the festival include a showing of James Franco’s new picture “Memoria,” a performance from Mike Farrell of “M*A*S*H” fame of his one-man-global warming-themed production and a screening of “Gene Kelly: The Legacy” featuring his wife, Patricia Ward Kelly, according to the festival line-up.
At the festival’s helm for more than 10 years, Schweiss has seen the event change considerably since its early days.
“Those early years were pretty difficult. I spent many hours on the phone pleading with filmmakers to send us their films,” he says. “Today, I have filmmakers pleading with me to let their films in. The reason is quite simple: The Sedona International Film Festival experience is like none other.”
Films will be shown at three locations around Sedona at: Harkins 6, the Mary D. Fisher Theater, and the Sedona Performing Arts Center beginning Saturday February 20. There is an array of ticket packages and options available, for more information and to view the complete roster of entertainment choices, visit www.sedonafilmfestival.org.