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The Sedona Film Festival rolls cameras starting this weekend

The Sedona Film Festival kicked off this weekend and runs until next Sunday.  

It’s a return to all in-person screenings following last year’s hybrid model.

Unlike Cannes or Toronto film festivals, executive director Pat Schweiss said Sedona provides unique access to the movie makers.

“Of the 145 films we probably have three-quarters of them represented by a filmmaker or a star of the film or someone that’s here to do a Q&A. They make themselves so readily available to our audiences who get to talk to the people that made the films and you’re standing elbow-to-elbow with them,” he said. 

The lineup will include features, shorts, student films and special programs as well as a diverse selection of workshops. Schweiss said festival judges try to showcase films that aren’t available on the small screen but it’s sometimes difficult due to tandem releases in the theatre and streaming platforms.

“We always want people to experience films the way they were meant to be seen on a big screen, surrounded by other people watching the same film and having that communal experience,” said Schweiss. “The streaming services are wonderful for what they do but they’re kind of the antithesis of a film festival.”  

While proof of vaccination isn’t required to attend, masks are mandatory.   

“We didn’t want to become the vaccination police. We didn’t want to put our volunteers through that and our staff through that, having to monitor that. But we thought, people are respectful. You go to a Broadway show, you’re keeping your mask on the whole time. You fly on a flight, you’re keeping your mask on the whole time. We can certainly handle doing it for a 90-minute or 2-hour film,” said Schweiss.  

Films will be screened at the Mary D.Fisher Theatre, Sedona Performing Arts Center at Sedona Red Rock High School, and the two largest theaters at Harkins Theatres Sedona 6.

Among workshop leaders is award-winning screenwriter/producer David Isaacs, who won the Writer’s Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series for his work on the second season of "Mad Men."  His body of work also includes episodes of "M*A*S*H," "Frasier," "The Simpsons" (with Ken Levine) and "Cheers," for which he and Levine won a Primetime Emmy. 

28th-annual Sedona International Film Festival Selections

Narrative Features

Ahed's Knee,  Albatross, Americanish, Atlas, Betrayed, Black Box, Black White and the Greys, De Gaulle, Dear Zoe, Delicious, The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, Drunken Birds, Four for Fun, France, Helene, Implanted, Kiss Me Kosher, The Last Bus, Lifeline, Lune, Luzzu, Margrete: Queen of the North, Marvelous and the Black Hole, Our Almost Completely True Story, The Pact, Peace by Chocolate, Peeky, Pie in the Sky, Plan A, Tokyo Shaking, Two Eyes, Wake Up, You Will Remember Me.

Documentary Features

The 12th Hour, The Addict's Wake, After Antarctica, The Art of Making It, Ascension, Boycott, Bring it Home, Building a Bridge, Calendar Girls, Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight, Cat Daddies, Code Name: Nagasaki, The Conductor, A Crack In The Mountain, Exposing Muybridge, Faith Can Move Mountains, Free Renty: Lanier v. Harvard, Life & Life: A Story of Redemption, Me To Play, The Neutral Ground, The New Gospel, Portrayal, Powerlands, Refuge, The Return: Life After ISIS, River, Scenes from the Glittering World, The Sound of Us, Speer Goes to Hollywood, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, A Tree of Life, Trust Me.

Narrative Shorts

27 Children, :60 Seconds, Beautiful Violence, Biology 101, The Book of Ruth, C A • D  E N C E, Collapse!, Cyn, Distances, Dog Years, Dreamer, enough., Faith, Good Night, Gum, Johnny The Dime, The Lady Edison, Leylak, A Life Within, Lioness, The Little Drummer Boy, Masque-19, Nur and Abir, of our trespasses., Orbital Christmas, Read No More, Ready Forward, Recipiphany, Sproutland, Tell Me Something, These Final Hours, To Be Saved, True Story: I Feel, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Urania Leilus, Volley, Welcome to Forever.

Animated shorts

The Park Bench and Space Race.

Documentary Shorts

Ark of the Apocalypse, Añay Kachi: The salt workers of the Peruvian Andes, Before They Fall, The Bitter Root, California on Fire, Cloud of Witnesses, Coded, A Concerto is a Conversation, Fog, Footsteps, For Our Girls: A Conversation with Black Women, From My Window, Full Picture, Give and Take, Guardians of Paradise, Inga, Into the Circle, Joychild, The Lawnmower Men, Learning to Breathe, The Love Bugs, Lydia Emily's Last Mural, The Mountain and the Maiden, Neurodivergent, Our Daughters, Second Sight, Senior Prom, A Ship from Guantanamo, Snowy, The Sound of Gravity, Sound of Judgment, Spirits and Rocks: An Azorean Myth, The Spiritual Exercises, Tehachapi, Unlivable Oasis, Voice Above Water, When We Were Bullies, The Wild Inside.

Tom Maxedon is the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition on Saturday and Sunday from 6-10 a.m. and All Things Considered on Monday from 3-6 p.m.