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February 2014 - Sedona International Film Festival
Feb. 22-Mar. 2

By Joanna Paxinou

Screen-ShotSusan Sarandon, Shirley Knight, Ed Asner, Brad Paisley and others attending plus 160 films.

It's that fabulous time of the year. The exciting Sedona International Film Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary February 22-March 2. Named the Fest to Impress by MovieMaker Magazine, the festival is considered one of the country's top film festivals by both filmmakers and audiences.

Patrick Schweiss, Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival, commented: To be approaching the 20th anniversary of the Sedona International Film Festival is an incredible milestone, not just for the Festival Board, but for the entire community because, the fact is, the community has stood with us through the entire two decades.

This year, the festival will feature special events and a powerful lineup of 160 features, documentaries, shorts, and animated films. Esteemed actress Shirley Knight will be honored. She has been recognized for her stage and film acting with numerous awards, including the Tony, three Emmys, two Golden Globes, the Venice Film Festival Best Actress, and the Cannes Film Festival Critics Prize. She has also been nominated for two Academy Awards, 10 Emmys, three Golden Globes, and two Tony Awards.

Susan Sarandon will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. A film she produced with Morgan Spurlock, Waiting for Mamu, will be shown at the festival. It features the CNN 2012 Hero of the Year, Pushpa Basnet, known as Mamu. It tells the story of what it means for a child to grow up in prison and the impact of Mamu's organization on those children.

Plus many more special events:
• Mariel Hemingway will present her documentary, Running from Crazy that examines her personal journey as Ernest Hemingway's granddaughter.
• Emmy-Award nominee Stefanie Powers will present her one-woman show.
• Academy-award winning producer Kathleen Glynn will host the Filmmaker Conversations Series.
• Tribute to MGM Musicals will honor the late film stars and Sedona residents Donald O'Connor and Ann Miller.
• Special appearance by Brad Paisley who will present a new project followed by a Q-and-A session.
• Ed Asner, TV, film and stage star, will introduce The Letters, a film about Mother Teresa based on her letters starring Juliet Stevenson, Max Von Sydow and Ruger Hauer that was directed by his friend, William Riead.

This year's festival features a wide variety of films and documentaries selected by film screening committee members from more than 1,000 films from around the world that were submitted for consideration. The Sedona Festival strives to continue a tradition of honoring those motivated by passion for their art and driven by a love for making timely, moving, and important films.

Among the documentaries shown this year are The Joe Show about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Toxic Hot Seat from Robert Redford's son, Jamie, about the toxic effect of fire retardant chemicals.

Features include Cas & Dylan, a comedy directed by Jason Priestly about a dying doctor (Richard Dreyfuss) planning to die on his terms who takes a reluctant detour and winds up on the lam with an anything-but-normal 22-year-old girl, and Girl on a Bicycle, a German comedy about an Italian driving a Paris tour bus with a German fiancée, a French wife, and two Australian children who call him Papa.

These are only a few samples of the great, interesting features in this year's festival. Films will run all day on six screens at three venues: Sedona Harkins 6, 2081 W. Highway 89A; the Mary D. Fisher Theater, 2030 W. Highway 89A; and the Sedona Performing Arts Center at Sedona Red Rock High School, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.

I urge film buffs to attend this exciting, thoroughly enjoyable festival. For prices and various packages available, as well as information about films shown and their schedules, visit the festival's website at www.sedonafilmfestival.org or call the Festival Box Office at 928-282-1177. Individual film tickets go on sale to the general public on Feb. 17 through a new, more efficient ticketing system. Sedona International Festival memberships are also available at $65 for a basic membership, and $130 for a family membership for up to four family members living in the same household.