The 2017 Sedona International Film Festival Wrap-up

By Lynette Carrington

The 2017 Sedona International Film Festival Wrap-up

The 2017 Sedona International Film Festival Reflected the Best in Film, Fun and Philanthropy

Video interviews include Co-founder of Paul Mitchell Hair Care Products and Patron Tequila, John Paul DeJoria and Pianist and Ambassador for the Great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein

The 23rd Annual Sedona International Film Festival once again showed the world why it is one of the finest film festivals in existence. Representing the finest in short and feature length films, filmmakers from around the globe were showcased against the backdrop of Sedona’s breathtaking red rocks. was on hand for many of the events during the Sedona International Film Festival. We were front and center at the Sedona Performing Arts Center when Academy Award-winning actress, Cloris Leachman received the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The event essentially became a reunion of the “Mary Tyler Moore” show when actors Ed Asner and Valerie Harper came on stage to do a Q&A and present Ms. Leachman with her award. It truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience that may possibly never happen again! During the festival, film “My Mom and the Girl” was screened to much fanfare as Valerie Harper starred in the movie and was present for a Q&A at its conclusion.

We were able to screen several of the feature-length and short films, and there were a few that definitely left an impact on us. Documentary, “Be Here Now” was a nearly play-by-play chronicle of actor Andy Whitfield’s battle with cancer. Diagnosed at the height of his career while appearing on the hit TV series, “Spartacus,” the film was a look at a family’s happiness, grace, dignity and grief as they battled with a formidable opponent in many different ways. It was a beautiful testament to the actor and his family. There was not a dry eye in the house.

A short film that we really enjoyed was “The Visit.” The cinematography was exceptional, and writer, producer and director Romina Schwedler crafted a very unique tale that was well-written and told with an unexpected twist. We cannot wait to see what she does next!

The Sedona International Film Festival Experience

The VIP and Media Rooms for the Sedona International Film Festival were headquartered at the Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa, and services from the Media Room included live streaming of interviews throughout the festival’s run. It was an excellent opportunity to get to know the filmmakers, producers, actors and crew that put their passion on the screen this year. As an exceptional touch of service, the VIP Room at Sedona Rouge included two fully catered buffet meals from various restaurants in Sedona for filmmakers, VIPs and media.

The entire town of Sedona rallies behind the annual film festival. The Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival, Patrick Schweiss and his dedicated Board of Directors were all over the festival, volunteering their time and helping at every venue. They are a wonderful group and their presence made the festival upbeat, fun, and especially organized. They certainly served as ambassadors to Sedona, and anyone who came to the festival will undoubtedly want to return.

On the final three consecutive nights of the film festival, L’auberge de Sedona, Enchantment Resort and Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock each held a gala for those associated with the Sedona International Film Festival that included a gorgeous buffet and cocktails. Enchantment and Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock also featured live entertainment. It was a fabulous way for the entire film community and those participating in the festival to come together in a relaxed social setting. Needless to say, we cannot wait to return next year. For more information, visit


At :01 - Patrick Schweiss - Director of Sedona International Film Festival

At 4:09 - Michael Feinstein - Pianist, Singer, Ambassador for the Great American Songbook

At 16:17 - Lori Stoll - Writer and Director of film, “Heaven’s Floor”

At 25:08 - Carter - Writer, Director and Producer of “Occupied”

At 39:47 - Glenn Scarpelli – Founder, Sedona NOW TV, Actor from “One Day at a Time”

At 47:38 - Romina Schwedler – Writer, Director, Producer of film, “The Visit”

At 1:02:07 - John Paul DeJoria – Co-founder Paul Mitchell and Patron Tequila

At 1:34:18 - Trejon Dunkley, Sedona International Film Festival Media Intern from ASU

2017 Festival Award-Winners

Best Animated Film: Curpigeon
Best Short Film: The Train
Best Student Short Film: Icarus
Best Documentary Feature: A Plastic Ocean
Best Short Documentary: Joshua Tree: Threatened Wonderland
Best Environmental Film: Death By Design
Best Foreign Film: Frantz
Best Feature DRAMA: The Sandbox
Best Feature COMEDY: Burn Burn Burn
Best Humanitarian Film (narrative): Under the Same Sun
Best Humanitarian Film (documentary): No Limits and Perfume War
Best Independent Spirit (narrative): Halfway to Zen
Best Independent Spirit (documentary): Perfume War
Best Independent Spirit (short): Bardo
Bill Muller Excellence in Screenwriting Award: 29+1
Marion Herrman Excellence in Filmmaking: SCORE: A Film Music Documentary

Best of Fest: Good Fortune
Best Feature Comedy: Grand Unified Theory
Best Feature Drama: (TIE) Blood & Glory and Wild Prairie Rose
Best Foreign Film: Under the Same Sun
Animated Film: Wabooz
Student Short: A Children’s Song
Short Film - Drama: All The Marbles
Short Film - Comedy: Rated
Environmental: A Plastic Ocean
Documentary: Good Fortune
Documentary Short: Edges
Heart of the Festival Award: Slipaway

Lifetime Achievement: Cloris Leachman
Global Humanitarian and Philanthropist: John Paul DeJoria