The Sedona International Film Festival presents the Sedona premiere of the acclaimed new drama “The Mustang” — from executive producer Robert Redford — June 7-13 at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.
“The Mustang” stars Matthias Schoenaearts, Bruce Dern and Jason Mitchell.
Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) is halfway through serving an 11-year sentence for domestic violence at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, when he is selected to participate in an “outdoor maintenance” program as part of his state-mandated social rehabilitation. Soon, Roman is accepted into the selective wild horse training section of the program and paired with a particularly difficult buckskin who mirrors his symptoms of aggression, fear and anxiety.
As Roman struggles to come to terms with his newfound responsibilities, he’s also painfully reminded of his tragic past. His pregnant 16-year-old daughter Martha (Gideon Adlon) visits to ask him to sign emancipation papers that will allow her to inherit her grandmother’s house. Father and child are long estranged, and although Roman senses that Martha is headed down the wrong path, he’s ill-equipped to connect with her from behind bars.
Under the watchful eye of Myles (Bruce Dern), who simultaneously serves as the program’s horse trainer and a father figure to the inmates, Roman attempts to train his horse to be sold at auction in 90 days.
Although he’s assisted by Henry (Jason Mitchell), an affable, experienced inmate trainer, progress doesn’t come easy for Roman, whose all-consuming anger makes it difficult for him to strike the right tone while he’s near the animals. But after an initial false start, Roman does begin to develop a strong bond with the mustang, which he names Marquis.
The deep connection he forges with the wild horse allows him to open up and face his inner demons. He’s helped further by his ongoing work with a prison psychologist (Connie Britton) and his participation in both anger management classes and restorative justice sessions, which help convicts develop empathy for the victims of their crimes.
Neither a classic prison drama nor western, “The Mustang” re-contextualizes classic images of the American West to explore one man’s journey through the darkest parts of his soul as he rediscovers his humanity and works toward the possibility of redemption.“The Mustang” will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre June 7-14. Showtimes will be 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 7, 8 and 9; and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 11, 12 and 13.
Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members. For tickets and more information, please call 928-282-1177.
Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona.
For more information, visit: SedonaFilmFestival.org.