The surging COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona and across the country and in anticipation of the availability of the approved coronavirus vaccines has prompted the postponement of the 27th annual Sedona International Film Festival from Feb. 20-28 to June 12-20.
“We made the responsible decision to postpone the Festival. The good news is that having the Festival in June also opens up some great opportunities to reinstate features we had canceled and introduce new ones,” said Executive Director Pat Schweiss. “We also felt that with vaccines becoming available, it would give us all a greater level of confidence to bring people together. Our health and safety protocols will remain in place.”
Schweiss said that among the new offerings would be outdoor screenings of films and events “at venues throughout Sedona where we can enjoy Arizona’s great weather while watching tremendously creative films and remaining socially distant.”
“And, we’re very excited to announce our inaugural screenplay competition,” he added. Categories include feature screenplay, short screenplay, one-hour TV pilot, half-hour TV pilot and Arizona screenplays. Quarterfinalists, semifinalists and finalists will be announced early next year.
The change in the festival date still means a diverse range of full-length features, shorts, documentaries and foreign films sure to have something for everyone.
A virtual component for online screening of films will be part of this year’s festival as will opportunities for patrons who would prefer not to attend public screenings to purchase Virtual Screening Passes.
“Our selection committees are currently screening more than 1,000 films that have been submitted to select around 100 films for the festival,” he said.
Modifications at screening venues will ensure appropriate social distancing and masks will be required for films scheduled at the Mary D. Fisher Theater, Sedona Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and the two largest theaters at Harkins 6.
Additional modifications include:
• To eliminate waiting lines and congregating at the theaters, pass holders and individual ticket buyers will be able to choose their seats. Staggered start times will allow filmgoers to move directly to their seats when the doors open.
• Masks will be required in all venues and staff and volunteers will have their temperature taken every day.
• Northern Arizona Healthcare professionals will be on site to monitor safety protocols and be available to answer questions.
Schweiss said that filmmaker workshops will be offered both on-site, with attendance limited and social distancing in place, and online. A full schedule of workshops will be available in May.
“We are moving with an abundance of caution and an equal abundance of excitement because we are seeing some incredible films coming our way and the new features will add another level to the Festival film experience,” Schweiss said.
Gold Passes offering unlimited films for live viewing and Virtual Screening Passes will go on sale in early spring with Early Bird Discounts. Single tickets will go on sale at a date to be announced.
There will be no 10-and-20 ticket packages this year “because, given the reduced seat capacity in each theater, we can’t guarantee seats will be available if the theaters reach capacity.”
The complete lineup of films will be available early in 2021.
For more information, visit SedonaFilmFestival.com.