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Festival presents ‘Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time’ premiere Nov. 19-24


The feature documentary “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time” — the first of its kind on Vonnegut — traces the life and career of famed novelist and humorist who died in 2007 at age 84. (SIFF/Courtesy)

The feature documentary “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time” — the first of its kind on Vonnegut — traces the life and career of famed novelist and humorist who died in 2007 at age 84. (SIFF/Courtesy)


Originally Published: November 16, 2021 12:18 p.m.

The Sedona International Film Festival presents the northern Arizona premiere of acclaimed new documentary “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time” showing Nov. 19-24 at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, according to a news release.

“Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time” is the touching, long-in-the-works film directed by industry masters Robert B. Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Don Argott (The Art of the Steal), tracing the life and career of famed novelist and humorist Kurt Vonnegut, who died in 2007 at age 84.

The feature documentary — the first of its kind on Vonnegut — is a deep, immersive dive into the author’s upbringing and his creative output. It spans back through his childhood in Indianapolis, his experience as a Prisoner of War in World War II, his marriage and family, his early careers as a publicist for General Electric and a car salesman, and his years as a struggling writer, leading to eventual superstardom in 1969 following the publication of his lightning-bolt anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five.

The protagonist of that book, Billy Pilgrim, has become “unstuck in time,” arriving randomly at different moments of his life. The phrase provides an apt title for the documentary, as we experience glimpses of Vonnegut over the years through the prism of his long-evolving friendship with director Robert Weide.

An Emmy winner and Academy Award nominee, Weide first discovered Vonnegut’s writing as a high school student, and wrote a letter to the author in 1982, asking for permission to make a documentary. Vonnegut agreed, and Weide began shooting footage of Vonnegut for the film as far back as 1988, having no idea that the filmmaker and subject would become intimate friends over the next two decades.

In addition to that 32-year-old footage, the film is abundant with whimsical and open-hearted interviews with Vonnegut, plus rarely-seen archival material. We also hear from his children, his contemporaries, and Weide himself, as the documentary turns inward as a thoughtful examination of its own creation. The light-touch technique is one that echoes the work of Vonnegut, who often placed himself as a supporting character in his own novels, with unexpectedly profound results.

“Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time” will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre Nov. 19-24. Show times will be 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20; and 7 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, Nov. 22 and 24.

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. State Route 89A, in west Sedona.

For more information, visit SedonaFilmFestival.org.

Information provided by the Sedona International Film Festival.