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Sedona Film Festival starts new year with great cinema

'Janis: Little Girl Blue'

Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg examines the meteoric rise and untimely fall of one of the most revered and iconic rock 'n' roll singers of all time: Janis Joplin. Joplin's life story is revealed for the first time on film through electrifying archival footage, revealing interviews with friends and family and rare personal letters, presenting an intimate and insightful portrait of a bright, complicated artist who changed music forever.

Janis Joplin is one of the most revered and iconic rock and roll singers of all time, a tragic and misunderstood figure who thrilled millions of listeners and blazed new creative trails before her death in 1970 at age 27.

With massive hits including "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Piece of My Heart," and such classic albums as Cheap Thrills and Pearl, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joplin was one of the definitive stars to emerge during the musical and cultural revolution of the 1960s. She delivered a breakout performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, and was one of the memorable acts at Woodstock. Her legacy has only grown since her passing. She ranked high on Rolling Stone's lists of both the Greatest Singers and Greatest Artists of All Time, and is claimed as an influence by virtually every female rocker who has followed (and many male singers, as well).

Joplin's own words tell much of the film's story through a series of letters she wrote to her parents over the years, many of them made public here for the first time. This correspondence is only one element of the stunning, previously unseen material Berg discovered during the seven years she has spent working on "Janis: Little Girl Blue." New audio and video of Joplin in concert and in the studio, and even footage from her emotional return to Texas for her tenth high school reunion, add depth and texture to this remarkable story.

Variety calls the film "Fiercely Brilliant!" The New York Post raves "A heartfelt, engrossing tribute!"

"Janis: Little Girl Blue" will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre Jan. 2-7. Showtimes are 4 p.m. on Saturday and Monday, Jan. 2 and 4; and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 3, 6 and 7.

Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members.

Both the theater and film festival office are at 2030 W. Highway 89A in Sedona.


Alfred Hitchcock's singular vision is elucidated and brought vividly to life by today's leading filmmakers: Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Arnaud Desplechin, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Wes Anderson, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich, and Paul Schrader in the award-winning new film "Hitchcock/Truffaut."

In 1962, Francois Truffaut persuaded Alfred Hitchcock to sit with him for a week-long interview in which the great British auteur would share with his young admirer the secrets of his cinema. Based on the original recordings of this meeting - used to produce the seminal book "Hitchcock/Truffaut" - this film illustrates the greatest cinema lesson of all time and plunges us into the world of the creator of "Psycho," "The Birds" and "Vertigo."

"Hitchcock/Truffaut" - by award-winning filmmaker Kent Jones - gives a very contemporary reinterpretation of Hitchcock's cinema. By highlighting the main topics with a large number of clips (legendary and lesser known) from Hitchcock's films, 10 contemporary cinema greats reiterate the esthetic, technical, and narrative questions at the heart of these conversations with Truffaut. And thanks to the original sound recordings of these discussions, it is as if the book suddenly comes to life: Hitchcock and Truffaut, with their intonations, hesitations, and laughter, resurrecting this fabled one-week encounter and 20-year friendship. 

"With this film, my intention is for the viewer to have the visceral revelation of what cinema is in all its most powerful beauty," director Kent Jones said.

"Hitchcock/Truffaut" will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre Jan. 4-7. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 4 and 5; and 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 6 and 7.  Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members.

'But Not For Me'

The Sedona International Film Festival is partnering with Chamber Music Sedona to present the Northern Arizona premiere of "But Not For Me" - a hip hop musical love story - showing Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 4 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre. The event will feature a special introduction and Q&A with violinist Elena Urioste, who is featured in the film.

The spirited and engaging violinist Elena Urioste was recently honored as a BBC Next Generation Artist. Her busy schedule simply does not rest. "My schedule of solo performances, chamber music collaborations and other projects keeps me going. I'm excited to return to northern Arizona," said the internationally recognized artist who's in town for the Sedona Winter Music Festival along with cellist/film maker Nicholas Canellakis, clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein and pianist Michael Brown. Urioste has been hailed in The New York Times for her "stunning performances."

"But Not For Me" is a philosophical hip hop musical love story that tells the story of two Millennials, disillusioned with the state of society and their leveraged role in it, who come together to make music in an effort to give meaning to their existences. Elena plays Hope, a brash, disillusioned Juilliard dropout who is nonetheless intent on saving the world through the power of music. It tackles the disaffection that young people face at a time when they are being increasingly alienated from the American dream, as well as the psychological toll that this takes on their optimism regarding their personal and professional prospects.

Writer and Director Ryan Carmichael, in a recent Indiewire article, said, "The aim of this film is to fuse different artistic and intellectual elements to create a unique and dynamic dramatic experience. Starting with hip hop, I wanted to tap into the 'conscious' and improvisatory elements of the music in order to shine a light on some of the socioeconomic issues in America today. Existentialist philosophy comes into play as a mechanism to underscore the experience of Millennials who feel lost in a world where nothing is as they planned it. A 'Postmodernist' narrative structure is employed to frame the revolutionary spirit of the characters hoping to shape the world."

Urioste is a Julliard School of Music alumna and world-renowned violinist who has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic orchestras. She was recently named a BBC New Generation Artist. The film marks her acting debut in the lead role where she also performs violin as part of the film. Ms. Urioste will speak from 4 to 4:30 p.m. The film will be show immediately after the discussion at 4:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members.

Both the theater and film festival office are at 2030 W. Highway 89A in Sedona.

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