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One week of features, shorts workshops at film festival

The Prescott Film Festival returns to Yavapai College, featuring feature films, short films, workshops and more from Friday, June 8 to Saturday, June 16.

Now in its ninth year, there’s plenty of new things to make this festival better than last year’s, said Prescott Film Festival Founder and Executive Director Helen Stephenson. For one, there’s the free outdoor screenings in the newly built amphitheater area, Stephenson said. Films linked to other films in the festival will be shown there, such as a showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” following a documentary called “78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene.”

Additionally, after a screening of the documentary “Ol Max Evans: The First Thousand Years,” a film starring Henry Fonda called “The Rounders” will be screened outside, Stephenson said. The documentary is a quintessential Prescott film about Max Evans, a cowboy in his 90s who wrote the book “The Rounders,” which the film of the same name is based off of.

“What’s fascinating from a cultural standpoint is ‘The Rounders’ has some things that would not fly in this generation, some real sexist things, but you have to look at it in an educational way,” Stephenson said. “This is how it was and this is how far we’ve come. So I think it will be fun for people of all ages to see ‘The Rounders’ and see where things were at that point.”

There’s also a two-day free filmmaker boot camp Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, Stephenson said. It’s pretty much unheard of to have a free two-day workshop of hands-on filmmaking,

Also new are parties on opening night and closing night when historically the festival has only had one party, Stephenson said. Attendees can also enjoy new opening weekend passes which cost $110, good for Friday through Sunday, June 10, and closing weekend passes which cost $75, good for Friday and Saturday, June 15-16.

Other tickets are $13 for general admission, $7 for students, $110 for 10-pack general admission, $75 for the gourmet dinner and film Wednesday, June 13, $45 for the wine tasting and film on Sunday, June 10, $275 for the Platinum all access pass and $160 for the all film pass. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Yavapai College box office Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ticket sales have been the best ever and are on track to break a record, Stephenson said. Money goes towards next year’s festival as well as a DCP compliant projector and screen, needed because there’s certain films the festival can’t get because studios will only deliver the film that way which is less likely to be pirated, she said. The goal is $100,000, she added.

Other films at the festival include a sneak peak of “Woman Walks Ahead,” based on a book and true story about a woman in the 1800s who leaves a comfortable life in New York to travel to paint Sitting Bull’s portrait, “Mary Goes Round,” a film with a mental health aspect, “Bram Fischer: An Act of Defiance,” based on a true story about a lawyer defending 10 political activists and “Liyana,” an animated documentary that Stephenson said has no trailer.

“The filmmakers have decided they don’t want anything out there, any clips of their films at all,” she said. “It’s really a powerful film and … in my personal opinion, it could be on the Oscar track.”

A Student Shorts Program is on Sunday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. in Building 3. There’s films from Prescott High School Students, Mingus Union High School students and high school students from the Valley, Stephenson said. This year, the Yavapai College Foundation found someone to donate money for a scholarship for the winners. First place gets $1,000, second place gets $500 and third place gets $250.

For one of the workshops, Creating Film and Media in Arizona, features Matthew Earl Jones, the Arizona State Film Commissioner, she said.

“We don’t have a film tax credit so he’s come up with a way around that and that’s what he’s going to be speaking on,” Stephenson said. “I’m hoping local businesses come and see what he has in mind because it is about local businesses in filmmaking.”

All workshops are in Building 3, Room 119. Everything else is in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center or outdoor pavilion. Yavapai College is located at 1100 E. Sheldon St.

For more information about the Prescott Film Festival or to see a full schedule, visit

By Jason Wheeler, follow him on Twitter @PrescottWheels, reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037

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