film festival tourism


The Sedona International Film Festival

Go for the scenery and catch a few movies while you’re there.

Festival Website:

Timing: Five days at the end of February/beginning of March.

Dates for 2009: Febuary 24-March 1

Programming: You can catch some of the festival stalwarts here.

Audience: Mostly locals.

Screening Venues:

The Harkins Sedona 6 Luxury Cinema complex in the middle of town is woefully inadequate to host a festival that can attract serious film buffs from afar. The theaters are small and undistinguished, and can’t begin to accommodate the potential audience for this event. The addition of the local high school auditorium in 2008 was much needed.

Screening Schedule

Movies begin mid-morning on five screens with an additional evening screening at the high school. Last screenings begin at 10pm.


Because of the limited theater seating, tickets are tricky to come by, and the Byzantine system the festival has developed to deal with the situation will not guarantee you a seat.

Special Guest Robert Osborne and Executive Director Pat Schweiss at the 2008 Festival

Special Guest Robert Osborne and Executive Director Pat Schweiss at the 2008 Festival

Special Guests: A few.

Program Book: Not an elaborately produced weighty tome, but contains adequate information.


The landscape around Sedona can lay claim to being one of the most spectacular in the United States. Strewn with rushing streams and distinctive red rocks, it’s especially well suited for hiking, and there are many trails of varying difficulty. The town’s architecture is uniformly desert-style, with buildings all painted in varying shades of beige and terra cotta.

Getting Around

You’ll probably want a car–especially if you want to explore the area. The festival theater is located in a strip mall, so parking is not a problem.


For a special treat, try the Yavapai Restaurant at the Enchantment Resort. The setting is unbeatable and the food, though expensive, is good. 525 Boynton Canyon Rd. Sedona, AZ 86336 (928) 282-2900


Hiking and walking trails are among the best anywhere in terms of scenery.

Mood Movies: Films set in Sedona you might want to watch before you go.

  • Apache. Robert Aldrich’s 1954 Western features Burt Lancaster as an Indian rebel. Worth watching for the scenery alone.
  • Colorado Territory. Raoul Walsh’s 1949 remake of High Sierra as a Western shows off the majestic mountains surrounding Sedona–though in black-and-white.



2007 Festival Program Book

2007 Festival Program Book

Best Film I Saw: Ten Canoes. The first film with Australian Aboriginal dialogue features a distinctive world view and storytelling style. Directed by Rolf de Heer.

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