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Sedona International Film Festival Awards Top Honors

SEDONA, Ariz. (March 1, 2011): The First Grader, the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford, received both the Director’s Choice Award and the Audience Choice Award as Best Feature Film at the 17th Annual Sedona International Film Festival.

A record number of film fans, estimated between 9,000 and 10,000, attended the weeklong Festival that began and ended with snow falling on Sedona’s famous red rocks.  Rita Rudner, Rip Torn and Jonathan Winters were each honored at the event.

Other Director’s Choice Award winners were:

Queen to Play, Excellence in Screenwriting

Poetry, Best Foreign Film

Hearing Radmilla, Best Independent Spirit Award

Power in the Pristine, Best Documentary Short Film

Bait, Best Animated Film.

Leave them Laughing, Best Documentary Feature

The Butterfly Circus, Best Short Film

Bag It, Best Environmental Film

Other Audience Choice Award winners were:

Close to the Sun, Best Foreign Language Film

Waste Land, Best Documentary Feature Film

Wings of Silver: The Vi Cowden Story, Best Documentary Short

The Butterfly Circus, Best Short Film

My Dog Tulip, Best Animated Film.

            “The choices are never easy, but that’s a good thing for our patrons and for us,” said Executive Director Patrick Schweiss.  “We want to present films that are diverse, thoughtful, controversial and engaging that can stand on their own merits and stand against each other at the same time.   All I can say is that if you were to stand outside any of the theaters when the films were over, you would hear passionate discussions about everything from the cinematography to the acting to the screenwriting.  It was a tremendous week for us.”

            More than 900 film submissions were received by Festival organizers who selected 145 documentaries, features, foreign films and shorts for screening.

            For more information, visit www.sedonafilmfestival.com


  1. Craig says:

    omg omg omg my votes helped win win win for my fav movie & luv sedona film fest movies this year YEAH PATRICK!!

  2. Jenny says:

    these were fair choices and the festival offerings were quite good overall —- we only saw about three that we didn’t consider worthwhile and two had Sedona YAWN “themes”

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