2014 Film Festival Special Guests and Honorees
Waiting for Mamu • These Storied Streets
Romance & Cigarettes
The extremely versatile Susan Sarandon brings her own brand of sex appeal and intelligence to every role — from her fearless portrayal in Bull Durham to her Oscar-nominated performances in Thelma and Louise, Lorenzo’s Oil, The Client, and Atlantic City to her Academy Award-winning and SAG Award-winning role in Dead Man Walking as Sister Helen, a nun consoling a death-row inmate.
Sarandon made her acting debut in the movie Joe, which she followed with a continuing role in the TV drama A World Apart. Early film credits include The Great Waldo Pepper, Lovin’ Molly, Billy Wilder’s The Front Page, the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Louis Malle’s controversial Pretty Baby.
With more than 90 film credits to her name and an acclaimed career that spans more than four decades, Sarandon has earned several Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her work on the big and small screens. Additional film credits include: The Witches of Eastwick, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, Lovely Bones Enchanted, Speed Racer, Elizabethtown, Shall We Dance?, The Banger Sisters, Mr. Woodcock, In the Valley of Elah, Alfie, Moonight Mile, Igby Goes Down, Romance and Cigarettes, Twilight, Step Mom, The Hunger, Jeff Who Lives at Home, That’s My Boy, Cloud Atlas, Robot & Frank, Arbitrage, Snitch and The Company You Keep.
Upcoming films include The Last of Robin Hood with Kevin Kline and Dakota Fanning, The Calling with Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace and Donald Sutherland and Tammy with Melissa McCarthy.
Sarandon will receive a special Lifetime Achievement Award for her award-winning work on screen as well as her humanitarian efforts and focus on cause-related filmmaking.
Legendary actress and star of stage and screen Shirley Knight will be honored with the Sedona International Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is featured in the festival’s opening night film Redwood Highway and will host a Q&A with audiences following both screenings of the film.
Ms. Knight was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960) Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). She received a Golden Globe for Supporting Actress in a Series or Mini-Series for Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995). She has also been nominated for three additional Golden Globes. Ms. Knight has also garnered three Primetime Emmy Awards and another five nominations.
Born and raised in Kansas (graduating in Lyons), Ms. Knight attended Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, Wichita State University, and has a Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from Lake Forest College. She began studying to be an opera singer at age eleven.
After studying at the Pasadena Theatre School she began her film career in 1959. She then went to New York and began her theatre career. She studied acting with Jeff Corey and Lee Strasberg and is a member of The Actor’s Studio.
Ms. Knight has received many honors from her home state of Kansas, including the Kansan of the Year award in 2000 and the Governor's Distinguished Artist Award in 2007. Both were given to her by Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
With more than 50 films to her credit, Ms. Knight has spent a life committed to the arts and cinema.
Die! Die! My Darling!
Enjoy a classic Stefanie Powers film: Die! Die! My Darling! (1965 Hammer Studios. Directed by Silvio Narizzano). From England's iconic studio who brought Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy back to life in the 60's and 70's in blood red color, comes this thrilling film about a fanatical mother's quest for revenge against her son's fiancé. Starring opposite Stefanie Powers is theatrical legend Tallulah Bankhead in a rare screen appearance, which was to be her final feature film. In true Hammer fashion, it's a fine example of murder, mayhem, and suspense in the 1960's English countryside. (Look for a young Donald Sutherland).
After the film, enjoy an evening with Stefanie Powers, who recently toured the US in the comedy Looped, portraying Tallulah herself in a play about Tallulah "looping" (re-recording) a line from this very film. There will be a discussion of the film and Stefanie's varied career, plus an audience Q&A, followed by the presentation of an award for her incredible work on film as an Actress and in Africa as the founder and president of The William Holden Wildlife Foundation.
Stefanie Powers is probably best known as Jennifer Hart alongside Robert Wagner in the long-running television series Hart to Hart. She began her career at 15 dancing for Jerome Robbins and joined Columbia Studios at the end of the Hollywood studio system. She has appeared in over 30 films with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, and was The G.I.R.L. From Uncle on television, among countless television appearances. Her extensive work on the stage includes: off-Broadway, How the Other Half Loves for The Kenley Players, international tours of The King and I, and over 500 performances in the West End and on US tour of Love Letters with Robert Wagner. Recently, she played Norma Desmond to great acclaim in Sunset Boulevard along with her own cabaret act singing the music of Lorenz Hart.
Stefanie lives part of the year in Kenya working tirelessly and with remarkable results in Africa for animal protection and preservation as founder and president of The William Holden Wildlife Foundation." Her autobiography One from The Hart was published by The Robson Press.
Running from Crazy • Cooper and Hemingway
Renaissance woman Mariel Hemingway is not only an iconic Academy Award-nominated actor (Manhattan) from a celebrated family, she is a prolific author, adventurist, eco activist, healthy lifestyle and mental health advocate, yoga video star, a food brand entrepreneur, and a much sought after keynote speaker focused on mind-body-spirit optimization and purposeful living.
Mariel’s film and television accomplishments include: Manhattan, Lipstick, Personal Best, Star 80, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; in high profile appearances on Roseanne, in TV film: See Arnold Run, as guest star in: Law & Order, and many other programs. Mariel was a series regular in Civil Wars, as well as being the narrator for the television series documentary Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with Life.
In 2003 Mariel wrote her powerful best-selling memoir, Finding My Balance, an honest and inspiring story of her life’s journey through the lens of her personal yoga and meditation practices. Her second book, Mariel Hemingway’s Healthy Living from the Inside Out, is a how-to guide to finding a greater sense of balance, joy, and meaning through self-empowering techniques and strategies.
In 2013, Mariel and life partner, eco enthusiast Bobby Williams authored, Running With Nature, wherein they share their insights about the import and impact of good nutrition, meditation, movement, silence, the beauty of simple living, connectedness to self and earth, and an awareness of simple timeless anti-aging modalities based on self-sustaining self-healing focused choices.
Our festival film — Running from Crazy — featuring Mariel and the Hemingway family (executive produced by Oprah Winfrey) will be released theatrically. The film includes focus on Mariel’s boundless advocacy for mental health awareness.
Waiting for Mamu • These Storied Streets
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Morgan Spurlock is a New York-based writer, director and producer. His first film, Super Size Me, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural Writers Guild of America best documentary screenplay award as well as garner an Academy Award nomination for best feature documentary.
Since then Spurlock has directed, produced and distributed multiple film and TV projects, including the critically acclaimed FX television series, 30 Days, and the films Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, Confessions of a Superhero, Czech Dream, Chalk, The Future of Food, What Would Jesus Buy?, the WGA Award-winning and Emmy nominated The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice!, Freakonomics, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope, and Mansome.
Morgan Spurlock has spent the majority of his career turning the camera on himself, inviting the audience to be a part of his own life experiences.
Morgan is currently working on the series Inside Man for CNN. The series gives viewers an insider’s view of diverse sectors of American life, diving deep into hard-hitting issues like medical marijuana, the elder care industry, migrant farm workers, gun ownership, union workers, bankruptcy, education, and the drought.
He has also recently released This Is Us, a 3D documentary following the musical group One Direction which opened Summer of 2013. The film was number 1 at the box office and grossed $67 million worldwide to date.
Waiting for Mamu
Pushpa Basnet started her career in Social Work at the age of 21. As part of her college assignment, she visited the women’s prison in Kathmandu. She was dismayed when she saw children living with their parents behind the bars.
In 2005, she raised roughly $850 from her close friends and sister, and started a non-profit organization — The Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) to provide a day care program for the children of inmates. In 2007, Puspha opened a residential home for kids to live outside the prison year round while still visiting their mothers on holidays.
Today, she has assisted more than 150 children of incarcerated parents. She has also helped to provide alternative residence, school enrollment, free meals and medical care to them.
In 2009 — sponsored by ChangeFusion Nepal — Pushpa started a program to coach parents to make handicrafts inside the cell. The main objective of the program is to train the female prisoners in income generating activities, through which they can sustain their livelihood and contribute towards raising their children. In 2012, Pushpa was awarded the CNN Hero of the Year Award. Recently she was an honored speaker at TEDx in Kathmandu. She is frequently invited to speaking engagements to share her story and personal mantra: “Believe in your dream”.
She, along with her organization, continues to rescue children behind bars throughout urban and rural areas of Nepal, and help them break the cycle of crime and poverty.
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch
You thought she was outspoken on Little House on the Prairie? Vanity Fair declared her “TV History’s #1 Bitch” and now — after her successful run in New York — she’s taking her title and show on the road by popular demand. Join Alison Arngrim (formerly Nellie Oleson from the hit series Little House on the Prairie) as she gives audiences a reality check on “the facts of life” like no one else has ever done before in Confessions of a Prairie Bitch. Arngrim’s recent release of her memoir's similarly titled, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated, through Harper Collins, made the New York Times Best Seller’s List.
In Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, audiences can expect the unexpected and more than a little Nellie Oleson-style wickedness on this hilarious ride through the twisted heartland of America.
Alison guest-starred on such television classics as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, and lampooned her own status as “ex-child star” on the month-long parody, Hollywood Survivor, on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. She can also be seen in numerous independent films, including For the Love of May, with RuPaul, and The Last Place on Earth, co-starring Billy Dee Williams and Phyllis Diller. A talented stand-up comedian, Alison has created quite a name for herself on the professional comedy circuit, headlining such venues as The Comedy Store and Laugh Factory, as well as comedy clubs across the U.S. and Canada.
After the passing of her Little House co-star Steve Tracy, who died of AIDS in 1986, Alison became a national AIDS Activist for organizations like APLA, providing AIDS education to doctors, nurses, prison inmates, service clubs, churches and schools. Alison stunned viewers of The Larry King Show in 2004 when she revealed her own history of childhood sexual abuse, becoming a advocate on legislature preventing child abuse by joining the advisory board of the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT).
Girl On A Bicycle
The director and screenwriter of Don Juan DeMarco (Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando) and the screenwriter of The Notebook, Jeremy Leven has written two critically-acclaimed novels, published in twenty-four languages and is currently completing the third novel of his trilogy, as well as two plays, one for New York and one for Paris on the life of François Premier.
Immediately after college, before entering medicine and the neurosciences, he was a television director/producer for the NBC-TV affiliate in Boston.
In his career as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished writers, he has worked on numerous projects with directors such as Robert Redford, Francis Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski, Jim Sheriden, Martin Campbell, Rob Reiner, Alfonso Cuaron and with actors such as Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Antonio Banderas, Robin Williams, Renée Zellweger and Jennifer Aniston among many others.
Appearing at The Letters
Edward "Ed" Asner — winner of five Golden Globe Awards — is an American film, television, stage, and voice actor and a former president of the Screen Actors Guild. He is primarily known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Lou Grant during the 1970s and early 1980s, on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same leading character in both a comedy and a drama.
In 2009, he starred as the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's award-winning animated film Up. In early 2011, Asner returned to television as butcher Hank Greziak in Working Class, the first original sitcom on cable channel CMT.
Asner has won more Emmy Awards for performing than any other male actor (seven, including five for the role of Lou Grant). In 2003, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
Asner has also provided voice-over narration for many documentaries and films of social activism.
Terry and Oorlagh George
The Shore and Hotel Rwanda
The Sedona International Film Festival is proud to welcome the Academy Award-winning father/daughter filmmaking team of Terry and Oorlagh George.
Both accomplished filmmakers in their own rights, they make a dynamic duo as a team, as evidenced by their Oscar-winning live action short film The Shore. They will share that film with us along with a special encore of one of Terry's award-winning feature films: Hotel Rwanda.
Terry's past filmography also includes: Reservation Road and Stand Off, which was a hit at last year's Sedona Film Festival. He was nominated for two Oscars: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (1993; In the Name of the Father), and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (2004; Hotel Rwanda).
Terry and Oorlagh will be in Sedona to host a special screening of Hotel Rwanda, which was nominated for three Academy Awards. The festival is proud to feature the film in observance of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan conflict. They will also screen The Shore.
Special Sneak Preview
Film festival special guest, Kweku Mandela, returns for a second year by popular demand. Kweku is the grandson of the late Nelson Mandela and a very talented young filmmaker who will be unveiling a special new film project: "Dinners with Grandpa". Our Sedona Film Festival audiences will get a rare sneak preview of this extraordinary and intimate look at his legendary and beloved Grandfather and the conversations he shared with his grandchildren. Go behind the scenes with Kweku as he shares family stories and treasured moments with his grandfather and help celebrate the legacy Nelson has left behind.